Ryan Cooper

Ryan Cooper

Ryan Cooper

Speaker | Rubicon

Lexington, KY | ryan.cooper@rubicon.com

Ryan Cooper is the VP of Circular Economy Solutions at Rubicon, a software platform that provides smart waste and recycling solutions for businesses and governments worldwide. Prior to designing, implementing, and managing thousands of organics recycling programs at Rubicon, Ryan helped develop composting programs for businesses and municipalities at the Sustainable Packaging Coalition. Ryan received his Master of Science in Regenerative Studies at Cal Poly Pomona, where his thesis focused on municipal composting and anaerobic digestion programs. Ryan is on the Board of Directors of the US Composting Council and is a certified permaculture designer and teacher.

Session Code: 6B

Track: Circular Economy

Session Name: Difficult and Unusual Feedstocks

Session Time: Thursday, February 8, 2:00 – 3:30 PM

Presentation Title: Shelf to Soil: Compost solutions and innovations for grocery stores

Presentation Description: Diverse material streams. Complex logistics. Unforgiving delivery schedules. The unique characteristics of grocery stores can make cost-effective organics recycling challenging.

From flour to flowers, the range of potentially recyclable organics across grocery aisles is vast, entailing a level of recycling customization by department. And while contamination and staff engagement are common challenges for any sustainability-minded enterprise, developing an approach for depackaging and backhauling are particular hurdles for grocery stores looking to improve their landfill diversion.

Nonetheless, household name food distributors from Trader Joes to Wegmans to Walmart—and swaths of smaller, local, family-run grocers as well—have ambitious sustainability goals. Supported by emerging depackaging technologies, these businesses are tapping into the potential of composting to improve their diversion metrics. As scale builds, so too do the opportunities for grocery stores and composters to codevelop solutions for tricky materials, hauling, and infrastructure development.

In this session, Ryan Cooper, VP of Circular Economy Solutions, Rubicon, will explore the ways in which food distributors and composters are managing the nuances of grocery stores through technology, innovation, and collaboration, reaping promising results that benefit the bottom line and the environment.