The Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI), North America’s leading certifier of compostable products and packaging, announced the election results for its Board of Directors. Included is the first composter in BPI’s 20+ year history. Atlas Organics, the Spartanburg, South Carolina based commercial composter, will be represented by Leslie Rodgers, Atlas’ Director of Business Development. Composters like Atlas Organics are eligible for BPI’s Board following creation of a new Stakeholder Membership program in late 2019 that opened membership to organizations that support BPI’s mission, but do not currently certify products or materials with BPI. “We are particularly excited to have the first composter join BPI’s Board of Directors,” notes Rhodes Yepsen, Executive Director of BPI. “This is part of our effort to better represent the entire value chain. It is our hope that BPI can become a hub of collaboration between composters, operators, manufacturers and others moving forward in our shared goal of keeping organics out of landfills.”
BPI’s Stakeholder Membership program is free for composters and municipalities. “Stakeholder members enjoy all of the same voting rights as Producer Members, participate in BPI committees, and are eligible for seats on BPI’s Board of Directors,” adds Yepsen. “In 2020, Atlas Organics helped shape BPI’s Guidelines for the Labeling and Identification of Compostable Products and Packaging, which began as a project in BPI’s Communications and Outreach Committee.”
Atlas Organics’ composting footprint includes operations in North and South Carolina, Florida and Texas. “Joining BPI has given Atlas Organics the opportunity to participate in the crucial conversations about compostable packaging happening across the industry,” says Rodgers. “I’m excited to share the perspective of composters with my fellow BPI board members, and to help open lines of communication between composters and packaging manufacturers.”
Other organizations elected to new terms beginning in 2021 are Amy’s Kitchen (Renaud des Rosiers), BASF (Jeanette Hanna, Secretary of the Board), Eco-Products (Steve Rosse), Dunn Paper (Chris Mitchell), Vegware (Julia Wetstein), and Dart Container (Christine Cassidy). They are joined by current members NatureWorks (Tim Goodman, President of the Board), Pactiv (Lynn Dyer, Vice President of the Board), Georgia Pacific (Peg Hoks), Novamont (Paul Darby), Danimer (Phil van Trump), and Total Corbion (Derek Atkinson).
Later this month, BPI will be hosting two multi-stakeholder virtual workshop sessions moderated by Nora Goldstein of BioCycle. The sessions will include a broad mix of composters, municipalities, compostable products manufacturers and food service operators. The goal for the sessions is to build consensus for a single set of acceptability criteria for compostable products by identifying the top barriers composters and municipalities face today, and specific projects that address them.
Once the sessions are complete, a new BPI Composter and Municipality Committee chaired by Atlas Organics will share responsibility for the projects identified by workshop participants as top priorities for addressing issues like compost contamination, how products break down in real world conditions, and inability to sell compost into organic agriculture if compostable products are accepted. “The same barriers consistently come up in our conversations with composters,” explains Yepsen. “We want to be sure there is agreement on these challenges and their solutions so we can make meaningful progress. The timing is right with Atlas Organics joining our Board, and a half dozen other composters and municipalities having joined BPI as Stakeholder Members.”