• Gary Robinson

Synaptic Connections Newsletter 2019 Week#39


September 23, 2019 www.Synapticpackaging.com Image - Tree Frog, Hawaii

Week#39 of 2019

Hi, Good morning!  I hope this note finds you well.  The calendar tells us it is officially fall, however it sure still feels like summer weather.  Fall is such a beautiful time of year with long shadows, crisp air, and the brilliance of the color change!  I hope you have plans to get outside and enjoy the season.

Next week is the Smithers Pira Specialties Papers Conference and I will be speaking at this event.  So, today I thought I’d share a brief introduction of the talk to all of the readers of Synaptic Connections.

Let’s start with a challenger question… can you visualize a Renewable and Bio-Based Economy?  Marketing hype aside, the pragmatic realization of this vision is a bold idea.  Since the days of the Industrial Revolution, and the advent of the internal combustion engine our world has increasingly grown dependent on non-renewable fossil fuels and their chemistry derivatives.  As our natural sciences advance, we are increasingly learning of the accumulating implication of this dependency and the need for innovation.

Today, I’ll make the argument that the packaging industry is well positioned to be a leader in this transition to a Renewable and Bio-Based Economy.  Those who work in the industry know the technical depths and challenges of high-speed, high volume, and consumer facing products.  From paper scientists, to polymer scientist, from purchasing and supply chain, to marketing and sales - consumer packaged goods embodies a highly talented and diverse team of experts.

Let’s take a look at two of our industry material anchors - paper and plastics.  On the paper side there is deep history and knowledge in commercial harvesting, and the converting of natural and renewable materials.  On the polymer side, there is abundant processing and converting innovation along with a core strength in chemistry.  Of course, the forward answers for us to make large scale conversion to a renewable and bio-based economy live in the adjacencies, appropriately positioned and lurking in the spaces in-between these two traditional silos.

The vision for a bio-based economy will require us to take a fresh look at the resources available to us.  It will require new materials, faster growing raw materials, and advances in converting automation.  Traditional fields of study such as farming and crop cultivation are now fields of competitive, cutting edge technology as new raw material sources are explored.  Technical sciences such as green chemistry are at the corner stone of the transition.  As we’ve been featuring here for several months, the field of innovation to ReThink Waste will also be needed to make this transition.  In this context it will be innovation to ReThink organic waste.

In closing, a Renewable, Bio-Based economy is a big vision, however it is one that will continue to grow, evolve, and accelerate.  For research students in school today who read Synaptic Connections - this is a great area to focus your future careers.

Have a great week and I hope to see some of you at the Smithers Pira Specialty Papers Conference next week.


Packaging Sustainability//


ReThink Waste//


Sustainable Investing//




The purpose of this newsletter is to stimulate innovative thoughts and constructive dialogue through the lens of sustainability.  New subscribers can send an e-mail to the link below to sign-up. 


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gary.robinson@synapticpackaging.com