Auld Lang Syne

I can’t believe the new year is almost here. In some regards, it feels like we’ve already been speaking about and working on 2020 for months — waiting to see what the legislative and regulatory landscape will look like, building the presentations we’ll give to various audiences around North America, planning our own upcoming FPI conference…it’s easy to work in fast forward and not take the time to reflect. We will be there and drink a toast to auld lang syne soon enough. Fun fact:  If you didn’t know, auld lang syne roughly translates in English to “old time’s sake” or “days gone by.”  So, if I might hit the pause button for just a moment, I’m going to recap a few of the 2019 days gone by that stand out for me.

It’s been quite a year here at FPI. Both for us as staff and our accomplishments as an organization.

January of last year saw the introduction of our resident social media stars, Freddy and Teddy. Each week on Instagram and Facebook, the boys help us dispel myths and spread truths about foodservice packaging.  Spoiler alert:  they’ll be back in 2020.

Last April, as part of our drive to learn more about consumer perceptions on foodservice packaging, we conducted a survey and reported that data out in many, many pages of insight.  If you didn’t read all 165 pages of the report, we bet you saw the key facts in our two infographics, one on consumers in the U.S. and one on consumers in Canada!  Understanding consumers has been a key focus for FPI this year and has also led to the very popular live focus group sessions we held at our conferences in Sonoma and Louisville.  Sneak peek:  we’re working on another focus group for FPI’s upcoming spring conference.

Speaking of our conferences, 2019 saw two more record breakers! We think our conferences offer unique and thought-provoking speakers and experiences for the foodservice packaging industry. If our conference attendance is any indication, we’d say our members sure agree!

At our last FPI conference in October, we debuted a new video, offering a look at life without foodservice packaging.  As some folks out there are debating the merits of foodservice packaging, it felt right to remind everyone that the foodservice packaging we use is here for a reason and can have a place at the table.

Of course, when we’re done with our foodservice packaging, we want the next step of the journey to be recovery. Which is why FPI has continued to work very hard, through its special interest groups, to recover our packaging.  October and November saw two new community partners:  Kent County, Michigan. and Clark County, Indiana.  They have added various foodservice packaging items to their recycling programs and, we have four new grantees who, through the Foam Recycling Coalition grants, have been able to purchase equipment to help recycle foam polystyrene.

Those are just a few of the many accomplishments we’ve seen here this year. As you are probably aware, we’ve had a change on the FPI staff side as well. We saw the departure of our former president, Lynn Dyer. Or, should I say relocation?  We are fortunate enough to get to keep Lynn’s talents as she now navigates the waters of FPI membership as Pactiv’s Vice President of Sustainability. With the trust and confidence of our membership, I was fortunate enough to be chosen to follow in the footsteps of such a fine leader.  It was with gratitude and humility that I took the reins from Lynn on November 1.

Right now, the FPI team is busy putting a big, shiny bow on 2019 and, as I said at the outset, we really are already hard at work on 2020.  As we close out and head toward those holiday celebrations, I offer a big thank you to all of our members, partners and friends for a fine year — it certainly was one for the books.

FPI President Natha Dempsey2019

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