RPA Industry Affairs and Standards Committee: Promoting the Value of Reusables

 Michael Ellis, IFCO Systems Director Supply Chain Development  Michael Ellis, IFCO Systems Director Supply Chain Development

If you’re interested in developing and promoting standards for reusables, or building relationships with other organizations that intersect the reusables market, then you should join the RPA’s Industry Affairs and Standards Committee.

The committee’s key objectives for 2015 are:

  • Identify emerging and existing standards  that could benefit the reusables market
  • Target and assess the potential to partner with other groups and associations

The committee chair is Michael Ellis, Director Supply Chain Development at IFCO SYSTEMS. Ellis volunteered to lead the committee because of his interest and experience in standardization. During his military career, he helped create standards for loading aircraft, and he is currently supporting IFCO’s standardization efforts for the reusables industry.

“I have a lot of interest and experience in standardization, and I believe the reusables industry would benefit from the adoption of more standards. I’d like to have an active committee that is exploring standards that are coming out of other countries or industries that might benefit our market,” said Ellis.

Earlier this month, the RPA issued its Guidelines and Best Practices to Strengthen Safety of Returnable Containers in Food Supply Chains. The Food Safety Working Group that developed the guidelines was a subcommittee of the Industry Affairs and Standards Committee.

The committee also is tasked with identifying groups and associations where the RPA should build a relationship. Possibilities include industry associations like MHI, AIAG, United Fresh and CSCMP. One idea already on the table is staging an RPA Reusable Packaging Pavilion at MODEX in 2016. Another possibility is working with universities like the University of Florida, Cal Poly, UC Davis and Michigan State University to educate their packaging schools and students about reusables. The committee also will consider ways to strengthen the RPA’s existing relationships with Ameripen, the California Resource Recovery Association and StopWaste.org.

“There are a lot of groups and markets looking at sustainability and reusables. We want to step back and take record of who is doing what, and where it makes sense for the RPA to work closely with the right groups to increase the adoption of reusables,” explained Ellis.

And be sure to share this opportunity with other members of your company who might be interested in these topics. Anyone interested in joining the committee should contact Jerry Welcome, RPA President, at jwelcome@reusables.org or (540) 631-0773.