Taylor Price, 29
Manager of Global Sustainability, AptarGroup Inc.
Taylor Price said she wanted to work in the "fast-paced, essential manufacturing industry to make an impact on something that affects people across the globe." When she began working as an intern for specialty packaging injection molder AptarGroup Inc. in 2017, she was able to see the plastics industry for the first time.
"With plastics manufacturing business in the food, beverage, pharmaceutical, cosmetic and household care categories, my work as an intern at Aptar introduced me to a wide array of the industry," said Price, who is now manager of global sustainability for Aptar in Lincolnton, N.C.
Price has a bachelor's degree in environmental studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a master's degree in environmental management from Duke University.
Sustainability is integral to the work Price has completed in the industry over the last four years. Her philosophy is that 100 percent of plastic packaging should be recycled or reused.
"My work at Aptar includes robust strategy setting, sustainability reporting, communication and supplier engagement. I drive efforts within five strategic sustainability pillars and communicate results with both internal and external stakeholders with a focus on current and prospective Aptar customers, investors, employees and business leadership," she said.
"I also work to advocate for a circular economy to address social and environmental imperatives that create purpose and shared societal value and help to improve environmental eco-efficiencies at Aptar sites globally through renewable energy, landfill-free initiatives and sustainable sourcing," Price added.
Price said her current challenge at Aptar is how to make the industry more sustainable and possibly more circular, since packaging and plastics sustainability is a big focus for companies and consumers.
"Particularly, how can companies in the industry continue to bring innovative solutions to the table without sacrificing the environment," she said. "The landscape is always changing, but there are a lot of technologies, solutions and collaborative groups emerging that can help tackle these big global challenges."
Price is involved with the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation, where she is active on the sustainability council; Climate Reality Project; and Association of Plastics Recyclers.
To relax, she likes to try new recipes and travel with friends and family.
Jaimee Given, Aptar Beauty + Home senior marketing communications manager, nominated Price for Rising Stars.
Q: What emerging technology or market most interests you?
Price: The development of chemical recycling technologies and the role it can play as a complement to traditional mechanical recycling is particularly interesting. As the industry looks to recover and reuse more plastic than even before, these emerging technologies have the possibility to transform plastics that may be of lower quality or of mixed material that are otherwise discarded. It's been exciting to follow the developments.
Q: What should the plastics industry do to expand its efforts in diversity and inclusion?
Price: To increase diversity in the industry, it will be essential to take a deep look at the pipeline of incoming talent and target diverse candidates in recruitment efforts. I think it's important to be intentional in this process and engage those interested in the industry directly, while also utilizing external networks to find potential leaders who would be valuable to the field.
Q: What has been the biggest impact/challenge on your career from the coronavirus pandemic?
Price: Losing the personal connections with colleagues from across the globe, both within the company and in the industry at large, has been a big impact for me. One of the things I enjoyed most about my work was meeting others across the globe and working together to make progress and to solve global challenges. Making the shift to virtual formats has not been easy, but adapting and being resilient has still been rewarding.
Q: What advice would you give to a person considering a career in the plastics industry?
Price: "Keep your options open!" The industry is a lot bigger than you think and there are so many different types of roles and sectors in the industry to discover.
Q: What is the best advice you have ever received?
Price: "Get there early." It seems like simple advice, but it's been helpful in so many different situations. It's not always about being on time to the meeting, but about thinking ahead and putting yourself out there with everything that you do.