Hey, Green Junkie!
Jonathan Quinn is joining me on today’s podcast episode and I can’t wait for you to hear the conversation we had around plastic.
It’s no secret that I hate plastic and if it were up to me, we’d pretty much never use it again. However, Jonathan is here to challenge my belief on plastic and really educate us all on (dare I say) the benefits and pros of plastic in our world.
This was such a fun and enlightening convo and I can’t wait for you all to hear a different perspective on plastics.
In this episode we will discuss,
- The recycling life cycle aka the impact of recycling from start to finish
- An alternative viewpoint to the use of plastics
- The great debate: Who is ultimately responsible for the plastics that are used to package products?
- Why properly recycling plastic is a vital part of our world economy
- Why the small wins matter
You’ll discover that and so much more in this episode.
If you love this podcast be sure to leave a review and share a screenshot of this episode to your IG stories. Tag @greenjunkiepodcast so I can shout you out and publicly say thanks.
Thanks for listening and being here.
Your green bestie,
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Produced by: Alecia Harris
Music By: Liz Fohle
TRANSCRIPT FOR EPISODE 32
Stephanie Moram 0:00
Hi, Green Junkie. I'm your host Stephanie Moram and today I have the pleasure of speaking with Jonathan Quinn. Jonathan is the director of market development and sustainability at Pregis, where he leads the market segmentation strategy development, and execution along with all the facets of flexible packaging sustainability, which focuses on providing innovative products and services that protect, preserve and inspire. Jonathan is recognized as an expert in the areas of packaging, sustainability, consumer insight and the voice of the consumers association with packaging. He has conducted extensive consumer research on the E commerce and consumer packaged goods sectors. In February of 2021, Jonathan was recognized by Plastic News as a top social media influencer in plastics and packaging. In January of 2022. Jonathan received the distinction of 40 under 40 by Waste 360 for his contribution to waste, recycling and sustainability. Before we get started, remember to subscribe to my Green Junkie Podcast on whatever platform you're using. So let's get started and let's talk about sustainability and packaging. So hey, Jonathan, thank you for being here. I really appreciate it.
Jonathan Quinn 1:28
Hey, Stephanie, thank you so much for having me. I'm could not tell you how excited I am. To talk packaging sustainability with you. Cause I know, it's your favorite topic.
Stephanie Moram 1:40
I think the first question I kind of have for you is like just to tell the listeners a little bit about you like who you are, and how you got started into the field of like, sustainable, like sustainable packaging.
Jonathan Quinn 1:53
Yeah. So I grew up around the flexible packaging industry, I have a picture of being in a box of resin. So when we talk about what resin is – the small little plastic pellets that you melt, and extrude and turn to film or you turn it into a cap or a bottle. So I have pictures of being in a box of resin when I was two and I was in the lab doing doing testing on on flexible films when I was five, because it is what I thought was the cool thing to do. And I grew up around the industry, my dad was a was an executive within the flexible packaging industry. And that's really what opened my eyes to all that that packaging could provide. And I went to school and I went to Clemson and studied packaging and business. Growing up, my goal was always to hopefully beat my dad and and one of the things that I will say is, for years, the packaging industry probably had a lot of opportunity to do more in the area of sustainability. And when I look at how I've wanted to compete and be my dad, one of the key areas that I've that I have an opportunity is to help to advance the sustainable packaging conversation. So that's really how I become so focused on it, and so, really ingrained into my DNA, literally and probably figuratively as well.
Stephanie Moram 3:20
And so, at home as a family, you know, outside of the packaging, do you as a family try to live more green, like what is it that you guys do outside of packaging? So I know that's like, that's your focus, right packaging, sustainable packaging? How can we make that better? So is there anything you guys do as a family? Like, do you try to like live more green as a family at home?
Jonathan Quinn 3:40
Yeah, well, I think the critical point part for me, and so, I mean, so I'm married, I have a daughter who's four and a son who's two. And it's incredibly important that I made sure that they understand the positive value that plastic and flexible plastic packaging brings to their everyday lives. And my kids are really my daughter a few years ago was really excited about on YouTube and it's also on on the whatever you want to call it, E-TV or however you call it. But cocomelon and cocomelon has the song plastic belong to the plastic bin. And like that was at one point where a light went off in my head. And it was an opportunity to really like educate my at the time three year old daughter about why it was so important about plastic going into the plastic bin and making sure that we're sorting our materials correctly and making sure that both of my kids understand the importance around recycling and why we need to be advocates why they need to teach their friends about why recycling is important, but also why one material isn't worse than the other and really understand the value and the science associated with every material. Like I said earlier, I went to school for packaging, there's a science and there's factual based reasoning, why materials are selected and what they do and perform, and what those materials enable, and really making sure that I hope that my kids are excited about the flexible packaging industry and want to be a part of it. But to your focus of your question is, how are we and what are we doing to live, green, and make and I think the the biggest thing that I will say is making sure that we are recycling, recycling advocates, and really showcasing to our neighbors and our family and our friends, why it's so important. And why recycling is so critical to enabling a circular economy, and really pushing that forward. And really finding ways to shed light on some of those things. And some of the conversations that exists today that may be to a certain extent, I don't want to call necessarily, say greenwashing, but making sure that the perspective of the total lifecycle of a product and its impact on the environment from start to finish, is really looked at and paid attention to.
Stephanie Moram 6:24
Right and back to like the very beginning. Like I love that, like I'm not the only person that's a fanatic when it comes to recycling. And it's just, I think it's so critical. And so many people just don't know, like even composting, recycling, people don't know how to do it properly. And I don't think people realize the impact, that they're that they not knowing how to recycle properly impacts like, everything, like if you put something in the recycling, that's not supposed to be there, like a plastic bag, because your recycling facility doesn't take plastic bags, like you're really impacting everything, you're slowing stuff down, it gets jammed in machines, it just it causes a whole lot of havoc. So, you know, teaching people how to recycle properly, is so important because it just it affects everything right. So I'm so glad that I'm not the only fanatic.
Jonathan Quinn 7:17
You're totally right. And I think the big thing is because you're in Canada, and so prior to coming to Pregis, I worked for Canadian Canadian company, so really got exposed to so much of the recycling stream, which exists in Canada as compared to the US and how far in advance Canada is. But yeah, how far both of us have to go into really being where we need to be. And it all really circles back to collection. If you look at how much of whether it's flexible or rigid or any material, how little really gets recycled, it's mind blowing that percentage, and if you look at by weight 10% of landfills is actually plastic. Now that's just that isn't include flat that includes flexible and rigid plastic. So only 10%. But yet, plastic gets labeled as as the enemy. And we need to find ways to increase the amount of flexible plastic material that's being collected to really support and drive towards the circular economy conversation. And that's why recycling is so critical.
Stephanie Moram 8:41
And so before we continue, I just wanted to maybe for you to take a minute and maybe explain like flexible packaging, like you've mentioned it multiple times, maybe just for the audience.
Jonathan Quinn 8:52
I really appreciate that question. Because I know that everybody isn't a packaging nerd like me so when it comes to flexible packaging, that really comes down to whether it's a pouch or a bag or anything that really comes in direct contact with the product in a lot of cases, but it could be some indirect instances. So like if you buy something from Amazon and there's air pillows on the inside a bubble or cushioning material that would be classified as flexible plastic packaging or flexible packaging, but the traditional stand up pouch or or potato chip bag or anything that's flexible. When it comes to rigid, that's going to be like a water bottle or some other some other liquid product or something like that or like a yogurt cup or something along those lines. Hopefully that makes a little bit of sense.
Stephanie Moram 10:01
No, that makes sense. And I just wanted to come back to what you said like, before that, you know, plastic is labeled as an enemy. And I'm getting, you know, fully transparent like, I hate plastic. Yeah, I really do. But I think you also, you know, they're all alternatives out there, right? There is alternatives to plastic. And when there is an alternative, I love that alternative. But sometimes there isn't an alternative. And I think that's where, yes, we can reduce the amount of maybe products that are produced with plastic, but then you know, a car seat needs some plastic on it. You know what I mean? Like, I would love to live plastic free, but currently, it has steel and plastic on it. And I don't know if they'll ever be able to get away from plastic, maybe – maybe bio plastics. I don't know. That's another conversation. But I just think there's like, there's always the extremes, no matter what we're talking about, like the extreme of like, everything, we need to read our world of plastic, which sounds really great and reality. But is it even possible right now? And then there's the extreme of like, let's use plastic for everything. You know, there has to be a middle. I feel like and I don't know how you feel on it. I'd love your opinion on it.
Jonathan Quinn 11:05
Yeah, so I totally hear where you're coming from. And one of the key points that I like to drive home is I went to school for packaging. And when I say packaging, that's not just plastic, that's glass. That's metal. That's paper. And I've had exposure to it all. And like I was saying earlier, there's science. And there's factual base reasoning, why materials have been selected. Today, are there applications where there's excessive use of plastic? 100%, not even going to ignore that fact. But what I want to highlight and what I think is critical for everybody to understand is how much value plastic provides to our every day lives, and of the everyday consumer. And I think that that is what we need to make sure that we all understand. And I'm not blinded by, by over loyalty to plastic, because like I said, there is applications 100%, where there's opportunity to reduce the reliance on plastic. But where plastic is being used in a lot of cases today. Plastic is the best option, particularly when you look at food packaging. So if you were to take, and you were to eliminate 10 million pounds of plastic packaging today, it would take 40 million pounds of an alternative material. That's four times the amount. So what does that mean, though? That's four times the number of trucks, that's four times the amount of water you have to produce. That's four times the amount of emissions, and that's probably a greater number. But just a simple and real statistic there. I mean, it's true. And I think the the big thing is that what we can all agree is that plastic nor any no other material belongs in the environment. And it's about that collection, and making sure that we keep these materials and enable that circular economy conversation. Right.
Stephanie Moram 13:26
I appreciate your perspective. And you know, I want to have like real conversations with people. It doesn't always have to be my perspective. But I think it's also you know, we create a product, whether it's packaging, and then it's like, okay, great. Such and such company made a pouch, they put a protein powder in it, whatever powder and then it's like I did my job, I created it and then, but there's no way to recycle it. It's not compostable, so it can't be composted. So I just feel like, I guess my biggest problem sometimes with plastic is that it's created, but then there's no way to dispose of it after. And not only is there no way to sometimes dispose of it, there's no resources to dispose of it, if that makes sense. Like, you know, my local recycling facility takes back plastic bags, they all have to go into plastic bag and then throw all the bag of plastic bags into the recycling but that's not every location, right? That's right, because it takes a special machine to recycle plastic bags. So it just it's like it's annoying that – Okay, great plastic bags are what we're going to use but then it's like the company kind of washes their hands and says okay, figure out how we're going to dispose of that so I think that's also the missing piece know that the disposal of the product if we're going to use plastic and we know that you can find plastic in the oceans and and all that kind of stuff and animals are eating and and blah blah blah. Like then how do we dispose of it properly? And I just wonder if that's like, isn't that like the missing piece as well like the elephant in the room kind of thing? Like why is this the consumer have to be the one responsible for the packaging that's created and shouldn't it be the company?
Jonathan Quinn 15:02
Well, so I'll spin this a little bit about, like the idea that the packaging, or the brand is responsible for, for the packaging. So you're a mom, and you have, I think you have two kids, right?
Stephanie Moram 15:19
Jonathan Quinn 15:20
So as a mom, if your kids leave their jeans on the floor is that the responsibility of Levi or whatever brand of jeans to be picking up those same pair of pants inside your house? No, like it is the job of the consumer and as a, as a contributing member of society, we have to clean up our our messes. And if we have to properly take care of those, and it's the same thing with packaging, I'm not going to ignore the fact that we have to enable. Similarly, you could say, Well, if your kids had a laundry bin, but they missed the bin or they ignore the fact that it belongs there. That's where we have to enable those bins and taking a step back also to the conversation around composting in the US, less than 4% of consumers have access to industrial composting. That's a big deal. And the other challenge when you bring in the compostable part of the conversation, is similarly to when you talk about like plastic bags screwing up the recycling stream, like compostable materials, do that as well. And then on top of all of this does compostability give the consumer the license to litter? I think that's one of the other big things that if we're not, if we don't give the consumer a one track, like this is what you do every time, you create questioning or uncertainty. That's not helping us on either side of the spectrum. And that's really why, again, why it's so critical why it makes such a point with my kids about, it's about recycling. It's about enabling a circular economy through that avenue versus anything else. In my perspective, is there other opportunities? Yes. But ultimately, we need to improve and increase collection to drive towards a circular economy. And that is really what it what it needs to be about.
Stephanie Moram 17:45
Yeah, and I agree, I just, I also think like, Yes, I agree, the jeans. My kids need to pick up the jeans – it's not Levi's or whatever, company, responsiblity. I totally get that point. I guess my thing is, like, sometimes, you know, I'll see a package and it'll say, don't forget to recycle. And I'm like, There's no triangle on it. There's no way to recycle it. And it's just like, they're passing the buck on to the consumer to figure it out. And I think that's kind of where I get frustrated, where it's like, okay, this packaging was created, you decided to use it take a little bit of responsibility for what's going to happen to this package after it's in the hands of the consumer.
Jonathan Quinn 18:21
Stephanie Moram 18:22
So I feel like there needs to be more education for the company, more education for the consumer. How did these things get disposed of? Is it the government that supplies it? Is it your local city that supplies it, whatever it is, like you were talking about composting, like composting is big here. Like industrial composting is huge. It's big in Quebec, it's big in Ontario. And yeah, so I just think it's like a mix, right? It's kind of like the mix of like, we all need to take some responsibility, but often, like, I got this packaging, and it's like, biodegradable, like, I'm like, dude, like we cannot write biodegradable on the packaging. Everything's technically biodegradable, but I just think the company wasn't educated. And the packaging was definitely not compostable. I did not put it in the compost, but it's just the labeling. It's like, can there can't there just be a universal way? Like, Why does every company have to do everything different? Why does every city have to recycle differently? Like, you know, it's, I guess it's just all around frustrating at times when it comes to packaging and that we all need to take some sort of responsibility, whether it's the company, the recycling facilities, the consumer, you know what I mean? Like, that's kind of how I view it similar to you like with the jeans, I totally get.
Jonathan Quinn 19:39
Yeah. No, no. So they're there. So the labeling is a very critical and it's a critical conversation today. From a from a legislation perspective, there is labeling and there has been and I don't know if you've heard of that how to recycle logo which really directs the consumer on how to properly dispose of their packaging. I think that is one of the most critical things right now is educating the consumer. And frankly, that's one of the key reasons of why I'm so excited to be on the podcast with you today to help consumers understand what is recyclable, what's not recyclable, and really push the conversation forward. That's been one of my missions, just a personal personal mission is to get the packaging conversation on stages that it hasn't been before, instead of the packaging industry, talking to the packaging industry, finding ways and creating opportunities to talk to the consumer. Because at the end of the day, the consumer is the most critical part of this entire conversation. Because we can come up with the greatest material, we can come up with the greatest way to dispose or recycle. But unless the consumer is bought in and understands and they're along for the ride, we're going to we're going to get nowhere. And really that's why we've got to advance that circular economy conversation, and drive home to the consumer, and enable the convenience associated with with regard to recyclability and sustainability. So those are some of the key things, but you're totally correct. And that uniform adoption of the how to recycle logo, we're going to go through an evolution of it. And like California, for example, bans the chasing arrows. What does that do? That only further distancee consumers from understanding what's recyclable and what's not. And so I'm on the chairman of the association, called the emerging leadership council, which is a part of FPA, I'm on the chairman's Advisory Council of FPA. FPA means the Flexible Packaging Association, and we're playing a critical role in making sure that that labeling is improving that the consumer is going to know and understand what's recyclable and what's not, and how to dispose of it, if it is or is not. And making that an easy process, because and that's one of the key things as far as some of the really in depth consumer research that I've done, looking at consumers across the US and Canada and understanding how they react or how they feel about plastic and plastic packaging, but also more broadly. And when you look at all other materials, so if you look at whether it's glass, metal or paper, what are the consumer, what do they believe about those materials? Or what did they value out of those materials as they value them for their recyclability. But when it comes to plastic, whether it's rigid or flexible, they value that material for its convenience, right. But that's because glass, metal and paper, those materials have been around forever. Plastic is the newer guy on the block. So we've got to enable them to properly recycle that. And I think I've said it a million times already, while we've had this conversation, but plastic is the key to enabling a circular economy.
Stephanie Moram 23:22
And I also want to come back to the California thing. Yeah, I did not know that. So they're not allowed to have like the little triangle on their packaging anymore, right? How do people know what to do with the plastic?
Jonathan Quinn 23:36
They said that the chasing arrows basically created confusion, because people would see the chasing arrow and assume it was recyclable, even if it wasn't, and they would recycle it or they wouldn't know how to recycle it. And so that's where we're seeing kind of the growth and the evolution associated with as it pertains to kind of that how to recycle logo and how does that evolve?
Stephanie Moram 24:05
I think it's kind of stupid.
Jonathan Quinn 24:07
Stephanie Moram 24:10
I'm not going to necessarily disagree with you. I just feel like there's so much confusion about recycling like number six plastic can't take like our recycling doesn't take number six. If I do have number six plastic, I need to save it all and bring it directly which isn't far and that's what I do because I live that dark green almost black. So yeah, get and bring it but not everyone does that. So people put number six in the recycling. But if there's no like and I get plastic, like if my kid gets a toy, and I'm just like, oh, stupid plastic. There's no symbol on it. I'm like, great, can't be recycled. It's going to TerraCycle like yeah, so now I'm just thinking all in California. If there's no little like, triangle, how do they know what type of plastic it is? So when the recycling facility receives it, how do they know what to do with it?
Jonathan Quinn 25:02
Yeah, so the recycling centers, they don't necessarily look at the recycling codes, they have other sortation methods associated with the type of polymer and, and so that's really what drives their sortation. But regardless, I I agree with you. And that's, this is one of those things that like I am incredibly passionate about is enabling the ease and convenience of recycling and creating ways that engage the consumer, educate the consumer, right and create those opportunities to recycle.
Stephanie Moram 25:40
Jonathan Quinn 25:41
There's definitely can be a better way to recycle. You know, it's like you said, having, you know, universal having compostable composting or universal like, we have a long way to go. But like the only state that's doing it, and there's no, that's the thing is the worry and concern that other states are gonna go to take it as an opportunity, or other elected officials are gonna see this as a way to just oh, we can get something done, we can check a box, but they don't pay attention to the long term and lasting impacts that that's going to have. And just because you you eliminate a symbol, or you eliminate a way to educate the consumer, and that means Oh, you're gonna get rid of the material. But that's not the answer. The sustainability conversation is not there's no one material, that's the silver bullet. I'll stand and say that this is not a plastic is not going to solve everything. We're not going to solve everything we are it's an and and situation. And we really need to focus on the overarching sustainability focuses in those various material categories, with the overarching is to make sure that we are having the least overall environmental impact on the environment.
Stephanie Moram 25:41
Right, and we're all going to create waste. It's just how can we create less waste? Is there a way for it to be most sustainable?
Jonathan Quinn 25:50
The most sustainable way to live is to be dead? Basically.
Stephanie Moram 25:57
Yeah, and it shouldn't be that way. You know, we were talking about composting, and I had a conversation when my sister in law was here, and she was asking me questions, because we have our composting and all that. And, and, you know, she works for, you know, her small, her small city in Nova Scotia. And, you know, she's really trying to bring some sustainability to the table, you know, as much as she can. And we were talking about composting. And she's like, all the restaurants are bringing in all this compostable packaging. But our composting like recycling facility doesn't take that because they don't have industrial composting. So I'm like, again, toward the conversation. I'm like, it almost like defeats the purpose.
Jonathan Quinn 28:06
Yes, it's frustrating. Like, years ago, Baltimore did that. And my sister in law, similarly was all excited. But I had to kind of give me the wake up call that really, you do need to know that there's no industrial composting facility in the state of Maryland. So I don't know what you're doing. I don't know who, who was, who was the brains behind it. But that wasn't necessarily sending us in the right direction. And I think a lot of it was tied to the waste that was finding its way into the Inner Harbor, which is a horrible thing. And, we need to eliminate that. But why is it that all of these call it flexible, not necessarily flexible, plastic driven materials were were being found inside of the the Inner Harbor and Maryland was because everything floats versus glass or metal or paper, which is going to sink. And so we have to have, like a whole understanding of people aren't just littering, plastic. People are littering all materials. And for sure, because plastic is the material that floats it's the most visible. I'm not trying to make an excuse. I'm just trying to have a reality check to it's not just plastic, like people don't say, Oh, I'll throw the plastic in the ocean because I can't or because I should like that. It's it's not. That's not the the total issue there.
Stephanie Moram 29:44
Right. And it just, it's like, it's great and dandy, like oh, like in Maryland and a small town in Nova Scotia. We're going to come out with like compostable packaging, this is going to be amazing. Like you said, it's like there's no industrial pack like composting. So we're just like switching one problem to another, you know, like, yeah, I have it here. So the restaurants that have compostable packaging or anything like that here where I live, it's totally fine. Our city picks it up. And it's industrial, composted, and that's great. But it's like, we were having this conversation, my sister in law, and she's like, I don't understand why they're doing this. And I was like, because it's I don't know why they're, but like, if you don't have industrial composting, it like defeats the total purpose, you know. So I just think this is such like a big conversation when it comes to packaging, and we can't avoid, right, like we can. There's ways to minimize it right? And right, reduce.
Jonathan Quinn 30:38
And then that's one of the most important things is like the, the technology that we have, at PRI just specifically to enable the reduction of overall materials and improve and increase the amount of whether it's post industrial or post consumer recycled content, the things that we're doing from an advanced recycling conversation. And when I say advanced is being able to rather than mechanically recycle materials, but take the material and break it back down to its original call it monomer state, which I'm going totally plastic, deep right now. So we want him to go down that that hole. But I think the critical point of where I was going, and I, I'll ask you this question. So or give you this sort of analogy, which is similar probably to something that I might have the conversation that I used for the blue jeans, but why, again, why it's so critical for us to enable that recycling stream is that we have to eliminate those high value, flexible materials that we've developed, that our higher value plastic, and we have to enable them back into to be reentering into the to the circular economy reentering the system. And the point I was trying to make is you cannot take a minivan and turn it into a Ferrari. And that's the connection between making sure that we're taking those high value flexible materials, and also rigid materials, and they're entering in the recycle stream. So that we can take that back and recreate and give a second life that material and and give that a second life to material to an application where it's adding additional value by reducing food waste or, or a number of different things.
Stephanie Moram 32:40
Yeah, and I wanted to touch on something. So we're talking about like recycling, right. And there's just some stuff that can't go in your recycling, like any sort of, you know, packaging that has like, like a seal on it. Like it can't go on the recycle at least not our recycling. And so I use TerraCycle you know, and there are companies that use TerraCycle. And I would love that if it was again, universal, somehow, like there's companies out that are like, okay, when you're done with our products, take a box, fill it up with our products. And then oh, yeah, ship it to us. Right. And I love that concept. Most of that.
Jonathan Quinn 33:20
So you brought up TerraCycle. And we were talking about my kids and one of the teaching moments was they get mini muffins, they love the packaged mini muffins. And that film is TerraCycle approved. So we send the Mini Muffin package in and it gets recycled. But that's like the why it's important for us to save that, that that film and why it's important to recycle it and, and where those opportunities to leverage and utilize TerraCycle is is incredibly important. And it's those small, a consumer could look at that as being a small act, but it's a big act and it's those small wins that we're able to build as a call it a circular, a circular clan or a circular group, whatever whatever you want to use for it, but those small steps are critical for us to move the conversation forward.
Stephanie Moram 34:20
Yeah, and I just you know TerraCycle in Canada in the US is very different we have access to way less stuff for free to mail back. And I guess just for me sometimes I get frustrated because it's great that certain companies are taking initiative to have people send back their you know, packaging for free but most of it is like products I don't buy so I get so frustrated. I'm like where are the organic companies? Where's like the kettle organic? Yeah, where's like the organic blah, blah, blah company, all the companies I buy packaging from where are they can they please raise their hand and join TerraCycle because what I have to do is I'm in a position where I can buy the TerraCycle boxes. And then my waste, I just fill up my TerraCycle box picks a year, whatever how long it takes, and I send it back. But I'm in a position to do that the average person is probably not. So they have to use the free TerraCycle. But I guess it's just frustrating on my end where the companies I would love to raise their hand don't
Jonathan Quinn 35:18
So I think that those are the typical, those are the two is that like, the consumer is just like you like the consumer of natural organic is traditionally they are natural, organic, but they're also really, really a recycling and environmentally positive consumer, like those buyers are very much aligned. And that's one of the things that just is like, so crazy when you think about it. And why. One of the biggest challenges though, is the those brands, if it's not made by a major CPG, the cost associated with making that sustainable packaging or transitioning away from or being able to have the money to put forward to allow them to have that logo or whatever it may be. Some cases they don't, they don't have that that feasibility or the brand isn't big enough. So they're required, they have to use a co Packer in order to for their film to run. At that CO Packer. It has to be a specific film structure, which is optimized to run on that equipment without creating any issues, which creates challenges for them to be able to run that. So there's a lot of like, behind the scenes things that the consumer doesn't see. But there's a reason why that film has been designed the way it has been in the past, there's a reason why those materials have been selected for whether it's to seal better, or whether it's to provide longer shelf life or whether it's to provide tear property. So like easy opening across the top of that seal. Like there's so many of these little tangible things that add up, that can create barriers for those those brands. But it's also like, again, why I'm so excited to be on this podcast today with you is like giving those small brands letting them know they have a source, they have somebody that can come to that can help them navigate the sustainable packaging challenges. That's what we're here for. And and because they just don't know, they they don't know how to make it happen. And sometimes they feel like, well, we're a small brand, we don't have the horsepower, we can't get the support. But there's sources out there, there's resources out there, I'm happy to help people if we're going to be driving towards a sustainable solution.
Stephanie Moram 37:55
Yeah, and just to, like, close off, like, when it comes to, let's say, TerraCycle you know, it's just, it must be just so hard, because they're like, you know, privately owned company, like they're, you know, not a government run, like, you know, when you have like your facilities going, you know, it's like, it's not all over the world, right? And it's like, how can we marry all these ideas together? You know, so it's, it's such a big thing to take on. Right? Right. There's stuff that can't be recycled goes to TerraCycle? How can we get everyday people to use TerraCycle? You know, what I mean? Is it recycling facilities that offer that, okay, now, there's a fourth band people? Like, is that the answer? Or is that like, again, too confusing, you know, we have your compost bin, your, your garbage bin, which should be almost empty, your regular recycling, and then a TerraCycle bin and then the recycling facility receives that TerraCycle bin and they ship it to TerraCycle. Like, you know, how much does that cost? You know, do our taxes go up? Because of this? You know, there's just so many layers, but I think TerraCycle is a big player in this in the sense that they're taking stuff that recycling facilities can't use or can't recycle.
Jonathan Quinn 39:09
Yeah, the like I said earlier, there's there's no one size fits all. All this. There's no one size fits all material for this conversation. But we've got to create those opportunities for for education and and, and the US is traditionally much different. We don't have as many bins as as Canada has. We've got at least in my municipality, I got one bin and it's paper, plastic, and that's rigid plastic and metal. They don't allow for glass recycling anymore. So yeah, I think we're going to go through an evolution and there's going to be a next frontier when it comes to recycling, with the focus being on enabling convenience and, and the recycling getting better, and extended producer responsibilities playing a role in that conversation in the funding of the recycling, overall infrastructure and system. So yeah, we're, I would say to all of your listeners, be loyalists, when it comes to recycling, be leaders. And I think we're going to and I truly believe that recycling will become more convenient and more knowledgeable, and more easy to understand. As we move forward, I can tell you that it's, it's my life's focus right now. And it's going to be forever.
Stephanie Moram 40:53
And I just wanted to add, I'm like, it's, it's so sad for me to hear like that they don't take glass, you know, like, it just, it makes me sad, because it's such a robust piece. And it's like, I reuse all my glass and it can be recycled. And it just, it's kind of sad that like, it's just gonna go in the trash. You know what I mean?
Jonathan Quinn 41:18
Yeah, the one of the key things that glass is enabling within the within the landfills is that it helps because of its weight. And because it breaks, it actually helps keep the co2 emissions from landfills from escaping. But the other big thing is that glass is, is a heavy material, and it's very energy intensive to recycle it. And that's, I mean, you are still green, you're almost black, like you said, and that's a fantastic thing. But we have to like really look at the general consumer and I'm not trying to generalize the consumer, but the traditional everyday consumer that isn't so green, that they're black, like you and, that's, that's why we have to really have the whole perspective of what is a circular and total circular economy.
Stephanie Moram 42:27
Well, this has been an awesome conversation, who's really really good, I loved talking to you and having this discussion with you. So I would love for you to let the listeners know where they can find you to learn more and follow along on your sustainable packaging, and they can just learn more about their journey as well as sustainable packaging.
Jonathan Quinn 42:47
Yeah, yeah, so I'm on all social media platforms under the handle, Jake, when packaged everybody can find me at pregis.com Hopefully, people can also start and we'll get excited about my my hashtag that I started a few years ago called it's hashtag by plastic live fantastic. Hopefully, I've gotten you to see maybe a little bit of the benefit and the value that the plastic can provide that we're not evil that we all agree that plastic door and no other material should be in the environment. And I think those are some of the critical things but with love and welcome any conversation with with any of your your listeners to talk about sustainable packaging and and how pre just can can help.
Stephanie Moram 43:44
And I just wanted to add before we close out is that there's a couple of guys that I met about a year ago all they all know each other. And you know you guys really did open my eyes to be honest with plastics, you know, I don't like plastic and I say that a lot. But it was just really great having you know, conversation with you and just meeting you know, the group of guys that you know where it's all about packaging. It just opened my eyes to like, it's not all evil. Yeah, be part of plastic can be part of the packaging. You know what I mean? Yes, we can emit some of it. But yes of it. Some of it does have to stay. So I do thank you for that. I thank you for opening my eyes to that. Because if I had my blinders on, I'm pretty sure a lot of other people have had their blinders on. So having this conversation is just so important. It's just you can still hate plastic if you want to, but at least you're a little bit more educated to why the plastic is being used and packaging.
Jonathan Quinn 44:42
Yeah, but hopefully people don't hate me because I love them.
Stephanie Moram 44:46
No one's gonna hate you. No one's gonna hate you. Well, thank you so much for being on. I really, really appreciate it. It was such a great conversation. So to stay connected with me on Instagram, you can follow me at Green Junkie Podcast and don't forget to subscribe to the Green Junkie Podcast on the platform you're listening on. If you're curious about zero waste living, sustainable fashion, or wondering how to read food cleaning of product labels, I've got you covered. For direct access to me your green living expert, click the link in the show notes. And also you can find all of Jonathan's information in the show notes. You'll be able to ask me questions, you can get a customized plan on how you can live a green or life. Hop on a one on one call with me or ask me your questions via email. If Zoom is not your thing, I can be in your personal green Google and you can pick my brain. Thank you for listening, and I'll see you next Tuesday Green Junkie.