Audience Testimonials

“This [event] brings an unparalleled opportunity to join forces with like-minded individuals and companies to solve the toughest challenges facing us today in establishing broad and scaled circular solutions for materials.”

General Manager – Growth Ventures, FLUID QUIP TECHNOLOGIES

“The Rethinking Materials Summit is a wonderful opportunity to better understand the challenges of all the attending industries, to learn more about the brands’ commitments,
and to discover new technologies that enable a more circular industry.”

Business Development and Partnerships Director, CARBIOS

“The shift towards a circular economy with sustainable infrastructure requires the involvement of all players along the value chain to collaborate, to innovate, and to introduce new solutions. We see Rethinking Materials Summit as a collaborative platform that brings all players together.”


“[Rethinking Materials] really opened my eyes to some of the development work going on and how it fits into the global packaging strategy.”

Senior Packaging Technologist, QUORN FOODS

“I can’t imagine my life without Rethink right now.”

Director of Growth and Marketing, GINKGO BIOWORKS

“A great opportunity for networking, learning, and thinking about tomorrow’s materials.”


“The key benefits of joining this event for our business is that it brings together all key stakeholders in the same industry that cares about the same thing, so it was very targeted and relevant.”


“This event was flawless”

CEO Co-Founder, SWAY

Highlights Video

Keynote Speakers

Two keynote speakers honoured us with their insights and experience, readying the floor for intelligent, focused discussion, and inspiring those present to meet the urgent need for collaboration and innovation in materials.

On day one, The Rt. Hon. Jo Churchill,  Resources and Waste Minister at DEFRA opened the summit with a welcome address, laying out the key challenges we face when tackling plastic pollution, and the measures that have been introduced including the UK’s plastic tax and extended producer responsibility initiative.

On day two, William McDonough, Chief Executive at McDonough Innovation, delivered an inspiring keynote speech on cradle to cradle design, drawing on his experience travelling the world as an architect, experiencing materials and the disposal of those materials in the real world.

Jo Churchill

William McDonough

Technology Showcase

Eight early-stage innovators presented their technologies, introducing novel materials and their uses, and highlighting solutions for end-of-life sortation and processing. Follow the links below to watch the technology showcases in full.

Learn More about the Presenting Start-Ups

Technology Showcase // Innovation in Raw Materials


Technology Showcase // Innovation for Reuse, Recyclability, Sortation, and Circularity


Highlights from the Summit Stage

Defossilisation: Performance Materials in a Low Carbon Circular Economy

“We can’t decarbonise – we need carbon especially for plastics and certain types of fuels – but how we source carbon, how we use it, and how we dispose of it is key. We like to think of ourselves as carbon rehab – we take bad carbon and make it into good carbon, locking it into a materials cycle.”

Freya Burton, Chief Sustainability Officer, LANZATECH

“Virgin plastic is way too cheap. The environmental damage doesn’t cost the manufacturers so the price is artificially cheap. It holds back the investment in and adoption of new materials. The playing field needs to be levelled to change the behaviour of the industry and therefore get solutions out faster – the economics need to change.”

Michael Saltzberg, Global Business Director, DUPONT

“We have to move quickly, we are looking for solutions that can be implemented immediately within existing infrastructure, but we are also looking at the longer-term horizon of what is possible as consumer interests change, as availability of materials change, as regulations change.”

Maisie DevineExecutive Director, Sustainable Innovation & 100+ Accelerator, ANHEUSER-BUSCH INBEV

“Some solutions we already have just need to be scaled and invested in, and then there are the mid-term that need more work to become commercially viable, but there is also the need for investment to ensure truly exciting innovations keep coming.”

Ved KrishnaFounder, PAKKA

Corporate Innovation: Investing in Ideas for Sustainable Packaging Solutions

Scaling Capacity of Biological Innovation to Meet Surging Downstream Demand

“We need to be smart around our innovation. Replacing existing, but also ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. Bio-based PET products are a great way to scale very quickly and address lots of environmental issues. It should be ‘and’ not ‘or’.”

Timothy BauerGeneral Manager – Growth Ventures, FLUID QUIP TECHNOLOGIES

“I could argue that things that aren’t compostable should be labelled as not compostable. Do you label them optimistically knowing that there is possibility for composting, or do you wait for the correct infrastructure to be in place everywhere? It is so regionally based, which is the challenge for products with global reach,” – Leah FordSenior Global Marketing and Communications ManagerNATUREWORKS, answering an audience question about the issue of contaminated waste disposal streams.

“Government and public trust has been lost in plastic. Because plastic is inexpensive, it has been deemed invaluable and therefore is thrown away as waste. The system has to accommodate the complexity of our material landscape. It doesn’t matter if a material is recyclable, biodegradable or reusable if it is not recycled, composted or reused. We have to look at the true end of life, rather than what is possible”

Michael ShaverDirector of Sustainable Materials Innovation Hub, UNIVERSITY OF MANCHESTER

Paul MorganHead of Commercial Services, GREATER MANCHESTER COMBINED AUTHORITY, flagged unintended consequences of the plastic tax as “supermarkets are replacing (perfectly recyclable) plastic milk bottles with cartons that are less widely recycled.”

Achieving Consistency & Alignment Across Industry Legislation & Metrics

Financing Innovation: Investment, Equity, and the Road to Commercialisation

“Its not just a sales pitch, it is a trust pitch. You should avoid fake news, as it will destroy trust. If trust is gone, then the investor is gone.”

Michael BrandkampFounder and General Partner, EUROPEAN CIRCULAR BIOECONOMY FUND (ECBF)

“Entrepreneurs should be able to think wider than their own world, taking into account macro-economic issues (Covid, Climate, Conflict) that will impact the market.”

Katrin BurtManaging Partner, GROSVENOR FOOD & AGTECH

“An understanding of what is going to take for their customers to actually adopt this product. If we can see solutions that don’t require the customer to build a new factory or assembly line, that is much better – as little change to behaviour as possible.”


“Who chooses, who loses, who profits, who pays?”


“Sustainability is now discussed all the way through the supply chain, the lag is that many of these solutions are disruptive. It means others in the market get very defensive of their existing products, but this is starting to change.”

John WilliamsChief Technical Officer, AQUAPAK POLYMERS

“With the dawn of ecommerce, packaging has become very valuable to brands, on unboxing, there is a visceral reaction when the packaging is not aligned with the brand.”

Gavin McIntyre, CCO | Co-Founder, ECOVATIVE DESIGN

“Packaging is pleasure.”

Catherine Roggero-Lovisi, President & COO, MODERN MEADOW

Enhancing Performance: Material Innovation Disrupting Product Design

Digitalisation: Intelligent Packaging, Blockchain, Traceability and Sortation

“The point of digitalisation is to collect data that is actionable across the value chain. Using that data and sharing that data to foster collaboration and optimise the acceleration of systems everywhere.”

Joshua Young, Circular Economy Lead, PRAGMATIC

“When we look at track and trace along the supply chain, its not just about cost saving, it is about creating trust and transparency. If we are able to calculate our carbon footprint based on actual data rather than industry average data it gives a truer picture for all stakeholders.”

Noam Assael, Director of Business Ventures, AVERY DENNISON LABEL & GRAPHIC MATERIALS

“People think there is one single solution, one single change that will solve the problem. That is not the case – we have to create systemic change and that requires many stakeholders to be involved from the whole value chain. From the moment we are researching materials, through to design and eventually recycling and end of life. Its about a holistic view, collaboration and partnerships.”

Ana Gascon, World Without Waste Director, COCA COLA EUROPE

“Canopy works with the marketplace because brands are capable of moving much more quickly to change systems, and then the regulators tend to follow that change. Hope for behavioural change on an individual (consumer) level is naïve, decisions are made at C-Suite levels and then regulators move with it.”

Valerie LangerFibre Solutions Strategist, CANOPY


The Systemic Change Needed to Turn the Tide on Plastic Waste

Marine-Safe Degradation: Material Innovation Tackling Slow Degradation and Microplastics

“My message at this stage is to not get bogged down in the conflicting agendas of local, national, regional government legislation – these are all useful things that move us forward but actually harmonisation will come and that’s what we should be planning for – 2030 and beyond.”

Simon Hombersley, CEO, XAMPLA

“How can we reap the benefits of natural polymers? They are typically compostable, and composting has great benefits. We can divert waste from landfill, create healthy soil, create healthier recycling schemes, but that only happens if natural polymers go into the right applications and if there are standards that support natural polymers: prioritising responsible sourcing, percentage of bio-based content, non-toxicity, and then end of life – home or industrial composting as well as marine safety.”

Julia Marsh, Co-Founder & CEO, SWAY

Who Joined Us?

Here are just some of the global players and industry leaders who joined us at the Rethinking Materials Summit on May 4-5:

The platform is still open for networking and registrations for one month (until June 5).

Join us next time!

Join us next time at Rethinking Materials in London, May 16-17, 2023.

Get in touch if you would like to help shape the content and be involved as a speaker, partner or exhibitor.

Contact Rachel Myall, Senior Business Development Manager, Rethinking Materials