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Welcome to RIPA’s newsletter  “RIPA in the News”.  This electronic format enables the association to provide you with timely information about the industry and the association’s activities. 

Paul Rankin, President      C.L. Pettit, Technical Director
Rick Schweitzer, Counsel      Bonnie Cunningham, Meetings & Events


Table of Contents

  • Message from the Chair
  • RIPA Annual Conference 2023
  • Hershson Awards at Conference
  • Eric Bernath Elected Chair
  • RIPA Welcomes New Members
  • ICCR International Conference
  • California Sustainability  Law

Save the Dates

RIPA 2024 Spring Technical Conference
May 5 - 7, 2024  Newport, Rhode Island

RIPA Fall Annual Conference & Supplier Expo
Dates and Location TBA


       Chair’s Message 

               -  Tim O'Bryan

WOW! Two years have passed by so quickly! I can hardly believe that my term as association Chair is nearly over.  It has been an absolute pleasure working with Paul, CL, Rick, Bonnie and Duke, and I have learned so much from each of them - lessons that will guide me the rest of my life.
Looking back over the last two years, I am amazed at how much we have accomplished in such a short time. In addition to cultivating and growing some great friendships, the highlights include:
  • The 10/8/10 steel drum debate was successfully resolved after nearly two full years of negotiation with DOT.  In the end, RIPA and DOT agreed on a plan that ensures members can recondition both open head and tight head 10/8/10 steel drums.
  • RIPA finally obtained authorization to ship RCRA empty IBCs without having to placard trucks, use DOT shipping papers or hazmat endorsed drivers. It may surprise some to learn that this issue has been on RIPA’s “to-do” list for more than a decade!  Special thanks go to FDS for taking the lead and getting the first Special Permit, thereby enabling the rest of us to obtain “party-to” status.
  • We were able to convince Region V EPA to allow RIPA to take the lead in testing for VOC emissions.  Hopefully, we’ll see this project come to an end in 2024.
  • I was honored to attend two ICCR Board meetings and the International Conference in Europe.  Getting to know one’s colleagues from other parts of the world is one of the best things that you can do both for yourself and for your business.
  • The EPA “Drum Reconditioners Damages Case Report” and Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking:
    • Following months of intense work, RIPA, working in conjunction outside RCRA counsel Duke McCall, has submitted to EPA comprehensive comments that we hope will convince the Agency to pull back from issuing new regulatory requirements affecting our businesses.
So, as we enter the holiday season and my tenure as Chair comes to a close, I hope that our new officers, Eric Bernath, David Levine and Mike Stephen, enjoy their time as association leaders as much as I have these past two years.  I believe strongly that they are more than ready to guide this association to new levels of success in 2024 and beyond. 
Happy Holidays!
82nd Annual Conference a Smashing Success
More than 110 RIPA members gathered in St. Louis for the association’s 82nd Annual Conference.  The grand Four Seasons Hotel was an ideal location for the event, offering guests stunning views of the Mississippi River, the St. Louis Arch and the revitalized downtown.
The event was co-located with colleagues from the Industrial Packaging Alliance of North America (IPANA) who held two days of meetings earlier in the week.  For RIPA members, the conference opened officially on Wednesday evening with the Welcome Reception.  Supplier Members were the stars of the show, with 13 companies exhibiting their products.  The reception room was packed, and everyone enjoyed the opportunity to greet old friends and meet new members of the association.

RIPA's Supplier Members met in their own session to discuss issues including making the RIPA website more "mobile-friendly" and possibly adding sponsorship events or products to the conferences.   

Thursday morning’s joint RIPA/IPANA education session featured four outstanding speakers covering a range of fascinating topics from the economy to potential uses of artificial intelligence in manufacturing settings.  RIPA Chair Tim O’Bryan and IPANA Chair Kevin Kling welcomed members and committed the two organizations to future co-located annual conferences.
Mark Thimons, Vice President – Sustainability, American Iron and Steel Institute, talked about industry efforts to make steel a less carbon intensive product.  He noted that users of steel products are extremely interested in lowering carbon emissions themselves and are now working with steel producers to lower total carbon emissions associated with steel production.   
Wells Fargo Senior Global Market Strategist Scott Wren gave a fast-paced, information-packed overview of the economy – sluggish - and made several predictions about the likelihood of a deep recession – slim – or an economic slowdown in the second quarter of 2024 – likely.
“Artificial intelligence is going to have an enormous and highly positive impact on the manufacturing sector in the next two years,” says Jeff Puma, Content Director, National Association of Manufacturers.  Puma is already seeing AI being used to operate multiple robots handling complicated tasks that would have been impossible just a year or two ago.  He also believes AI will help many manufacturers, including small businesses, address worker shortage issues because AI assisted robots will be able to assume many tasks done by human workers today, at a very reasonable price.
Liz Tate, Associate Partner, Dentons Global Advisors, gave an informative talk titled “Scope 3 Emissions for Beginners.”  Scope 3 emissions are carbon emission from companies that supply goods and services to other firms, such as industrial container manufacturers and reconditioners.  Tate said that container producers can expect to “get a call” from Fortune 1000 companies that use their products in the next year.  These customers are going to want to know the total amount of greenhouse gas emissions each of their suppliers emit annually, so that they can comply with federally mandated carbon emission reporting rules.  “I urge every company in this room to begin preparing now for that call,” she said.

During RIPA’s Annual Meeting in the afternoon, the Board surprised outgoing RIPA Chairman Tim O’Bryan with a painting showing many of the cities and countries he has traveled to in his years with the association.  His long-time friend Mike Stephen presented the award to Tim.  Upon receiving the award, O’Bryan said, “I am truly honored to have been given an opportunity to serve as your Chairman these past two years.  I have learned so much and had a lot of fun along the way.  I thank all the members of this great organization, my fellow Board members and officers and, of course, our great staff.”
Hershson Awards Go To Robinson and Walker       

In a first ever dual award ceremony, the Morris Hershson Award of Excellence was given to two very worthy recipients at the recent RIPA Annual Conference - Kay Robinson and Spencer Walker.  The dual-award evening came about because Mr. Walker, who won the award several years ago, was unable to receive it, first because of the pandemic and then due to Hurricane Ian.
The evening got off to a great start with a reception in the lobby of the Four Seasons Hotel.  The two honorees had family and friends with them, and everyone was in a festive mood.
Spencer’s close friend Barry Wingard presented the Award to him following remarks about his personal and professional background.  Walker spent decades in the industry both as a reconditioner and a new drum producer.  His technical skills were legendary, but most people remember him for his willingness to share his knowledge with his colleagues.  “The best part about RIPA is the people,” said Walker.  “Over the years, both Melony and I made lots of friends in this industry, and we enjoy their company to this day.”
“Kay Robinson has combined her understanding of how complex environmental and operational issues intersect with regulatory compliance requirements and applied it to key issues affecting this industry over the years,” said Mike Chorpash in his introductory remarks.  “She has been an integral part RIPA efforts to combat nearly every major environmental issue our industry has faced over the years – her contributions to this industry are second to none, he concluded.”  
When accepting the award, Robinson spoke about how proud she is to have been part of several “great teams” over the years.  She singled-out Elliot Pearlman and credited him with exceptional vision and, importantly, “…a unique ability to make those around him better at their jobs.”  She thanked her current team at Centurion, including Mike Chorpash and John Smyth, for all they have done to help her advance professionally over the years.  “But the best part,” said Robinson, “is that because of my team, our work experience always includes a lot of fun.”
Eric Bernath Elected RIPA Chair

David Levine and Mike Stephen Round out the Officers' Slate

The Board of Directors has elected Eric Bernath, Advance Drum Service, Inc., as incoming Chair of the Reusable Industrial Packaging Association.  Eric is Chief Operating Officer of ADS where he works alongside several family members in the Mableton, GA company.  Eric has been active in the association for many years, most recently serving as Vice Chair.  His two-year term begins on January 1, 2023.
The new officers serving alongside Eric will be David Levine, Ted Levine Drum Co., and Mike Stephen, B. Stephen Cooperage, Inc. as Vice Chair and Treasurer, respectively.
Outgoing Chair Tim O’Bryan says, “Eric Bernath is a great choice to be our organization’s next Chair.  He is a lawyer, an operator of a successful, multi-generational family business and highly respected by all members of the association.” 
According to RIPA President Paul Rankin, “Eric, David and Mike are going to be a great team and I am really looking forward to working with them.  They are taking the reins of the association in the middle of two tough regulatory battles with EPA concerning VOC emissions and the EPA empty drum ANPRM.  I believe these are the right people for these jobs, at the right time.”
In addition to his day job at Advance Drum, Eric serves on the board and is a valued volunteer at the Shepherd Center for rehabilitation.  Several years ago, he suffered a traumatic spinal cord injury and, following a lengthy hospital stay, he rehabilitated at Shepherd.  While there he said, “I decided to use my energy on important things, like family, friends, rehabilitation, work, and volunteering."
RIPA is lucky to have a talented individual like Eric leading the association forward.

RIPA Welcomes New Members

New Reconditioner Members

Coastal Container Services
892 County Road 281
Alvin, TX  77511
Mr. Bryan Wallace, Managing Partner
Superior Tote Solutions
401 North Main Street
Summitville, IN  46070
Mr. Shawn McGuire, President


New Supplier Members

TerreMax  / Greenleaf   Liquid Handling Products
9490 N. Baldwin Street
Fontanet, IN  47851
Mr. Matt Wagner, Natl Accounts Mgr
Scrap Management, Inc.
10612-D Providence Road
Charlotte, NC  28227
Mr. Igor Beylin


ICCR International Conference Hits a Home Run
The 2023 International Conference on Industrial Packaging – the first such conference in five years - was by all measures a smashing success.
More than 180 persons representing industrial packaging reconditioners and manufacturers from 23 nations came together in the Medieval town of Ghent, Belgium to learn about important global and national issues facing the industry and celebrate the first chance since the pandemic to gather.
Smiles, handshakes and fist-pumps were seen everywhere on the first full day of the Conference, which featured a tour of three nearby reconditioning, manufacturing and machinery plants.  Visitors were warmly welcomed at Merco Machines, which produces drum manufacturing and reconditioning machinery for its global customers.  Everyone was thrilled that company founder Mr. Marc Mertens was on hand to help welcome guests to the newly expanded campus.  Separate tours were hosted by Greif at its wonderful steel and plastic drum manufacturing site in Lier, Belgium as well as the superb DrumDrum reconditioning plant in Rumbeke, Belgium. 

California’s New Sustainability Laws – They’re Coming to Get You!

California has passed new climate disclosure bills that will impact all companies doing business in the state and their supply chains.
The “Climate Corporate Data Accountability Act” (CCDAA) requires public and private companies with annual revenues greater than $1 billion doing business in California (even if they are not headquartered there) to report their contribution to climate change including their full greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, including those of their suppliers, i.e. Scope 3 emissions. Container manufacturers and reconditioners are defined as Scope 3 emitters.
The “Climate-Related Financial Risk Act” (CRFRA), passed as a companion bill to the CCDAA, requires companies with revenue of greater than $500 million to disclose their climate-related financial risks along with measures they are taking to reduce and adapt to the risks. It is the first mandatory climate-related risk disclosure law to go into effect in the US.
In the US, many large corporations are already measuring and reporting emissions from their own operations, but the new CA laws will force companies with over $1 billion in revenues to also account for the emissions produced along their value chain (Scope 3 emissions).
Disclosure obligations would begin for Scope 1 and 2 emissions in 2026 and will require third-party verification.   Disclosure obligations begin for Scope 3 emissions will start in 2027, with measurement and reporting to be performed according to more stringent reporting verification standards.   

Companies with an annual revenue of more than $500 million doing business in California will be required to produce a climate-related financial risk report every other year starting in 2026. This report will have to be available to the public on the organization’s website.  It will disclose the company’s climate-related financial risk as determined under a specified set of criteria. 
Although it is unlikely that container suppliers and reconditioners will be asked by their large customers to take part in these climate risk disclosure systems for several years, the time to start preparing is not far down the road.
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Contact RIPA at 301-577-3786  or

Mississippi River at Dawn
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