Essentials of Sustainable Packaging

Online and in-person training courses on sustainable packaging topics.

Sustainability is an asset and an opportunity for your business. Do you have the knowledge to achieve your company’s goals?

The Sustainable Packaging Coalition created the Essentials of Sustainable Packaging training program to educate professionals about the top subjects in sustainable packaging, such as:

  • Designing for recovery
  • Bioplastics
  • Compostable packaging
  • Material health
  • Ocean plastic pollution

And more courses are being added each year!

Courses available on-demand online & in-person

The training program is designed for professionals and for whole teams in a company, such as sales, marketing, and executive leadership. No previous packaging knowledge is needed to benefit from this training program. By taking these courses, you will be able to understand how sustainability effects packaging decisions, and your company as a whole.

Developed by the SPC and taught by the SPC staff, the Essentials of Sustainable Packaging starts with a 5-part “Core Content” course that covers all major materials and a multitude of product sectors, diving into the sustainability considerations for a package’s entire life cycle: sourcing, design, use, recovery, and beyond.

Our team of packaging and sustainability experts develops new courses quarterly on emerging industry topics. Each of these courses unpacks advanced and nuanced considerations for their unique supply chains, environmental profiles, and recovery possibilities. 


Essentials of Sustainable Packaging Core Content

  • Making Sustainability Part of Your Brand
  • Optimize Packaging Design
  • Design for Recovery
  • Source Sustainably
  • Planetary Boundaries

The Essentials of Bioplastics 

  • A family of different materials
  • Bioplastics myth busting
  • Sourcing and recovery considerations
  • Compare and contrast bio-based recyclable resins with compostable resins

The Essentials of Sourcing Fiber

  • Principles of Responsible Forest Management strategies
  • Sourcing and supply chain certifications for virgin fiber
  • How to integrate recovered fiber and recycled feedstock

The Essentials of Compostable Packaging

  • Considerations for compostable plastic and fiber packaging
  • Understanding residential and commercial composting access
  • Compostable packaging as a vehicle for food waste diversion
  • Fundamentals of compostable packaging testing and certification

The Essentials of Ocean Plastic Pollution

  • How ocean plastic pollution impacts the marine environment
  • Global waste management infrastructure challenges
  • Ocean and ocean-bound plastic as feedstock
  • Government and industry-led initiatives around ocean plastic pollution

The Essentials of Material Health

  • Public perceptions of material health in packaging
  • Regulatory and non-regulatory considerations for chemicals in packaging
  • Material health in the context of the circular economy
  • Tools to select safer alternatives and manage chemicals in the supply chain


The Essentials of Goal Setting

  • What is a Goal? – How goals are different from statements of interest 
  • Why Goals – Motivations and regulatory drivers for setting packaging goals 
  • Goal Setting – Understanding the scope and ambition of packaging goals
  • Sourcing Goals – Setting goals related to sourcing renewable or recycled content materials
  • Optimization Goals – Setting goals around material and volumetric efficiency and material health
  • Recovery Goals – Setting goals around end-of-life recovery of packaging


The Essentials of Chemical Recycling

  • Trends and Drivers – Industry concerns about non-recyclable plastics and the  limitations of mechanical recycling
  • Polymer Chemistry – How plastics can be broken apart at the molecular level 
  • Chemical Recycling Technologies – Technologies being applied to different types of polymers
  • Challenges and Opportunities – What’s next for scaling chemical recycling technologies


The Essentials of Reusable Packaging

  • Trends and Reuse Models –  What’s driving interest in reusable packaging and how reuse is being facilitated
  • Lifecycle Considerations –  How reusable packaging’s product footprint is affected by material choices, packaging weight, and the frequency of reuse
  • Refill and Reuse Logistics – The mechanics of setting up and running effective reuse programs
  • Tools for Getting Started – Resources for understanding, accelerating, and adopting reuse business models

2 Ways to Take the Essentials of Sustainable Packaging Training Program:


Take the training program at your own pace, on your own time.

See a video preview of how the online course works:



SPC staff will travel to your company to teach the courses on-site.

SPC members – $12,500 + travel expenses for SPC staff teachers
Non-SPC members – $15,000 +  travel expenses for SPC staff teachers

Inquire about bringing the SPC staff to your building to teach the Essentials of Sustainable Packaging in-person by emailing


Discounts on both the online and in-person Essentials courses are available for SPC members. Not yet a member? Apply today.

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Essentials of Sustainable Packaging

From: $500 / year

Online Essentials of Sustainable Packaging Subscriptions


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Note for online subscribers:

Access to the educational courses will be given upon receipt of payment. All learners will be required to accept and abide by the Essentials of Sustainable Packaging Terms of Service and the Privacy Policy.

We’ve taught over 1,000 professionals and counting! Here’s what past attendees have to say: