Brad Rodgers

Location

United States

Role

Packager

Industry

Food

Job Title

R&D Manager of Sustainable Packaging & Advanced Materials Research

Company

Frito-Lay

Profile

R&D Manager of Sustainable Packaging & Advanced Materials Research

Brad is a 20 year veteran of the plastics and packaging industry after earning his degree in Polymer Chemistry from the University of Missouri-Rolla. He spent much of his career working for major polyolefin manufacturers in Texas and Delaware where he developed polymers for use in numerous packaging applications. He currently is the R&D Manager of Sustainable Packaging and Advanced Materials Research for Frito Lay where his responsibilities include the development of next generation packaging materials that will have a better overall impact on the environment. Brad currently has seven patents for various packaging applications and at least six more pending. He has authored or co-authored several papers and published articles in the area of barrier food packaging and is currently working on the development of advanced barriers using nanotechnology.


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Comments

  • Sun Chips Use of PLA

    Let me address a few of the comments by "Anonymous." Use of 33% PLA in the Sun Chips packaging structure is part of a much bigger picture to introduce such packaging to the marketplace in a large scale fashion. Please visit Sunchips.com for a much more detailed overview of Frito Lay's plan - we are not trying to hide anything. As most of us know that are in the packaging industry, our choices for material use are limited based on availability. There can be the greatest material ever invented, but if it's only produced in the laboratory then we can only make a few packages out of it - not very sustainable. The biopolymers field is in its infancy stage and we can support it and encourage it to grow or we can throw rocks at the first truly commercial material available in an effort to shut it down before it really gets started. Making the new polymer is only the first step, the next big step is to find ways to convert it into usable materials such as films. To date only a small handful of converters and film manufacturers have actually done this with PLA. Furthermore, of those suppliers only a small few have actually produced and sold any "real" volume. I applaud Bryce and SKC for stepping up and committing assets to support Frito Lay's effort in wanting to make a difference. By supporting the biopolymer's industry in purchasing significant quantities of this material we are actually encouraging the whole industry to bring out their best efforts and isn't that what makes America great - competition. Now, Anonymous mentions that there are a lot of revolutionary new eco-friendly materials out there - well I say you are right. And the best way Frito Lay and other large companies can support the growth of those materials is to find ways to use them in their packages. I can tell you whole-heartedly that I am fully engaged in finding as many ways as possible to use the right materials to achieve environmental improvements. It just has to be backed up with scientific evidence, available in reasonable quantities and meet the performance expectations required to protect the product inside. So bring it on - I look forward to seeing these new materials develop into the commodity packaging that the whole industry needs.

  • Focus on what you can do for improvement.

    I like the simple way the Sustainable Packaging Coalition has defined sustainable packaging: Sustainable Packaging: 1) Is beneficial, safe & healthy for individuals and communities throughout its life cycle; 2) Meets market criteria for performance and cost; 3) Is sourced, manufactured, transported, and recycled using renewable energy; 4) Maximizes the use of renewable or recycled source materials; 5) Is manufactured using clean production technologies and best practices; 6) Is made from materials healthy in all probable end of life scenarios; 7) Is physically designed to optimize materials and energy; 8) Is effectively recovered and utilized in biological and/or industrial cradle to cradle cycles. Well, maybe not so simple to achieve all of these goals at one time. But, if we focus on 2 or 3 areas to begin with then try to continually improve we can make progress towards the ultimate goal. Number 1 and 2 on the list are kind of "givens" for most packagers - it has to be safe and it has to meet cost and performance criteria or it's not even considered. So then it's just a matter of focusing on the other 6 areas (while not forgetting about the first 2). See - simple!

  • Too good to be true? Maybe.

    The claims that many of these additive suppliers are making are likely to be too good to be true. I'd be wary. The state of California recently passed legislation regarding the labeling of packages as "biodegradable" and/or "compostable". Here's a link to the article: http://www.packaginglaw.com/index_news.cfm?id=385 Additionally, the FTC has published "Green Guides" for packaging claims that state what can and cannot be said about a package. I believe it would be hard to demostrate that many of these additives meet the standards for which claims could be appropriately made.

* indicates an article that was submitted directly to this Web site by the supplier, and was not handled by the Greener Package editorial staff.

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