According to Information Resources Inc., Chicago, nearly half of U.S. consumers consider at least one sustainability factor in selecting packaged goods items or where to shop. Packaging professionals — including engineers — needing guidance on applying sustainable packaging initiatives to their designs will find plenty of information on this topic at Pack Expo International 2008, to be held Nov. 9 to 13 at Chicago's McCormick Place. The show will be co-located with Process Expo and Converting & Package Printing Expo.

Attendees will find a variety of sustainability-oriented innovations among the show's 2,000+ exhibitors, according to show organizer PMMI. Featured technologies range from bioplastics, polylactic acid (PLA) films and other sustainable packaging materials to energy-efficient machinery and lean production solutions. The show will also address key environmental issues, such as source reduction, minimization of greenhouse gas emissions and waste, and rising levels of recycling and recycled content. To help engineers easily identify exhibitors highlighting sustainable solutions, special icons will be used to flag listings on www.packexpo.com, in the show directory, and in exhibitors' booths.

The sustainability theme will also be a prominent part of the show's conference sessions, with tracks on conservation, lightweighting, and plant operations. Each conference keynote session will address sustainability beginning with a special address by Amy Zettlemoyer-Lazar, packaging director of Sam's Club and co-manager of the Wal-Mart Sustainability Value Network. She will provide an update on the progress of the Wal-Mart “sustainability scorecard.” In another session, Betsy Cohen, vice president of sustainability at Nestlé, will present “More Safety vs. Less Material? Where Does Packaging Go?” — addressing the competing values packaging professionals must balance. Trevor Cusworth, director, Deloitte Consulting LLP, will deliver Tuesday's keynote speech. His presentation on “Sustainability in Manufacturing: From Boardroom to Break Room” will use case studies to highlight sustainable practices and identify immediate actions that can improve the sustainability of manufacturing operations. He will also discuss designing and installing new lines and equipment. For more information, visit www.packexpo.com.