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Henrietta Post
  • RIT unveils Center for Sustainable Packaging

  • Gifts totaling $2.2 million from The Wegman Family Charitable Foundation and American Packaging Corp. to the Rochester Institute of Technology will help to create the Center for Sustainable Packaging, an education and research center dedicated to the development and use of sustainable packaging.

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  • Gifts totaling $2.2 million from The Wegman Family Charitable Foundation and American Packaging Corp. to the Rochester Institute of Technology will help to create the Center for Sustainable Packaging, an education and research center dedicated to the development and use of sustainable packaging.
    The center’s mission will be to deliver a unique brand of applied research solutions that will enable manufacturers to provide innovative products in a sustainable manner.
    “This initiative strikes directly at the heart of RIT’s educational mission,” says RIT President Bill Destler. “The Center for Sustainable Packaging will put students on the front line of applied research that enables manufacturers to provide consumers with innovative products while neutralizing society’s impact on the depletion of vital resources. Through collaborative partnerships and industry networks the center will accelerate the development of realistic solutions in sustainable packaging.”
    The center will be a testing ground for new ideas and solutions for students, researchers, faculty and corporate partners that are interested in sustainable packaging. Because of RIT’s location in the Finger Lakes region of New York state, a major hub of food production and processing that serves the densely populated northeast, experiments can happen quickly and results shared readily within the industry.  
    RIT is already the home of the nationally known American Packaging Corp. Center for Packaging Innovation in the university’s College of Applied Science and Technology, established with a gift of $1 million from Rochester-based American Packaging Corp. in 2007 and created to focus on material science issues within packaging. American Packaging has given an additional $1.2 million gift to continue support of the existing center and to help create the new RIT Center for Sustainable Packaging. The two centers will collaborate on joint development initiatives.
    “The various components of the food packaging supply chain are siloed. Each works to maximize its own results, without a common goal of sustainability,” says Peter Schottland, president and chief executive officer of American Packaging. “In order to make the most progress on sustainable packaging, the best ideas across the industry are necessary. In an environment where the industry is aligned, experiments can happen, economies of scale are overcome, knowledge is shared, and results agreed upon.”
     Research efforts will be a blend of near-term fixes and long-term efforts focused on reducing the carbon footprint required to package and deliver high-quality products to the consumer.

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