For the first time, Pack Expo will feature a Reusable Packaging Pavilion during its Oct. 31-Nov. 3 in Chicago.

More than 20 exhibitors of reusable pallets and containers will cover about 3,000 square feet.

“This is the first time the industry association has brought our members together in one place to build awareness about reusable packaging and to showcase the products and services of our member companies,” said Jerry Welcome, president of the Arlington, Va.-based Reusable Packaging Association, which will sponsor the pavilion.

“Pack Expo is the largest packaging trade show in North America, and we look at this as a great opportunity to promote reusable packaging to packaging professionals.”

About 45,000 attendees are expected, according to the Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute, the trade association that organizes Pack Expo.

RPA also plans to sponsor educational sessions and workshops Nov. 2-3.

The institute said on its website that industry experts and end users will discuss a wide range of topics related to reusable packaging, including sustainability, safety, radio frequency identification and their effects on the supply chain.

Speakers had not yet been announced as of July 12.

In other news, the RPA has adopted a policy supporting product stewardship, a principle promoted by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Also known as extended producer responsibility, it is a product-centered approach to environmental protection that calls on everyone involved in a product’s life cycle — manufacturers, retailers, users and disposers — to share responsibility for reducing its environmental impact.

“Producer responsibility is a growing trend throughout the world,” Welcome said. “Versions of extended producer responsibility can be found throughout Europe as governments look for ways to reduce the impact of packaging on solid waste.”

Welcome said Canada has a growing product stewardship movement, and Maine recently passed one of the first state laws adopting the principles of extended producer responsibility.

Welcome said reusable packaging is being viewed by product stewardship advocates as an acceptable approach to removing packaging from the waste stream because it is used multiple times and often can be recycled at the end of its lifecycle.

“We believe the product stewardship initiative is not only good for the environment, but it is a good sustainable business practice,” Welcome said.