Packaging News
Published April 14, 2020

Mandy Craig
Global Head of Marketing and Sustainability
Accredo Packaging Inc.

Mandy Craig graduated from Purdue University with a bachelor’s degree in management and Harvard Business School with an MBA. She said she did not plan on working in the plastics industry, “but a lucky series of events landed me in the Dow packaging business in Houston.”

“I had interned in the housing and construction business, and didn’t really enjoy my experience. My mentor appreciated my experience in food manufacturing and thought that packaging could be a good fit for me,” she said. “I was very drawn to the sustainability aspects of food packaging, and when I had the chance to head up a marketing and sustainability department, I jumped at it.”

She previously worked at General Mills in finance with various positions of responsibility, from operations and merchandising to innovation.

At Dow, she was the senior marketing manager for $1.1 billion in business leading all of rigid packaging for North America and caps and closures worldwide. She was the Dow Pinnacle award winner for marketing excellence.

Craig joined flexible packaging maker Accredo Packaging Inc. of Sugar Land, Texas, as the head of marketing and sustainability in 2019, she said, where she works on marketing and sustainability initiatives “globally helping brand owners convert to more sustainable packaging solutions.”

Craig attends industry events such as Global Pouch Forum, SPC Impact, Pack Expo and Plastics News’ Women Breaking the Mold.

Plastics News: What is your current challenge at work?

Craig: Working in sustainability in such a complicated regulatory environment can be very challenging but also exciting. People look to me to help them choose the most sustainable packaging solutions for their products. Keeping up on all of the exciting technologies available, making sure that I understand all of the latest legislation and synthesizing that information so it is easily understandable is a constant battle. However, the dynamism of this industry is also incredibly exciting and rewarding and puts me in a unique position to make an impact.

Q: Who is your mentor or someone you look up to?

Craig: Growing up in Oregon, I was always a fan of [Olympian] Steve Prefontaine. His grit and determination were unparalleled and he always performed best when he was under intense pressure. He reminds me to elevate my game when things get tough and that life can be short so you have to live it to the fullest.

Q: If you were CEO of a company, what would you do first?

Craig: At Accredo, sustainability is at our core. We are the only LEED Silver-certified flexible packaging company in North America using 100 percent wind energy to power our facility. We were the first to commercialize a compostable pouch and have industry-leading recyclable pouch technologies. If I were a CEO at a packaging company, I would replicate this and ensure that sustainability is at the core of what I do even before consumers and customers may have that expectation.

Q: One of our criteria for Rising Stars is whether they are active in plastics industry, manufacturing or their community. How are you involved?

Craig: I am the chairman of the board for the Wells International Foundation, a nonprofit here in Houston that focuses on child literacy and the arts. I’m extremely passionate about making sure that kids have the right tools to learn how to read, including having books at home. Studies show that if a child graduates elementary school without the ability to read, they are much more likely to drop out of high school. Helping to get books into the hands of kids who don’t have access to reading materials at home really helps me to make a difference. I believe that volunteering is not a selfless act because you get much more out of it than you give.

By The Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS)
Published Friday, February 14, 2020

These Awards Celebrate Innovations Driving Environmental Advantages in the Plastics Industry

2020 Re|Focus Award for Sustainability Innovation

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 14, 2020 —The Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS) today announced the winners of the annual Re|focus Sustainability Innovation Awards. The three winners exemplify the best submissions in the categories of materials, design and end-of-life innovations, all of which were assessed by a judging panel of experts in recycling and sustainability from members of PLASTICS. The winners include:


  • Vartega for its reclaimed and recycled carbon fiber that enables the diversion of thousands of tons of carbon fiber from the landfill. Vartega’s recycled fibers are used in a broad range of applications including nonwoven fabrics, thermoplastic pellets, and 3D printing filaments. Vartega’s partners include: Ford, Dow, Michelman, Techmer PM, Michigan State University, IACMI-The Composites Institute, Colorado School of Mines, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of Tennessee.


  • Accredo Packaging for its AccredoFlex® RP™ Gen2, an all-Polyethylene fully-recyclable stand-up pouch that can be utilized for a variety of products. These pouches can be made using up to 25% bio-based resin, and are fully converted into pouches using wind or solar energy.


  • Eastman for its Carbon Renewal Technology (CRT), which breaks down waste plastics into molecular building blocks like carbon, oxygen and hydrogen and turns those building blocks into new, virgin-quality plastics.

These winning entries were chosen out of 35 innovations submitted.

“The 2020 Re|focus Sustainability Innovation Awards drew an exceptionally competitive field of entries this year,” said PLASTICS Director of Sustainability Ashley Hood-Morley. “Each winning innovation has the potential to be a game-changer when it comes to eliminating waste in plastics manufacturing, and eliminating waste, period. There are countless ways in which this industry is working to solve our planet’s environmental challenges. We congratulate Eastman, Accredo and Vartega for their commitment to sustainability, and look forward to seeing the impact their innovations will undoubtedly have on our industry and our environment.”

In addition to these three award categories, the Leadership in Innovation Award – determined by a judging panel – and a People’s Choice Award – determined by Re|focus attendees – will be announced at the Re|focus Sustainability & Recycling Summit that will take place from May 18-20 at the Duke Energy Convention Center in Cincinnati, Ohio.

To learn more about the awards visit: To see all submissions visit:

Contact: Elleni Almandrez

About Plastics Industry Association

The Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS), formerly SPI, is the only organization that supports the entire plastics supply chain, representing nearly one million workers in the $451 billion U.S. industry. Since 1937, PLASTICS has been working to make its members and the industry more globally competitive while advancing recycling and sustainability. To learn more about PLASTICS’ education initiatives, industry-leading insights and events, networking opportunities and policy advocacy, and North America’s largest plastics trade show, NPE: The Plastics Show, visit Connect with PLASTICS on TwitterFacebookLinkedIn and Instagram.

By Katherine Feser – Houston Chronicle
Published 11:59 am CDT, Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Accredo Packaging will expand its Sugar Land campus at 12682 Cardinal Meadow Drive by more than 200,000 square feet of warehouse and manufacturing space. KDW, a Houston-based design/build firm, is handling the project.

Accredo Packaging, a supplier of plastic film for the prepackaged food and consumer products markets, will expand its Sugar Land headquarters by nearly 60 percent. The expansion will bring 175 new jobs to the campus by next year.

The company, which opened the 32-acre campus at 12682 Cardinal Meadow Drive in 2009, has hired Houston-based design/build firm KDW to build more than 200,000 square feet of warehouse and manufacturing space for the latest expansion.

When complete in 2019, the facility will total nearly 550,000 square feet. A 175,000-square-foot expansion was completed 5 years ago.

“With the quality of the local work force in the area and proximity to major plastic resin suppliers, it made sense to expand our existing facility rather than invest in another part of the country,” Accredo executive vice president Rex Varn said in an announcement.

The expansion will enable the company to boost annual production of flexible film from 1.5 billion feet to 2 billion feet. Its products are used in snack foods, confectionery items, frozen foods and pet treats, paper towels and shrink wrap in bottled-water packaging.

Accredo will be positioned to meet a growing demand for flexible packaging, which extends the shelf life of products and costs less than rigid packaging such as glass bottles and cans, Varn said.

With the expansion, Accredo North America will employ about 525 workers.

“This expansion project is an example of strong development activity the city of Sugar Land is experiencing in all sectors, including industrial, commercial, and residential,” Mayor Joe Zimmerman said in the statement.

“We’ve achieved a sustainable, strong economy through an aggressive, focused economic development program that creates opportunities for new business investment and jobs,” Zimmerman said.

Accredo Packaging is part of the API group of companies, a family-owned and operated enterprise established in 1986.

November 29, 2017

Ground Breaking Southeast Asia
Related entity identifies major growth opportunities in Southeast Asia in the value-added flexible packaging market.

Privately-owned, Texas-based Accredo Packaging, Inc., a fully integrated flexible packaging manufacturer primarily supplying the Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) markets in North America, is pleased to recognize the ground breaking of an affiliate plant in Bình Dương Province, outside Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The groundbreaking ceremony for Accredo Asia Co. Ltd., d/b/a Accredo Asia Packaging, took place on September 21st, 2017, and featured company founders, local government and business leaders, and the general contractor.

Accredo Packaging Inc. and Accredo Asia Packaging are part of the API Group of Companies, a leader in the flexible packaging industry. The API Group was founded over thirty years ago in 1986.

Executive Vice President of Accredo Packaging, Inc., Rex Varn, said that “A growing number of multinational CPG corporations have located their manufacturing base in Southeast Asia and source their packaging needs locally. Through its investment in cutting-edge technology, Accredo Asia is well positioned to participate in the incredible ongoing growth of the flexible packaging industry in Southeast Asia. Our world-class converting capabilities incorporate all aspects of packaging production, from design and materials R&D to extrusion, printing, lamination and pouch manufacturing.”

Vietnam is viewed as an ideal location in view of its burgeoning economy and highly skilled labor force, and is considered favorably located to service supply-chain routes in and around Southeast Asia.

With its new MDO blown film technologies, Accredo Asia will be equipped to produce and supply technologically advanced flexible packaging for the pre-packaged and consumer product markets in the region.

Accredo Asia’s offerings will include not only flexible packaging products but also specialized products such as breathable films for end uses such as diapers, feminine hygiene products, drapes and gowns for medical use, as well as industrial protective apparel and other applications. “Accredo Asia’s production lines will incorporate the latest blown film extrusion technologies coupled with inline stretching [MDO] capabilities”, said Varn. Branded AccredoFlex® Breathe-Lite™, these breathable films provide lower weight per square foot, lower raw material usage, and improved mechanical properties over cast film extrusion.

Accredo Asia will differentiate itself not only with state-of-the-art manufacturing technology, but also through product quality and customer service, a critical component to the company’s underlying success in the United States.
Phase 1 construction of the 236,000 ft.2 Accredo Asia plant, designed for compliance with LEED® standards, is targeted to be complete Q2-2018, with full plant commercialization in Q4-2018.

About Accredo Packaging, Inc.
LEED Silver certified Accredo Packaging, Inc. is a fully integrated converting company producing flexible packaging with an emphasis on sustainability, with best in class production processes, primarily targeting the Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) markets in North America. A Certified Minority Business Enterprise, Accredo utilizes electricity generated via wind power. It attributes its growing success to investment in leading edge technologies, including state-of-the-art extrusion, HD flexographic printing, adhesive lamination, pouch and bag making in terms of reduced environmental impact, high quality, and world-class productivity.

“A few days into Tropical Storm Harvey and all has gone as expected,” announced Rex Varn, Executive Vice President of Accredo Packaging. “Our state-of-the-art manufacturing facility was built to withstand the hurricane force winds. From a plant standpoint there has been virtually no damage and we remained operational, although on a limited scale, throughout the entire event.”
The deadly Tropical Storm Harvey continues to ravage much of Houston and surrounding areas. Heavy rain is forecasted to continue and thousands of citizens have been displaced.

Contingency plans have been implemented and the factory is operational although manufacturing has been scaled back to facilitate production people to take care of their own immediate personal needs. “The staff has been remarkable,” says Varn. “Those who are able to safely get to the plant have demonstrated their commitment to ensure our customers’ needs are met”. However, Varn advocates employees “Listen to local authorities in their jurisdiction and follow the warnings and direction from them. We do not want employees putting themselves in harm’s way navigating flooded areas.”

Accredo Fully Operational after Harvey

The bigger issue now remains trucking. With many access roads to the plant temporarily closed as a result of flooding, dispatches have slowed. “Some orders will be impacted, but I don’t expect delays to be significant,” says Varn. “We hope to begin dispatching goods hopefully as soon as tomorrow, Thursday, August 31st, latest.”

Customers seeking updated information on service availability should call their respective Customer Services Representatives. Updates on service availability will be provided periodically as systems are remediated.

June 15, 2016

First-of-its-Kind RecycleReady™ Technology Helps Create Recyclable Flexible Stand-Up Pouches Consumers Demand; Can Incorporate Barrier Film Technology

MIDLAND, Mich.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Dow Chemical Company (NYSE: DOW) is introducing a new member of the recently launched RecycleReady™ Technology, which enables the recyclability of polyethylene-based barrier packaging as part of existing grocery store drop-off recycling programs.

Created through collaboration with the Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC) and other industry members, Dow’s RecycleReady™ Technology helps converters create barrier pouches that answer consumer demand for more recyclable packaging options. The new advanced barrier RecycleReady Technology is a major advancement that enables the recycling of packaging for products like granola and nuts, which was not possible before in flexible packaging.

“Working together with the Sustainable Packaging Coalition and our value chain collaborators was crucial to achieving our breakthrough RecycleReady Technology, which incorporates RETAIN™ polymer modifiers, a key enabler for the recyclability of the packages,” said Stacy Fields, North America director, Packaging Solutions for Dow Packaging and Specialty Plastics.

The stand-up pouch made with RETAIN™ polymer modifiers is the first package of its kind with barrier film that can be recycled in a polyethylene recycling stream. When combined with other polyethylene resins, the RETAIN™ compatibilizer offers a recyclable solution with enhanced barrier characteristics.

Before this innovation, flexible barrier packaging posed unique recycling challenges due to the variety of materials generally used as part of its makeup.

With the introduction of RecycleReady™ Technology, converters will now have the ability to produce recyclable packaging with ingredients that ensure barrier protection, along with stiffness, toughness and sealability of the package. These recyclable flexible pouches incorporate multiple layers, but use only polyethylene as the basic raw material.

RecycleReady™ Technology in North America has been approved by the SPC’s How2Recycle program to use the Store Drop-Off label. Plastic film, wrap, and bags carrying the Store Drop-Off label can be recycled at participating local retail and grocery stores.

“This technology is a breakthrough in packaging design for recyclability. It possesses the properties of a multi-layer pouch, but behaves like a pure polyethylene bag in the recycling stream. We are very excited,” said Kelly Cramer, Sustainable Packaging Coalition project manager.

The technology aims to divert packaging waste from landfill or incineration, increase post-consumer recycling yields and aid the creation of a circular economy for plastics packaging.

“RecycleReady Technology is a great example of how we can bring breakthrough chemistry and process technology together to meet the needs of converters, brand owners, retailers and consumers,” said Fields. “We’ll advance RecycleReady Technology capabilities through continued collaboration.”

In 2015, collaboration between Dow, the SPC and packaging converter Accredo Packaging produced the Seventh Generation brand’s first recyclable Dishwasher Pods packaging. The innovation was developed in response to customer comments that the product’s previous packaging was not recyclable.

“We are thrilled to be able offer this breakthrough barrier technology to our customers,” said Fields. “This has never been done before, and it will provide new options for brand owners and retailers to offer recyclable packaging for many products that consumers enjoy.”

Dow has a long track record of innovative technologies that help customers develop more sustainable, higher performing packaging that consistently exceeds expectations. As a founding member of the SPC, Dow is committed to sustainable innovation to meet consumer demand for more recyclable options. For more information, visit

Packaging Digest

Four winners earned a 2016 Trashies Award for their sustainability achievements in packaging.

Four winners earned a 2016 Trashies Award for their sustainability achievements in packaging.

Seventh Generation, McDonald’s, 3M and BillerudKorsnäs—it’s fitting on Earth Day 2016 to recognize the winners in the second annual Trashies Awards competition. These sustainable packaging visionaries received accolades April 11 during the opening reception of the SustPack 2016 conference, sponsored by the Sustainable Packaging Coalition, Smithers Pira and Packaging Digest.

The competition awards sustainable successes in five categories: Package; Partnership; Person; Process/Production Method; and Public Message/Service/Ad Campaign. This year, we have four winners and one honorable mention. There does not have to be a winner in each category, just recognition of an outstanding contribution to sustainable packaging. Points were awarded based on sustainable merit; technical merit; supporting materials; and contribution to the industry. One point was also possible for judge’s discretion.

Judges again this year were Steve Mahler, design manager and sustainable package development manager at Caraustar Industries (who also designed and hand-makes each award); Kim Carswell, senior manager, packaging, Target; Victor Bell, president, Environmental Packaging Intl.; Liz Shoch, assistant director, Sustainable Packaging Coalition; and me, Lisa Pierce, executive editor of Packaging Digest.

Accepting Awards: Derrick Lawrence (second from left), director of packaging development, Seventh Generation; Malcolm Cohn (third from left), director of sustainability, Accredo Packaging; and Stacy Fields (second from right), North American director, Dow Chemical

Winner: Seventh Generation / Accredo Packaging / Dow Chemical
Category: Partnership

Accepting Awards: Derrick Lawrence (second from left), director of packaging development, Seventh Generation; Malcolm Cohn (third from left), director of sustainability, Accredo Packaging; and Stacy Fields (second from right), North American director, Dow Chemical [photographed along with Jon Pyper (far left), North American director of sustainability, Dow; Lamy Chopin (third from right), product development leader, Dow; and Han Zhang (far right), sustainability and advocacy manager, Packaging & Specialty Plastics, Dow]

With zero waste a target by 2020, Seventh Generation partnered with Accredo and Dow to develop a new package for its dishwasher detergent pods. Using existing pouch manufacturing technology, resin and RecycleReady technology from Dow, Accredo produced a multi-layer polyethylene pouch that is 100% recyclable. An added bonus is the use of the How2Recycle logo used in the graphics to help consumers recycle it properly.

Plastics Technology

There are three things constant in the world: death, taxes and the…stand-up pouch. The stand-up pouch continues to grow in popularity showcasing that it does not yet have an expiration date, but it’s not all good news—issues with recyclability have been a consistent challenge.

Hoping to jump-start a new trend in the pouch market is Dow Chemical Co., Midland, Mich., which has created a fully recyclable stand-up pouch. I recently talked with reps from Dow, as well as the brand Seventh Generation, Burlington, VT, and the converter Accredo Packaging, Sugar Land TX, on Seventh Generation’s first recyclable Dishwasher Pods packaging.

Derrick Lawrence, director of packaging development for Seventh Generation, said that the brand uses the pouch packaging format for its various products, but an issue is that the pouches are not recyclable. Consumers took note of this and asked the company to provide a recycling option.

Dow developed the resins for the recyclable polyethylene stand-up pouch. Stacy Fields, North American director of packaging solutions for Dow, said that the final package is still a multi-layer structure, but it’s all in the PE family. The result is a 100% recyclable package.

Lawrence said there was a “tremendous” amount of work done to to optimize the material to get it to a point where most consumers wouldn’t know the difference between the old pack structure and the new one. For instance, as PE structures are typically cloudier than PET, it was important to have clarity in the material.
The new packaging features SPC’s How2Recycle label, which encourages consumers to take flexible plastic bags, films and wraps to local grocery or retail stores for recycling. The pouches can be recycled at more than 18,000 store drop-off locations throughout North America, which is definitely positive news on the recycling front for pouches.
Seventh Generation Recycle Ready Stand-Up Pouch 72 dpi_0
“It’s great getting the recyclable portion out there and consumers want to participate, but the challenge is they don’t understand what can be recycled,” Lawrence said. “The How2Recycle label makes it very clear. With the same pack being launched in this recyclable structure with the How2Reccycle label…that’s huge. What in the past went to the landfill is now going to be recycled.”

“When you add in the growth of the pouch market, as well as the growth of pouches with multiple materials, it is going to result in more plastic packaging in the landfill if something doesn’t change,” said Malcolm Cohn, director of sustainability, Accredo Packaging. “We believe the all-PE stand-up is an industry changer.”

(Sugar Land, Texas) – The API Group of Companies (API) celebrates 30 years as a driving force in the highly competitive flexible packaging industry. The family owned and operated enterprise began in 1986 with the inception of its first entity, Advance Polybag, Inc., now a leading producer in the plastic bag industry.

Accredo Packaging, Inc., an internationally-recognized manufacturer offering state-of-the-art sustainable flexible packaging options, became part of the API Group of Companies when it was established in 2009.

Founder Hank D. Nguyen set out with a vision to utilize the latest manufacturing technologies coupled with innovative designs, including the adaption of new materials to enhance value and performance in its packaging offerings.  Over the course of the last 30 years, the API companies made that vision a reality, pioneering many new innovations including several industry firsts, including:

  • The first co-extruded Grocery Bag offered in the U.S.;
  • The proprietary Touch ‘N Go® Self-Opening Bag Dispensing System;
  • The first company globally to manufacture a zippered stand-up pouch made from components certified compostable in accordance with ASTM 6400 standards;
  • Pioneer of USDA approved renewably-sourced stand-up pouches;
  • Developer of highly renewably-sourced film for Towel & Tissue overwrap and CO₂LLATION® shrink bundling film;
  • The first reverse printed 2-ply recyclable PE laminated stand-up pouch, branded as AccredoFlex® RPTM;
  • Global leader in Expanded Color Gamut process printing technology.

“From humble beginnings, our companies have become a driving force in the industry with over 1,000 employees and, because of our philosophy of continued product evolution with a focus on sustainability, we are privileged to serve some of the most recognized companies in the world” says Hank Nguyen, Chairman & CEO.

Chinh Nguyen, President & COO, attributes API’s continuing success to its investment in leading edge technologies, including high-tech plant operations, a dedicated workforce, and careful attention to its customers’ needs.

The API Group of Companies is headquartered in Sugar Land, Texas, with manufacturing facilities across the U.S. as well as overseas, and continues to enjoy phenomenal growth.

For further information, contact Malcolm Cohn, Director of Sustainability at 713-580-4872, or see our websites:

Advance Polybag Homepage:
Accredo Packaging Homepage:

Flexible Packaging
Accredo Packaging sustainable packaging solutions

With a mission to manufacture and supply sustainable flexible packaging for the pre-packaged food and consumer products markets, Sugar Land, Texas-based Accredo Packaging is no stranger to viable, eco-friendly practices.

Since opening six years ago, Accredo has established itself as the largest purchaser of 100 percent wind generated energy in the U.S. flexible packaging market, the first company in the U.S. to extrude resin from renewable resources and the only flexible packaging company believed to be certified to LEED Silver certification standards.

Plus, as a vertically integrated company that supplies throughout North and Central America, Accredo is responsible for extruding and printing, laminating, pouch making, roll stocks, etc. all within its own facilities.

“We really are proud to be a newcomer on the block in this very competitive market against the companies that have been around for all these years,” says Malcom Cohn, director of sustainability at Accredo. “To break through to the customers has been difficult, and we believe that what has been able to get us across to these major brand owners is our sustainability story. Because of our belief in sustainability, and the way that the market is going for sustainability, it has opened up companies to meet with us and discuss these alternatives.”

The owners of Accredo came to the United States with a church group in 1975 after the Fall of Saigon, and they worked four jobs a day to provide for their families and fund their education, Cohn says. When plastic grocery bags began reaching new levels of popularity, they had an opportunity to build a factory in New Orleans to manufacture them.

However, anticipating that the market for grocery bags was likely to plateau, the owners eventually decided to also focus their efforts towards high-barrier flexible packaging.

“In a short span of time we have grown (from) no customers to a multi-million dollar company and (are) continuing to grow,” Cohn says. “We’ve made great strides, but there’s still a long way to go.”

The company offers four different sustainable product options: conventional, compostable renewable and recyclable. Most recently, Accredo partnered with Dow to create an all-PE recyclable standup pouch made from certified compostable components.

To create its products, the company uses 9-layer blown film lines with 3-layer and 5-layer extrusion capabilities, a stable of 10-color 67-inch-wide-web press, expanded color gamut process printing, an ink delivery system that facilitates up to 40 percent more productivity and more.

The Climate Change Conference and Sustainable Innovation Forum held last December in Paris drew government leaders, CEOs and senior executives, financiers and investors, and associations and industry experts from all over the world. For Accredo, which has already made sustainability a crucial part of its mission, these events and recent spotlight on sustainability puts the company in a position to continue to do what it does best: eco-friendly packaging solutions.

“You’ve got 130 countries or so participating in this climate change conference in Paris, and how we as a company participate in this program is we are able, through our offerings and our sustainable packaging product options, to offer packaging that takes into consideration the lowering of our (environmental) footprint,” Cohn says.

Moving forward, Accredo plans on expanding its offerings as well as its capabilities.

“(Accredo) was built with expansion in mind,” Cohn says. “Six years ago we started with two pieces of each equipment but now our factory is full. We’ve added extruders, printing presses and new pouch machines, and we are now at the point of actually planning and discussing our next production facility in the United States within two years. I think this has been as a result of our owners and the management and employees of our company being committed to achieving success within our mission.”