Designing for the Circular Economy

The Future is Now: PSI CEO Joins TerraCycle® CEO to Present A Crash Course In Designing for the Circular Economy

Scott Cassel and Tom Szaky team up with innovators in sustainability on new book The Future of Packaging: From Linear to Circular

BOSTON, Mass. — Scott Cassel, the Product Stewardship Institute (PSI)’s Chief Executive Officer and Founder, joined forces with Tom Szaky, founder and CEO of groundbreaking waste solutions company TerraCycle, on the mission to eliminate waste. Available nationwide today, Szaky’s fourth book The Future of Packaging: From Linear to Circular (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2019) offers a roadmap out of the modern waste crisis through packaging design.

More than 50 million tons of packaging and paper products are disposed of in the U.S. each year, representing a missed opportunity to recover valuable resources. For over a decade, PSI has sought circular solutions by bringing stakeholders together to advance product stewardship for packaging, with a focus on producer responsibility. Cassel’s chapter in The Future of Packaging dives deeper into the rationale behind this approach and the benefits to be gained from holding brand owners responsible for reducing the impacts of their packaging choices.

“By sharing diverse perspectives from governments, brand owners, and waste management firms, this book powerfully transforms the issues we’ve avoided into ones we are motivated to tackle head-on,” says Scott Cassel. “My chapter calls for a paradigm shift in producer responsibility, placing waste and materials management in the hands of the producer as an asset, not a burden.”

Designed to be a primer on packaging design for the circular economy, The Future of Packaging integrates perspectives from Szaky and 15 innovators in sustainability -including government leaders, corporate risk takers and international waste management experts – to create a guide that can help everyone from a small startup to a large corporation move towards a future of innovation and growth with less waste.

“Acknowledging the tall order of changing course away from climate catastrophe means addressing it from several angles,” says author Tom Szaky. “I have had the privilege to co-author this book with the best minds in the global packaging movement-folks who have been championing this new frame of thinking for decades. Together, they provide the tools for anyone, consumer to corporation, interested in innovating upwards out of this mess and into abundance.”

Called “a crash course for designing for the circular economy” by Unilever CEO Paul Polman, The Future of Packaging contextualizes the historical and economic factors that spurred modern society’s “business as usual” preoccupation with disposability, explains the current state of manufacturing, recycling, and resource management, and inspires critical thinking about the true function of our packaging.

Topics include the evolution of plastic and recommendations and “watch-outs” for producing and consuming in the circular economy. For instance, biodegradable and bio-based plastics may not be as “green” or sustainable as marketed, black plastics are typically non-recyclable, and though lighter in weight, packaging such as pouches and cartons also take a toll on the planet. This book will empower champions for change and a more sustainable future.

To learn more about PSI’s work to advance producer responsibility for packaging and paper products, please visit

To learn more about TerraCycle and its mission to Eliminate the Idea of Waste, please visit

PSI and Terracycle are Plastic Pollution Coalition members.

Join our global Coalition.

0 responses to “Designing for the Circular Economy”

  1. William says:

    I almost signed up for Terracycle and was so excited to see it partnering with businesses I’ve had to abandon because of their poor packaging practices, like Arbonne and Wisp. But after thinking about it for a week now, I’ve decided not to sign up with Terracycle because
    1. They are putting a significant portion of the cost on the consumer instead of incentivizing businesses to find alternatives to plastic.
    2. The number of people who will actually sign up for this will be less than a drop in the bucket considering the global reach of the plastics crisis.
    3. The focus needs to be on stopping production of plastic. Instead, Terracycle incentivizes production as usual for the plastic industry and puts the resolution on the backs of consumers.
    I’m suspicious that Terracycle could be in collusion with the plastic industry who duped us all for decades into thinking recycling was working. Plastic producers are desperate to save their image and push their products instead of conducting responsible research and embracing green alternatives.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


To Stop Plastic Pollution