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Packaging, Podcasts, and the Planet - Getting to Know Cory Connors

Meet Cory Connors, a TikTok star, sustainability champion, podcaster, and Sales Representative for Landsberg Orora.

Both his social media following and passion for sustainability have made him into the “go-to” guy for what’s next in sustainable packaging. We sat down with him to learn more about what sparked this interest and to learn from “the sustainable packaging guy” himself.

1. How did you decide to focus on sustainable packaging solutions?

I grew up in Portland, Oregon, which is a very “green” city, and I have always been focused on what we used to call Earth-friendly or environmentally-friendly packaging back in the day. Now it’s called sustainable packaging, or at least referred to as such. It’s always been my focus because it’s what my customers demanded.

Even as a 22-year-old rookie salesperson, my customers would tell me, “you need to figure out how to make us more sustainable” and that would be my goal.

2. What inspired you to start a podcast?

I started listening to Gary Vaynerchuk about two years ago, and that led me to TikTok. I started posting, and posting, and posting, and then it just kind of grew. My goal was 10,000 followers and suddenly, I’ve got 75,000. It just took off which is really exciting to get to be able to speak about sustainable packaging to so many people. So, the podcast was a natural fit. My friends, Adam Peek and Evelio Mattos, are podcasters in the packaging space and they encouraged me to start the podcast. They thought it would really help the message of sustainable packaging come to life.

I’ve posted over 100 episodes now and it’s growing like crazy. We just passed 18,000 downloads and it’s an exciting adventure that’s leading to new opportunities to learn about new kinds of sustainable packaging. It’s very interesting how when people know you’re “the sustainable packaging guy” they send you information about new products so you can spread the message.

3. How has social media changed how you sell sustainable packaging?

A lot of people are interested in consultations, and that leads to real relationships. I’m trying to build real relationships with people in the industry and grow our network so that we can become a more sustainable packaging company. For me, it’s been an honor to be a part of it.

Often in meetings with customers, I’ll show them some of my TikTok videos. To have a 15 to 25 second commercial on your phone that you can quickly pull up and show them is a whole different world. I’ve found that the people I’m meeting with are really embracing this technology and it is very impactful to show the products in action in my videos. It has been a lot of work on the back-end and in preparation, but it makes things easier once I get in front of eager customers.

4. What is one sustainability fact that you think people would be surprised to know?

I think one that’s really stuck in my brain lately is, if things continue as they are by the year 2053, we could see spikes to 125oFahrenheit in the USA. The good news is, if you want to be a part of the solution, there are simple ways to affect positive change, and it’s something that every company can do. By packaging products efficiently and supporting companies who are being sustainable and making good decisions, we can really make a difference. I was interviewing someone on the podcast recently and they said if this one customer they were talking to switched to their product, they would save 2000 tons of plastic. The technology is here, the solutions are here, and we have to make the right decisions.

5. Do you think sustainability is a social trend? Or here to stay?

I think it’s both, and that might sound counterintuitive, but I think it’s something that is very important “right now” as a social trend and will continue to be in perpetuity. Frankly, we just need to focus on it. Do I need to go to the coffee shop again and get that single-use package or could I brew my coffee at home or bring my reusable cup with me? We must continue to look at what we’re doing and what we’re using.

6. Who is your sustainability icon and why?

I am totally impressed with Tom Szaky from TerraCycle and Loop. I’ve had him on my podcast, and I’ve looked up to him since he had a TV show 20 years ago about taking old vinyl things and turning them into new bags. It was such an interesting show and concept, and I had the honor of meeting him at the Landsberg Orora Sustainability Summit. His speech was incredible, his knowledge is impressive, and the things he’s done and the ideas he has are totally innovative. He often says, “Somebody has to be first. Somebody has to start the process” and he often times has done that with his amazing team.

7. Some people find the switch to sustainable packaging a bit overwhelming. Where would you tell them to start?

This is a very important question, and it’s crucial that people don’t try to do everything all at once. Step one is to figure out where you are. How much packaging are you using today? Do you need a primer? You need a place to start. It’s like stepping on the scale the first time when you’re starting your fitness journey. Then reach out to Landsberg Orora and we will help you identify different ways to improve. They can be simple things like switching from 2-inch tape to 3-inch tape so you don’t use as much. I know that sounds counterintuitive, but if it’s a wider tape, you’ll only use one strip instead of two. There are little things like this. You can switch to paper tape, paper void fill, and paper bubble. There are really simple things you can start doing today that can also bring you space and cost savings.

8. What are 3 things people can start doing at home to be more environmentally friendly in their everyday lives?

Number 1 is use less. For example, in your vehicle, use your fuel in the most efficient route for your day and drive as little as possible. You can even drive a more fuel-efficient vehicle. Also, reuse as much as you can. My friend, Good Girl Gone Green, claims that she is a glass jar hoarder. She highly recommends using glass jars for almost anything. You can use them for cups, serve food in them, and use them for storage. It’s really amazing what you can use out of something that you may have been using as a single-use item in the past. For me, I’ve purchased an extra set of cups, plates, and utensils for when I throw parties. That way I am eliminating single-use plastics, and I get to show my friends some other solutions out there that they can incorporate into their everyday lives.

9. Orora’s purpose is to lead the transition to a more sustainably packaged future. How are you bringing that purpose to life?

My sole purpose as a coworker of Landsberg Orora, other than sales, of course, is supporting our customers by bringing new sustainable ideas to the table. I do that by networking weekly on LinkedIn, TikTok, and other social channels, with audio live events and discussing packaging news every week. I also have my podcast, which I post two to three episodes a week, and it’s been an amazing adventure to learn about all these incredible new, sustainable choices. It has been my honor to get to introduce the community to some of these ideas that they didn’t know about. To have this platform on LinkedIn, TikTok, and YouTube to be able to speak to sustainability has been a really exciting thing.

10. Cory, what is your “why”?

My “why” is the future generations. We owe it to them.

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Want to learn more about

Sustainable Packaging?

We have created some resources to guide you in your transition to sustainable packaging:

Sustainably Packaged Magazine

Orora’s magazine dedicated to Sustainable Packaging insights, trends & ideas. Available in both Print and digital versions.

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Sustainable Packaging Podcast With Cory Connors

Cory chats with industry leaders about sustainable packaging options, new products, and how we can improve packaging sustainability.

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Sustainable Packaging Sourcebook

Our Sustainable Packaging Sourcebook is coming soon! Register for access to check out our ever growing sourcebook of new sustainable packaging technologies and materials.

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