News and tips for retailers, brands, and those who know better data will build a more sustainable future.
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In the dynamic retail landscape, a symbiotic relationship between retailers and suppliers is crucial for success. We surveyed suppliers across the country to better understand their key concerns, pain points, and aspirations when it comes to this collaboration. Let's delve into the findings and discover how retailers can better understand and support their supplier and vendor partners (in their regulatory compliance process and beyond):
1. Phthalates and SLS: A Focal Point
Suppliers are expressing mild concerns about the impact of ingredients like phthalates and SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate) on their ability to sell products through retailers. These ingredient types can limit their market access due to regulatory requirements and consumer preferences that inform things like Restricted Substances Lists. Retailers should be aware of these concerns and work collaboratively with suppliers to proactively communicate about any restrictions around these ingredients, and help them navigate them while maintaining product quality and standards.
2. Transparency on Demand Drives Retailer-Supplier Relations
While ease of collaboration with third-party platforms remains important, transparency around demand emerges as a paramount concern for suppliers in their relationships with retailers. Retailers who can provide clearer and ongoing insights into demand trends and forecasts will create an environment of trust and alignment. This understanding enhances decision-making and streamlines the supply chain.
3. The Complexity of the Classification Process
Suppliers expressed their wish for retailers to better comprehend the complexities of the product classification process. The time and effort spent on uploading data to multiple platforms, coupled with the challenge of dealing with one-dimensional data, contribute to inefficiencies and increased costs for suppliers across the board. Retailers can make a significant impact by working closely with their classification partners to streamline data sharing, optimize lead times, and provide easier guidelines and steps for getting through the classification process.
4. Cost (Particularly in Shipping) is a Major Supply Chain Concern
Suppliers highlighted increasing costs, particularly in shipping, as a top supply chain concern. New regulations affecting shipping and general inflation have led to rising expenses. The unpredictability of these changes amplifies suppliers' worries. Furthermore, the anticipation of regulatory changes and retailers' proactive adaptation to these changes is a key point of anxiety for suppliers. Retailers can provide reassurance by fostering a stable environment, adapting to regulatory shifts, and working collaboratively to manage costs.
Quality, for us, means providing the best – ingredients, formulation, and performance – in each and every one of our products
5. Recognizing Suppliers' Expertise and Standards
A prevailing sentiment among suppliers is the desire for retailers to understand their high-quality standards, in-depth product knowledge, and expertise in navigating regulations. Suppliers invest substantial time and effort in formulating their products and complying with industry guidelines. Acknowledging this expertise not only strengthens the retailer-supplier relationship but also promotes a shared commitment to delivering exceptional products to consumers.
By addressing concerns such as ingredient limitations, transparency, data complexities, supply chain costs, and recognizing supplier expertise, retailers can pave the way for more collaborative, efficient, and mutually beneficial partnerships. As the retail landscape continues to evolve, nurturing these relationships becomes a cornerstone of success for all stakeholders involved. For a more detailed look into the survey findings, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Today Regeneration.VC, the early-stage venture capital fund, announced the close of a $7M investment in their newest portfolio company, Smarter Sorting.
LOS ANGELES, Aug. 1, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Today Regeneration.VC, the early-stage venture capital fund known for supercharging consumer-powered climate innovation, announced the close of a $7M investment in their newest portfolio company, Smarter Sorting. This capital comes as an extension to the recent $25M investment round led by G2 Venture Partnersearlier this year.
Smarter Sorting collects the empirical truth about consumer products at the chemical and ingredient level to unlock new ways for retailers and brands to increase sustainability. The data company's proprietary technology can classify 2 million consumer products across 3,500+ data points and 150 million chemical compounds. By providing new data and insights to retailers and the brands they sell, Smarter Sorting ensures products are safely handled, the environmental impact of the supply chain is minimized, fines are avoided, goods are diverted into the most environmentally friendly waste stream, and donations to food banks are maximized.
Smarter Sorting's strategic food bank partners most notably include Feeding America. The company's tech increases the volume and pace of donations from the back of supermarket retail partners like Costco into the hands of Feeding America's network of food banks and pantries for goods that can't be sold, but can be donated, such as fresh produce, meat and dairy.
"Smarter Sorting is focused on using data and computing for a better world, and we are so excited to work alongside Regeneration.VC to help scale our environmental impact on making, marketing and moving consumer products more responsibly across the supply chain," said Jacqueline Claudia, CEO of Smarter Sorting.
The company will use this additional investment to further build out its team, digital products, and data platform - ensuring consumer products stocked on retailers' shelves move quickly, compliantly, and safely throughout the supply chain. Today, Smarter Sorting's technology is helping major retailers such as Costco, Albertson's and Wegmans meet the growing landscape of environmental regulations and obligations.
"We are thrilled to have Smarter Sorting join our growing portfolio of circular and regenerative companies tackling the climate emergency," said Michael Smith, Regeneration.VC's General Partner who has joined Smarter Sorting's board of directors with this investment. "Smarter Sorting's approach sheds much needed light on the chemical composition in our everyday consumer products and can lead to better product formulation, more circular pathways for waste streams, reduced emissions in shipping and handling of regulated products…all enables vital positive outcomes in the CPG and retail spaces.
About Regeneration.VC Founded in Los Angeles, Regeneration.VC is an early-stage venture fund supercharging consumer-powered climate innovation driven by circular and regenerative principles. Our investment strategy encompasses design (materials & packaging), use (consumer brands & products), and reuse technologies (reverse logistics & marketplaces) that generate measurable environmental impact alongside outsized return potential. For more information, visit https://regeneration.vc
About Smarter Sorting Based in Boulder, Colo., Austin, Texas, and Los Angeles, Smarter Sorting helps companies make, market and move consumer products better. Its customers include national discount club stores and supermarkets, as well as the brands they sell. The company's customers use its Product Intelligence Platform to gain product insights and identify how to best handle regulated consumer products across the supply chain to remain compliant, avoid fines and reduce their environmental impact. Awards for innovation, impact and employee experience include: Fast Company Most Innovative Companies, Built In Best Place to Work, Real Leader Impact Award and SEAL Sustainable Innovation Award. Smarter Sorting is an Unreasonable Impact company. For more information, visit https://www.smartersorting.com
Consumers expect both brands and retailers to prioritize waste reduction and diversion. But there is a misconception throughout the retail community that diversion pathways for regulated waste don’t exist
Lay of the land(fill)
There is a misconception throughout the retail community that diversion pathways for regulated waste don’t exist.
Take, for example, the collection of unsellable, out-of-season fragrance in the back of a store. In the past, these products would have likely been labeled “regulated waste” and shipped to an incinerator. Not exactly a sustainability report highlight. But “burn it” is last in our playbook.
Product information is bolstering a big change in waste diversion.
Retailers using the Back of Store System (BOSS) rely on product classification data provided by brands and verified by Smarter Sorting.
One of our partners, a major retailer with $150 billion in revenue and 500+ US locations, requires back-of-store management for 10% of all retail products on their shelves.
With Smarter Sorting’s BOSS, they achieved:
93% increase in diversion to recycling, donation or reuse
80,000+ products donated in a single month
30% reduction in toxic waste
77% reduction in item processing times
100% visibility into affected waste streams
The BOSS communicates with our Product Intelligence Platform™ to extract millions of data points, dictating the most compliant and sustainable waste stream for a regulated product.
Why should YOU care about waste diversion?
There’s value beyond the numbers. Quite simply, stakeholders care about doing what’s right. Consumers expect both brands and retailers to prioritize waste reduction and diversion.
Deloitte’s 2022 survey on consumer sustainability behaviors found that circularity is growing in importance. This is evident in the top ten actions consumers are taking to lead more sustainable lifestyles, three of which are:
Recycling or composting household waste
Reducing food waste
Choosing brands that have environmentally sustainable practices/ values
And employees care too!
One of our national retail partners has experienced increased employee engagement with our specific and accurate classifications. Because making better decisions for the environment has never been easier.
Brace for impact
Even companies with existing sustainability programs may need help.
Another key finding from the Deloitte report was lack of trust. Nearly half of consumers either don’t know the business commitments they can trust or just don’t trust businesses when it comes to sustainability.
We translate data. And we do it transparently so retailers can benchmark their EHS/ESG goals down to the product level. Take the next step to achieve your public sustainability goals and check out our impact journey.
Smarter Sorting is a Top 50 winner in the 2022 Real Leaders® Eco Innovation Awards for our proprietary Product Intelligence Platform.
AUSTIN, Texas and BOULDER, Colo.,July 6, 2022 – Smarter Sorting (www.smartersorting.com), a consumer goods data and sustainability company, has been announced as a Top 50 winner in the 2022 Real Leaders® Eco Innovation Awards. Smarter Sorting helps retailers and suppliers know more about regulated consumer products to make, market and move them across the supply chain more sustainably.
This nomination specifically highlights Smarter Sorting’s proprietary Product Intelligence Platform™—the platform connects brand manufacturers and retailers. By sharing product data for hazardous, environmentally sensitive and regulated products, the company ensures retailers meet their environmental obligations, make better decisions, avoid unnecessary fines and reduce their environmental impact.
This week, Real Leaders released its inaugural Eco Innovation Awards to its global community of social impact executives. This distinction celebrates achievement in environmental impact. As a longtime advocate for businesses that build sustainability into their business models, Real Leaders wanted to recognize the products, projects, and initiatives that are actively contributing to a healthier planet.
“We are honored to see our Product Intelligence Platform™ recognized by Real Leaders for the value it provides major retailers and consumer brands,” said Jacqueline Claudia, CEO of Smarter Sorting. “Smarter Sorting is focused on how we can use data and computing to build a better world. Through our Product Intelligence Platform™, we provide companies with product classification data for safety, health, transportation, disposal, and environmental regulations. This helps brands and retailers make more instant and informed decisions backed by accuracy.”
Smarter Sorting harnesses its math, chemistry and computing expertise to help retailers and brands do good for business while simultaneously doing good for the environment. To date, Smarter Sorting customers have achieved a 63 percent reduction in regulated waste using computational chemistry and 93 percent diversion to recycling or donation to charities.
Entries were judged on creativity, innovation, originality, measurable impact and needed to be designed to help solve an environmental issue. Awards were given in three categories: Top 50 ranking, Ones to Watch, and Eco Innovation Allies. All winners will be featured in the Q3 2022 issue of Real Leaders magazine, on Real-Leaders.com, and will be promoted across social media.
“This is such a critical moment for our planet,” says Julie Van Ness, CEO of Real Leaders. “The latest IPCC report’s dire climate warning has made it clear there is no time to waste. It’s going to take all of us working together, especially business leaders who can leverage their influence and power in service to the planet. That’s why we dedicated our Q3 issue to business-led solutions for tackling the climate crisis; and we’re excited to introduce the world to our Eco Innovation Award-winning companies and CEOs who are doing just that. This issue is a must-read for purpose-driven leaders who want to be a part of the solution.”
Real Leaders magazine can be found in Barnes & Noble bookstores, on airport newsstands, and in Delta executive lounges. Additionally, both print and digital subscriptions are available on Real-Leaders.com.
About Real Leaders
Real Leaders is a membership community for impact leaders with a global media platform dedicated to driving positive change. It’s on a mission to unite farsighted leaders to transform our shortsighted world. Founded in 2010, Real Leaders recognized early on that businesses bore a responsibility to be as cognizant of their impact on employees, society, and the planet as they are on their bottom line. Real Leaders is a B Corporation, member of the UN Global Compact, and is independently owned.LinkedIn: Real Leaders
About Smarter Sorting
Based in Boulder, Colo., Austin, Texas, and Los Angeles, Smarter Sorting helps companies make, market and move consumer products better. Its customers include national discount club stores and supermarkets, as well as the brands they sell. The company's customers use its Product Intelligence Platform to gain product insights and identify how to best handle regulated consumer products across the supply chain to remain compliant, avoid fines and reduce their environmental impact. Awards for innovation, impact and employee experience include: Fast Company Most Innovative Companies, Built In Best Place to Work, Real Leader Impact Award and SEAL Sustainable Innovation Award. Smarter Sorting is an Unreasonable Impact company.
Smarter Sorting and Feeding America have developed a real-time data connection to help retailers work with food banks to reduce food and consumer goods going to waste.
Smarter Sorting and Feeding America Launch New Data-Sharing Technology to Help Retailers Reduce Food and Packaged Goods Waste
Smarter Sorting and Feeding America® provide retailers with a real-time data connection with food banks to reduce food and consumer goods going to waste when they could easily be donated
AUSTIN, Texas and BOULDER, Colo., Sept. 20, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Smarter Sorting, a consumer goods data and sustainability company, today announced an integration with Feeding America's MealConnect platform to help retailers reduce food waste and donate more to hunger-relief organizations. Smarter Sorting helps retailers handle products with data intelligence — from the shelf to the back of the store, and then distributed as donations to local food banks within the Feeding America network. Retailers can now send instantaneous, automated updates about donation packages. The data-led work ensures better accuracy, visibility, and product lifecycle planning for retail donors and food banks.
The Smarter Sorting and Feeding America partnership is a testament to the ways technology and forward-thinking individuals have the power to affect real, positive change. Costco, a partner of Feeding America, helped pilot the new service. This integration for Costco not only provides actionable, real-time data to food banks, but it also closely aligns with their initiatives to be a supportive arm to the local communities where their employees and members live and work. Furthermore, this integration helps Costco's sustainability goals, specifically their work to divert 80% of their waste.
"Food and consumer goods that could be donated go to waste because there has been no real-time visibility into what is available and where it's located. Retailers and food banks need a better way to understand what donations are ready for pick up to ensure perfectly good products that can't be sold find their way to people who need them the most," says Jacqueline Claudia, CEO of Smarter Sorting. "Our real-time API connection with Feeding America breaks the mindset that it's hard to scale donations and reduce waste without disrupting normal operations."
Tony Pupillo, senior director at Feeding America, says, "Retail donations are Feeding America's largest donation source, recovering over 1.67 billion meals from retail locations in 2021. It might seem like a no-brainer that unused, edible food and essential household items from retailers could be recovered by food pantries, but unfortunately, numerous barriers can make the process inefficient and cumbersome. Offering a glimpse into what items are available prior to a donation pickup creates a more seamless donation pickup and operation overall. Now, with Smarter Sorting's API integration with Feeding America's MealConnect Platform, retailers enjoy a more seamless opportunity to give back and combat waste."
Food recovery has historically faced logistical challenges that have made communication and reporting between retailers and food pantries highly complicated. Smarter Sorting's work with 24 national big-box retailers, such as Costco, offers a solution for retailers to make significant contributions to a global food waste problem without slowing down existing operational procedures and rewarding community donations with new efficiencies.
The Food Sourcing Compliance Officer, Linda Golebiewski, of God's Pantry Food Bank in Lexington, Kentucky, says, "The ability to know four pallets of potatoes are going to be donated allows us to prepare the cook at the soup kitchen in advance of setting a menu. What Smarter Sorting and Feeding America have done has changed the way we do meal planning, engage with our community partners, and impact our communities overall."
About Feeding America
Feeding America® is the largest hunger-relief organization in the United States. Through a network of more than 200 food banks, 21 statewide food bank associations, and over 60,000 partner agencies, food pantries and meal programs, we helped provide 6.6 billion meals to tens of millions of people in need last year. Feeding America also supports programs that prevent food waste and improve food security among the people we serve; brings attention to the social and systemic barriers that contribute to food insecurity in our nation; and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry. Visit www.feedingamerica.org, find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.
About Smarter Sorting
Based in Boulder, Colo., Austin, Texas, and Los Angeles, Smarter Sorting helps companies make, market and move consumer products better. Its customers include national discount club stores and supermarkets, as well as the brands they sell. The company's customers use its Product Intelligence Platform to gain product insights and identify how to best handle regulated consumer products across the supply chain to remain compliant, avoid fines and reduce their environmental impact. The company has been honored with awards for innovation, impact and employee experience including: Fast Company's World Changing Ideas and Most Innovative Companies, Built In's Best Place to Work, as well as a Real Leader Impact Award and the SEAL Sustainable Innovation Award. Smarter Sorting is an Unreasonable Impact company. www.smartersorting.com
About God's Pantry Food Bank
The mission of God's Pantry Food Bank is to reduce hunger by working together to feed Kentucky communities. Working through more than 450 food pantries and meal programs the Food Bank serves 50 counties across Central and Eastern Kentucky. God's Pantry Food Bank distributed nearly 41.8 million pounds of food to many of the more than 250,000 neighbors facing food insecurity, including nearly 13 million pounds of fresh produce in fiscal year 2021. For more information, visit us at www.godspantryfoodbank.org.
On Earth911’sSustainability in Your Ear podcast, Mitch Ratcliffe has an in-depth conversation with Jacqueline Claudia (CEO, Smarter Sorting) about the ways Smarter Sorting is helping retailers and brands reduce their environmental impact.
Jacqueline was invited onto the podcast to discuss the use of product data, the physical and chemical attributes of consumer products, to optimize retail recycling. In the interview, Jacqueline talks about our Product Intelligence PlatformTM and Back of Store System (BOSS), Smarter Sorting’s work to make EHS data trackable and actionable, as well as our growing partnership with Feeding America.
From a data perspective, we are working across the supply chain to help make the circular economy an achievable reality. By profiling products, we can fully understand the implications of their chemical and physical attributes.
Jacqueline explains, “We understand what products actually are - what’s in them, what size, how much they weigh - so we can make better decisions about what to do with them. If we want to know if something is toxic, we can examine the ingredient list and determine if there are any ingredients in the product that are toxic. Or, if a product needs to be thrown away, we have data that tells us what we can do with it - both legally and responsibly - in the back of the store.”
We are also working to promote a circular economy by managing consumer products that can no longer be sold: the product is nearing its sell-by date, the packaging is damaged, etc. Our system connects food banks with our retail partners’ back of store donation information in real time. This information enables food banks to plan menus ahead of product delivery. “I can go into the Feeding America app using the API connection that we’ve made with them, and I can tell that I can go pick up 200 pounds of broccoli at this store and 600 pounds of potatoes at that store and make a really awesome soup for the folks at my kitchen,” Jacqueline expounds, “and so we allow less food to go to waste because we make it available to people.”
To hear more of Jacqueline Claudia’s conversation with Mitch Ratcliffe about Smarter Sorting’s quest to optimize retail recycling, tune in above.
Want to get new tech to consumers, quickly and efficiently? Examine all applicable regulations and requirements for selling covered electronic devices.
The do's and don'ts of selling TVs, computers, printers and other electronics
What are the state-level rules for compliantly selling consumer electronics?
As the consumption of consumer electronics increases and the obligations to handle electronics in a safe and sustainable way becomes more and more important, it’s essential that retailers and manufacturers know their obligations and understand the proactive ways they can be good corporate citizens.
Here are three questions electronics retailers and manufacturers should seek to answer:
1. What are the state-level regulations that apply to Covered Electronic Devices (CED) today? 2. How does the price of a TV affect which regulations apply? 3. Which states have obscure rules for CEDs?
Failing to comply with selling requirements could result in being placed on a “Do Not Sell” list and the issuance of fines.
Demand for consumer electronics is going up and up and so are the risks if retailers make mistakes with selling, shipping, returns, recycling, and donations?
While demand for electronic devices increases, retailers and manufacturers are also under pressure to deliver products as efficiently and sustainably as possible. There are many hurdles to overcome - most notably, regulatory hurdles. Every phase of the consumer electronic supply chain is regulated, from equipment manufacture, to transportation, to selling in the store, to how the product must be disposed of when no longer needed.
The early 2000s yielded a flurry of electronic device legislation in the United States. But regulations haven’t kept up with product innovation. This has left manufacturers, retailers and handlers of electronic devices struggling to interpret older regulations and apply them to new products hitting the market.
For example, there are no federal regulations for how TVs, computers, monitors, computer peripherals, and printers should be sold, handled and disposed of. That said, half of US states have implemented their own regulations for electronics covering these devices, known formally as “Covered Electronic Devices (CEDs)”.
It’s imperative for manufacturers and retailers to understand state requirements, and each state’s requirements differ slightly. For example, in South Carolina, TVs that are sold for less than $100 are exempt from the CED requirements. While in Pennsylvania, manufacturers who only make computer peripherals (and no other device type) are exempt from requirements. Companies have needed to stay on top of regulations, including local nuances, to avoid being fined for shipping or disposing of products in the wrong way.
This is where Smarter Sorting comes to the rescue. We know the rules. We also know the individual makeup of millions of consumer products. We can accurately identify the right product classification, instantly.
In our State-level Requirements for Selling Covered Electronic Devices white paper, we examine all applicable requirements for selling CEDs and break down how manufacturers and retailers can confidently navigate the complex regulatory environment in order to get products to consumers, quickly and efficiently.
Several of our female math and computer programming nerds talk about their experiences and advice studying and applying mathematics in the workforce.
“Math teaches you important skills about critical thinking, problem solving, and pattern recognition. You can and should apply those skills to other areas of work and life” -Haley Salzwedel, Sustainability and ESG Lead at Smarter Sorting.
Whether we realize it or not, mathematics permeates many aspects of our lives. Whether it’s the computers we use, the bills we pay, or the routes we take to work, math has an impact.
So, while females make up half of the college-educated workforce, why do they only make up 28% of the STEM workforce? For a field that prides itself on the objectivity of its work, this is a significant disparity.
To learn more about what it’s like to be a woman in a mathematics field, we sat down with several math nerds and Smarter Sorting employees: Adrianne Marcum, VP of Engineering, Sheri Schneider, Chief Data Officer, and Haley Salzwedel, Sustainability and ESG Lead, to talk about their experiences studying and applying mathematics in their work.
What interested you about mathematics?
Adrianne: Math is really intuitive, and it came easily to me. I liked that there was essentially one right answer. I didn't have to sit there and noodle about finding the perfect word like with writing. You can be creative and take any way you want to get to that point, but I knew there was one point to get to, and that was just really comforting to me. I remember the one thing that was intimidating when I was a kid was graphs. But then there was this oscillation lab that I had to do in physics where you have this weight with a pen on a spring. You pulled it out and then let it go. And then it drew a sine wave, and I was like, are you kidding me? This is real. And then after that, I was like, wow, a graph is all the information you need, and it's real. Math is badass.
Sheri: I agree, Adrianne. Also, in math, the correct answer is not subjective.
Haley: I was going to say the exact same thing. It's highly objective, so you know whether you have the right or wrong answer, and that closure is really satisfying. Also it's a universal language, so I think that's pretty cool. It's the same no matter where you go.
What obstacles have you faced in your career?
Adrianne: I feel like I often have to present my case more thoroughly than some of my male counterparts. I feel like my input is questioned more often or I’m asked to clarify my thought process more than my male counterparts.
Sheri: Contrary to my mathematical tendencies, I had to learn to be okay with gray areas. I had to learn how to still make progress while not being 100% sure that what I was marching toward was going to yield the business targets. And that was hard.
Haley: In my previous life as an engineer, we weren't really trusted to complete tasks independently and own a project vertically. So I had to figure out how to maintain some autonomy and be confident that what I had to offer was worthwhile. Just because you're young doesn't mean you can't be skilled or competent in something.
How do you overcome these challenges?
Adrianne: I wouldn’t say that I work twice as hard, but I definitely make sure that I've done my due diligence to be ready before being questioned. It's a good thing I like math, and I like establishing patterns, finding data, and connecting those dots because it helps be prepared for any pushback.
Sheri: Two things helped me overcome the challenge of working in “gray areas.” First was growing an appreciation for the business world and truly realizing that you can’t control all the variables to ensure a successful outcome. Second would be gathering enough empirical evidence and justification that I was proceeding down the best path possible - a lot of weighing of pros and cons.
Haley: Yeah, I think in respect to developing confidence and competence, I really looked inward, focused on myself, and spent time developing expertise and really honing my craft. Once you do that, the numbers will speak for themselves. No pun intended, but pun intended. If you're doing a good job, that will speak for itself.
If you were starting a mathematics-field degree today, what area would you want to specialize in?
Adrianne: Behavioral economics. I would want to go study people and all of our being-our-selfness just to show how it's really just statistics. We all do kind of the same thing given the same inputs.
Sheri: I would still recommend applied math but with more of an emphasis in actual programming. The mathematical mind lends itself to being a thorough analyst and being able to query and analyze large quantities of data quickly is a must-have in this data-driven world. My advice: “Don’t cheat through your C++ class.” It may be an old language, but it’s going to give you a great foundation for future application of your mathematical prowess.
Haley: I would still do an engineering field, but specifically metallurgical and materials engineering.
What advice do you have for your female mathematically minded peers?
Adrianne: I would offer the advice that Haley gave for coping with the setbacks and challenges she has faced. Focus on yourself and what you're capable of doing rather than listening to what other people are saying about what you can do. I’d recommend finding other females that you can collaborate with because you gain confidence working with true peers doing the same thing. We can do this work, and it's really fun and enjoyable to work with other females that are into the same thing. Nothing against men, I work with men all the time. But it's just reassuring to work with females and have that comradery.
Sheri: I would say that the mathematical mindset is systematic. Like, literally step-by-step and anchored on logical progression; this begets this begets this. And I think folks with that kind of a mind need to share their thought processes with other people because I think we take it for granted that people’s minds work in the same way as ours. We think, “why aren't you seeing what I see?” I think when you can take the opportunity to share how you got to a conclusion, you'll actually get better reception and buy-in for your ideas and approaches. A logical mind is really important, especially like working with data.
Haley: I love what Sheri said. I'll segue off of that and add that [one gains an] understanding that math teaches you more esoteric skills when it comes to critical thinking, problem solving, and pattern recognition. And you can, and should, apply those skills to other areas of work and life because they will serve you well. Make your skills and interests work for you.
Smarter Sorting was today named the winner of a Gold Stevie® Award for Achievement in Product Innovation in The 20th Annual American Business Awards®.
AUSTIN, Texas and BOULDER, Colo., April 28, 2022 -- Smarter Sorting, a consumer goods data and sustainability company, was today named the winner of a Gold Stevie® Award for Achievement in Product Innovation in The 20th Annual American Business Awards®.
The American Business Awards are the U.S.A.'s premier business awards program. All organizations operating in the U.S.A. are eligible to submit nominations – public and private, for-profit and non-profit, large and small.
Nicknamed the Stevies for the Greek word meaning "crowned," the awards will be presented to winners at a gala ceremony at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York on Monday, June 13.
More than 3,700 nominations from organizations of all sizes and in virtually every industry were submitted this year for consideration in a wide range of categories. Smarter Sorting was nominated in the Achievement in Product Innovation category.
Smarter Sorting's winning award entry highlighted how its unique data lake and proprietary software map the ingredients and chemistry of products, and using computational mathematics, it matches this data to federal and state regulations plus retailers' policies. The Back of Store System (BOSS) taps into this cloud-based decision engine to accurately determine the best way retailers can dispose of unsold or damaged products, or whether they could be donated to charity. And if the retailer partners with US Ecology, the company's Back of Store System (BOSS) syncs with US Ecology trucks so its technicians know exactly when to schedule pick-ups, what waste to pick up and how much to expect.
One of the award judges commented: "This is an excellent solution with a great mission of sustainability, safety and environment. Plus a humanitarian purpose to increase donation capabilities for retailers."
"I'm extremely proud of our team," said Jacqueline Claudia, CEO of Smarter Sorting. "We have shown making better decisions for the environment is just good business. The unique way we use data, science and technology delivers a cost-effective and scalable solution for retailers and brands."
More than 230 professionals worldwide participated in the judging process to select this year's Stevie Award winners.
"We are so pleased that we will be able to stage our first ABA awards banquet since 2019 and to celebrate, in person, the achievements of such a diverse group of organizations and individuals," said Maggie Miller, president of the Stevie Awards.
Details about The American Business Awards and the list of 2022 Stevie winners are available at www.StevieAwards.com/ABA.
About the Stevie Awards:
Stevie Awards are conferred in eight programs: the Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards, the German Stevie Awards, the Middle East & North Africa Stevie Awards, The American Business Awards®, The International Business Awards®, the Stevie Awards for Women in Business, the Stevie Awards for Great Employers, and the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service. Stevie Awards competitions receive more than 12,000 entries each year from organizations in more than 70 nations. Honoring organizations of all types and sizes and the people behind them, the Stevies recognize outstanding performances in the workplace worldwide.
Understand the effects of packaging on the environment, human health, and everyday life as Dr. Michael Washburn breaks down common misconceptions.
There are roughly 50 billion PET bottles produced and consumed each year in the US. Over 70% of these will land in a dump, on a roadside, in a waterway, or somewhere else they do not belong. While single stream recycling has been established in many communities around the US, only about 40% of the population has consistent access to recycling.
Packaging makes purchasing goods easy and convenient. But its long lasting impacts on the environment and human health can’t be ignored.
Millions of new products hit the shelves every year. The advent of new packaging technologies has made consumption easy and streamlined. It extends the useful life of food, prevents damage to products, and reduces health and safety risks in transit.
While packaging has created benefits and made convenience a cornerstone of modern life, the proliferation of packaging brings forth new challenges.
Consumers are facing health and safety implications associated with packaging buildup in the environment, and specific chemicals used in packaging.
Terrestrial and aquatic environments are being inundated with packaging waste such as microplastics, styrofoam, and coated food wrappers. These materials make their way into our waterways and soil, wreaking havoc on living organisms.
Retailers and manufacturers are receiving pressure from consumers and stakeholders to produce and use more sustainable packaging.
Plus, the regulatory floodgates are beginning to open, and companies must comply with a plethora of new laws and regulations related to tracking packaging quantities, reporting, and offering safer and more environmentally friendly packaging alternatives.
Packaging is clearly a complex and nuanced topic with far reaching effects on the environment, human health, and everyday life for consumers. To gain a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities, we sat down with an independent packaging expert, Dr. Michael Washburn, for an in depth Q&A session.
What are some common misconceptions around packaging and its environmental impact?
People often associate packaging with waste, and this is fair, but it is incomplete. The right packaging can prevent damage to a product, extend the useful life of food, and reduce health and safety risks in transit. Keeping food fresh and reducing food waste is a major plus from a climate standpoint, as the emissions from food waste can dwarf the footprint of the packaging itself. So, keeping the role packaging can play in context is key to understanding its real impact. While we need to address what happens to packaging after its use, we should also acknowledge that choosing the right packaging can have these other benefits.
What are some shocking statistics about plastic packaging?
Over 10 million tons of plastic enter waterways and oceans annually and that number is only increasing. While recycling will help, we need to:
Improve solid waste management around the world
Reduce source inputs of unnecessary plastic
Find alternatives to applications where plastic may not be the best or only answer
Help consumers and policy makers understand that continued pollution from plastic represents a human health and ecosystem crisis.
Micro-plastics have now been found, in one study, in the lungs of living people. It has previously been found at the bottom of the ocean. I think reasonable people can agree that we are not okay with plastic being in either place.
What toxic chemicals exist in common packaging that most consumers come into contact with on a day-to-day basis?
The most common toxins in packaging are the chemicals that make up things like moisture barriers. PFAS, also known as “forever chemicals”, are of great concern. While it is unknown exactly how they affect human health when properly applied on food packaging, they are a threat to health when that packaging breaks down and they are released into the environment. They are also used in non-packaging applications as fire retardant and in other applications which is how they typically make their way into the environment. State and the federal governments are considering banning these and their use is already highly regulated.
Additionally, chemicals including heavy metals like mercury, chromium, cadmium and lead have been found in packaging. Again, while they may be stable in their respective applications, they can be released into the environment and their concentrations can be increased when the materials go through typical recycling systems. Addressing these issues has become a key element of new packaging regulations including extended producer responsibility policies and in some cases standalone legislation.
What are some exciting alternatives to plastic packaging that you are seeing today?
Paper, metal and glass are all still in play in the packaging market, and some companies are moving away from plastics toward these options in certain applications. Innovation is bringing forward biodegradable, compostable, and also reusable options to reduce waste. However, some biodegradable or compostable options can contaminate recycling streams, so substitution can create a new challenge. As this evolves, new sorting technology including on-package identifiers are racing to catch up. This is a place where Smarter Sorting’s packaging solution can add value, as it enables tracking of how much substitution is happening, and we will ultimately tie that back to recycling rates and recyclability claims.
Why is Smarter Sorting part of the solution to tackle the greater packaging problem?
Before a company, either a retailer or a supplier, can reduce their packaging or change the packaging they use, they first need to know what is being used and how much. Smarter Sorting’s solutions for packaging gives companies the tools they need to accurately measure and document what is there now. Once those baselines are set, companies can identify areas where they want to reduce and/or change material types, container types, shapes, and quantities. Decision-support in this space, along with reliable measurements adds value in the context of meeting sustainability claims, reporting on progress in ESG content, and ultimately complying with EPR and other requirements that hold companies accountable for meeting certain goals. This can include reduction of chemicals of concern, inclusion of post-consumer recycled content, phasing out of certain materials, and compliance with EPR reporting.
Smarter packaging for a better world
As regulations mature and consumer demand shifts towards upholding greater sustainable behaviors, packaging will continue to evolve.
Once we establish baseline data and ensure waste management solutions are adequately funded, we can prioritize challenges and begin innovating in constructive ways. For example - extending the life of existing packaging, reducing amounts of input materials, replacing hazardous or unsustainable packaging with “greener” options, and developing our infrastructure for properly handling and treating end-of-life packaging.
Smarter Sorting is using product intelligence to help retailers and suppliers make better decisions for consumer products and packaging. The tools are specifically designed to help organizations track packaging materials in their supply chain and comply with emerging EPR regulations.
With these insights, organizations can be confident that they are in compliance with applicable regulations. Most importantly, they can make sustainable decisions that have a ripple effect on people and the planet. Smarter packaging, better world.