RCA 2023 Conference Speaker Session Announcement – Golden Treasure: A Discussion on Packaging Design

Join us for the highly anticipated 2023 RCA Circular Economy Conference, at the picturesque Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise from October 18 to 20. Immerse yourself in the theme, “There and Back Again: The Journey to Circularity,” inspired by the epic Lord of the Rings saga. Get ready for a transformative journey, featuring three days of captivating insights and engaging discussions on the circular economy. Each of our speaker sessions will offer a unique perspective on the circular economy.

Packaging represents a significant contributor to waste, and it is a prime focus of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) initiatives. The potential exists to minimize packaging waste and encourage its reuse for maximum environmental advantage. Encouragingly, pockets of successful initiatives are beginning to emerge.

Sponsored by Rehrig Pacific Company

Moderator: Karen Wirsig (Environmental Defence) 


  • Councillor Pete Fry (City of Vancouver/NZWC) – Reuse in Canada Landscape Scan: Understanding Opportunities to Advance Reuse
  • Tessa Vlaanderen (Dillon Consulting) – Reuse and Refill
  • Tracey Spack (ECCC) – P2 Approach for Plastic Food Packaging
  • Amélie Côté (Équiterre) – Solutions to reduce the amount of packaging used by Canadian food retailers

Full speaker bios for this session can be found below. Stay tuned for updates on speakers for our other sessions!

Secure your registration now and explore sponsorship options or host a tradeshow exhibit during the event. Visit www.conference.recycle.ab.ca for the program and more details. For any further inquiries, please contact the RCA at 403.843.6563 or email us at info@recycle.ab.ca.

Amélie Côté – Équiterre

Specialist and spokesperson for issues related to waste management and consumption at Équiterre, Amélie has over 10 years of experience in the field. Having worked in the associative, governmental and citizen participation sectors, she works to advance public policies related to source reduction, beverage container deposit-refund systems and access to repair. Amélie coordinated and co-authored the pan-Canadian studies « Solutions to reduce the amount of packaging used by Canadian food retailers » and « Working Towards Repairable Appliances and Electronics in Canada ».

Tracey Spack – Environment and Climate Change Canada

Dr. Tracey Spack has worked in the field of environment and health for the last 18 years, currently as the Director of the Plastics Regulatory Affairs Division where she is responsible for developing and implementing regulations to control and manage plastic waste and pollution, including the Single Use Plastic Prohibition Regulations published on June 22, 2022. She holds a doctorate in Medical Anthropology from the University of Alberta and has a Master’s Certificate in Public Management from the Sprott School of Business, Ottawa and in the Strategic Management of Regulatory and Enforcement Agencies from the Harvard Kennedy School, Cambridge.

Tessa Vlaanderen – Dillon Consulting

Tessa is an Associate and Circular Economy Lead at Dillon Consulting with over a decade of experience catalyzing circular economy growth. She has worked with public and private organizations in Canada, the United States and The Netherlands across industries, including consumer goods, utilities, oil & gas, chemicals, automotive and the built environment. Her expertise includes circular growth strategy and roadmapping, change leadership, value chain opportunity and impact assessments, and catalyzing systemic innovation leveraging policy, technology and stakeholder alignment.

Karen Wirsig – Environmental Defence Canada

Karen Wirsig is senior program manager for plastics at Environmental Defence Canada. She worked as a community and labour organizer and as a journalist before becoming a campaigner against plastic pollution. She’s an active transportation enthusiast and a long-time active member of her downtown Toronto housing co-operative.

Pete Fry – City of Vancouver / National Zero Waste Council

Pete Fry is a Vancouver City Councillor, elected in 2018 with the Green Party. With a keen interest in circular systems and creating a lighter footprint, Pete’s first foray into local governance was Vancouver’s long-defunct Dog Strategy Task force in 2006 where he unsuccessfully tried to promote more responsible disposal of pet waste. Today, he chairs the Health and Social Development Committee at the Union of BC Municipalities, and the nascent Reuse working group at the National Zero Waste Council, where he also serves as a director.

Pete lives in Vancouver’s East End with his wife of twenty five years, a dog and two cats and is still trying to promote more responsible disposal of pet waste.