Sustainability in Packaging US 2018 Tours

Morning Sustainability in Packaging US Tours | Monday, March 12, 2018

More than just presentations, workshops and panel discussions, Sustainability in Packaging US gives you a chance to explore sustainability in action, giving you direct access and a unique, behind the scenes look, at the sustainability initiatives happening at places like The Field Museum and Plant Chicago.

*You must register for the full Sustainability in Packaging US conference to be able to attend the below tours. Tours are  at no additional cost, as they are included in 2018 ticket price. 


Tour option 1 - Plant Chicago - (max 30 participants)

9:45 am -12:45 pm

Not long ago, The Plant was an abandoned 93,500 square foot industrial space and pork processing facility. Now it’s a larger-than-life experiment and working model for closing waste, resource and energy loops. The facility will eventually divert over 10,000 tons of food waste from landfills each year, while providing enough electricity to power over 250 homes. 

Between their dedicated staff and ever-growing legion of extraordinary volunteers, The Plant has centuries of experience building, teaching and revitalizing urban communities. Together, we’re working to change the way we, as a city, think about our food and our environment.

During your tour, you’ll see some of our closed-loop tech demonstration projects up close, like an aquaponics farm and algae bioreactor. You can also view food production spaces for tenants at The Plant, including a brewery, British-style bakery, and various growing operations.

Acceptable clothing for the tour: Comfortable shoes for walking indoors

  • Check-in time to board shuttle is at 9:45 AM 
  • Bus departs promptly at: 10:00 AM
  • Tour starts at: 10:30 AM
  • Tour ends at: 12:00 PM
  • Shuttle will return to the Intercontinental Magnificent Mile at 12:45 PM

Tour option 2 - Field Museum - (max 30 participants)

8:30 am-11:30 am - Sponsored by ARAMARK 

The Field Museum's restaurants feature a sustainable food operator program that began in fall 2013. With the goal of reducing waste wherever possible, a composting stream was added to the restaurants to divert biodegradable packaging and flatware from landfills, and the restaurants are diverting 75% of their waste stream. Composting has also been introduced into staff areas, earning the entire Museum recognition as a Gold Level Partner of the Illinois Food Scrap Coalition, and contributing to its 2015 LEED Gold certification in Operations and Maintenance. In 2016 the Museum added a customized waste diversion system in the Siragusa Center for the school group cafeteria. On your visit to the Museum you will see how this was accomplished, and have an opportunity to hear from the Museum's general manager and sustainability officer how this has impacted day to day operations and dramatically improved the Museum's overall waste diversion rate from a pre-composting rate of 18% to its current rate of 53%.

Tour will include a walk through the Restoring Earth exhibition, located within the Museum's LEED Gold rated Hall of Conservation. After the exhibition the tour will proceed to the Explorer Cafe, where General Manager Brian Rathbun will talk about the Museum's sustainable food operation program.

The tour at the Field Museum will be hosted by Carter O’Brien, Field Museum Sustainability Officer and Brian Rathbun, Aramark General Manager. 

  • Check-in time to board shuttle is at 8:30 AM 
  • Bus departs promptly at: 8:45 AM
  • Tour starts at: 9:00 AM
  • Tour ends at: 11:00 AM
  • Shuttle will return to the Intercontinental Magnificent Mile at 11:30 AM

*There will NOT be secure storage available for personal belongings on site, guests can leave their belongings on the shuttle as the driver will not leave the bus, however in all cases Smithers and Ideal Charter are not responsible for any lost or stolen items.


Tour option 3 - Whiner Beer Co. - (max 30 participants)

9:45 am -12:45 pm

Whiner Beer Co. focuses on barrel-aged beer, a tradition common in Belgium and France that is gaining foothold in the US. Industry veterans and partners Brian Taylor and Ria Neri aim to make beers for people with a wanderlust palate, a curiosity for the strange and unknown, and those who take their beer seriously, but never themselves.

Housed in The Plant, a net-zero energy business incubator located in Chicago’s Back of the Yards neighborhood, Whiner aims to promote environmentally responsible brewing. The brewery will play a major role in the operations of The Plant’s anaerobic digester. Once up and running, Whiner’s spent grain will help fuel the digester, producing energy for the entire building.

Whiner Beer co-founder Brian Taylor has more than 15 years of experience in the brewing industry and a Brewing Science degree from the Siebel Institute and World Brewing Academy in Munich, Germany.  He has worked for Flying Dog Brewery in Denver, CO and Boulevard Brewing Company in Kansas City, MO.  Most recently, Taylor worked at Goose Island Beer Company in Chicago, IL, where he played a key role in launching a wine barrel aging program that ultimately led to the development of multiple award-winning beers.

Taylor’s partner, Ria Neri, is a Certified Cicerone and craft beer enthusiast who also studied at the Siebel Institute of Technology in Chicago and completed the Master of Beers Styles Program and the Sensory Analysis courses.  Neri has developed beer programs for acclaimed bars and restaurants in Chicago, including Bangers & Lace, Trenchermen, Lone Wolf and Pleasant House Pub. 

  • Check-in time to board shuttle is at 9:45 AM 
  • Bus departs promptly at: 10:00 AM
  • Tour starts at: 10:30 AM
  • Tour ends at: 12:00 PM
  • Shuttle will return to the Intercontinental Magnificent Mile at 12:45 PM