paper bales of recycled fiber

2024 WMU Fiber Recycling Course

Tuesday–Thursday, June 4–6, 2024


The WMU Paper Pilot Plant has partnered with TAPPI to offer the Coating Course and Fiber Recycling Course.

Registration is now open. 

Register Here

Course Information

2 1/2 day course | Time: 8 a.m.–5 p.m.

WMU Paper Pilot Plant will hold their next WMU Fiber Recycling Course on June 4–6, 2024. Numerous networking opportunities and a broad spectrum of attendees and contacts make this a great course for veterans of the industry looking to broaden their knowledge or those new to the industry who want to see the entire process of fiber recycling. From brand perspectives, sustainability drivers, recyclable certifications, and legislation, to the collection, MRF sorting, reprocessing, and papermaking; this course covers a full view of the circular economy of fiber recycling. Please join us!

Learning objectives

  • Recyclability Protocols and Product Labeling
  • Recycled Fiber Global Markets Update
  • Sustainability — Brand Owner Perspective
  • Regulations and Market Drivers
  • Collection and MRF Operations
  • Paper Mill Operations
  • Hands-on Fiber Recycling/Papermaking Option
  • Speakers include: Industry Experts and WMU Faculty

Take a look at this year's information

Networking opportunities

Networking opportunities include a dinner at the world-famous Bell's Eccentric Cafe and a happy hour in the heart of downtown Kalamazoo.

Who should attend

This course is designed for the newcomers to the paper recycling industry, as well as those with experience who wish to broaden and update their knowledge and understanding of the basics of recycled fiber collection, processing, use, and market drivers. This is a 2.5-day course held in Kalamazoo Michigan, on WMU's beautiful Engineering Campus.


2024 Speakers

Larry Anker

Larry Anker

Director of Commercial Operations,

  • Larry Anker Bio

    Larry Anker is the Director of Commercial Operations at Solenis. He has worked in the paper industry for over 30 years. He is currently responsible for coordinating the P&P technical training initiatives and managing the intern and STAR (new hire rotation) program. Anker holds a bachelor's degree in chemistry, mathematics and physics from Washington and Lee University and a doctorate in chemistry from Penn State University. Anker received a Fulbright Fellowship in 1986 and was named a TAPPI Fellow in 2013. He is a current member of the TAPPI Board of Directors as well as an instructor for the annual TAPPI Introduction to Wet End Chemistry course.  He is an Adjunct Professor at Western Michigan University, currently teaching the PAPR 4300 course, and the chair of the Education and Research Committee at WMU’s Paper Technology Foundation.

Bret Biggers

Bret Biggers

Senior Economist,

  • Brett Biggers Bio

    Bret Biggers is a senior economist at ISRI. He collects, analyzes, and disseminates information on recycled commodity trends. He is the staff liaison for the Paper Division, Plastics Division, and the MRF Committee. Other efforts Biggers working on is the ISRI Specifications Circular, the ISRI Recycling Readiness Tool, the ISRI Recycled Materials Industry Yearbook, Trade Committee and Market Access Working Group.

    Biggers has addressed economic, markets, and sustainability issues throughout most of his career, writing articles and producing reports. He has worked at the National Waste & Recycling Association, Flexible Packaging Association, and consulted in the trucking, chemical, and specialty printing industries.

Susan Cornish

Susan Cornish

Insight + Action 

  • Susan Cornish Bio

    Susan Cornish is Principal Consultant at Insight + Action, a company she founded in 2017. Susan is a life-long researcher and strategist, always interested in digging deeper to understand the reasons why, and determining how changes can be made. At Insight + Action, Susan helps clients define issues and research questions. She leads client engagements and manages all aspects of projects from research design and data collection, through analysis, reporting, and other deliverables. Prior to Insight + Action, Susan was a Vice President at several global Consumer Insights firms. Here she worked with brand owners in Marketing, contributing to product and packaging development decisions. On the supplier side, Susan led research teams, developed more focused reporting methods, and worked with clients and IT to create client portals and automated reporting. Susan has in-depth knowledge of packaging sustainability and the recycling industry, plus expertise in all aspects of product and packaging innovation research. Susan has worked with global clients in many sectors including packaging, consumer packaged goods, hospitality and foodservice, waste management/recycling and recycling non-profits. Susan holds an Honors BA, 1st Class, from Simon Fraser University where she majored in Geography and Economics. She has an MSc and PhD from the University of Toronto where her dissertation research focused on product innovation.

Michael Krawson

Michael Krawson

Business Development Specialist

  • Michael Krawson Bio

    Michael Krawson is a Business Development Director at Sustana, a leader in sustainable, recycled fibers for the paper and packaging industry. Michael has three decades of paper industry experience including technical and commercial roles at Champion International, International Paper, and Sonoco before joining Sustana. A graduate of Miami University with a Degree in Paper Science and Engineering, Michael has specialized for the past 20 years in recycled fiber and sustainable packaging.

Sandeep Kulkarni

Sandeep Kulkarni

Founder and President,
KoolEarth Solutions, Inc. 

  • Sandeep Kulkarni Bio

    Dr. Sandeep Kulkarni is the founder and President of KoolEarth Solutions Inc., a technical consulting and business development company focused on helping companies develop and commercialize new sustainable packaging solutions as well as to improve the sustainability footprint of existing packaging and to reduce/eliminate packaging waste. He is also Vice President, Plastics and Packaging at Ubuntoo (, a unique environmental solutions platform to address plastic waste, plastic litter, food waste, sustainable fashion and so on. He is a technical advisor for the NextGen Cup Challenge, working with major brands such as Starbucks and McDonald’s to develop fully recyclable and compostable beverage cups. Sandeep is also an advisor to several startup companies in the field of sustainability and sustainable packaging.

    Sandeep has a Ph.D. in Polymer Chemistry and over 25 years of industry experience working for several large packaging companies. Most recently he worked for PepsiCo, in the area of sustainable beverage packaging. His diverse expertise includes plastics recycling, bioplastics, as well as paper based packaging. Sandeep has 7 granted patents as well as several publications in industry journals. He has also served on conference advisory boards and has delivered several invited presentations, at international conferences, on the topics of sustainability and sustainable packaging. He is also a member of the Executive Committee of the Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC) for 3-year term (2021-2024).

Brad Kurzynowsk

Brad Kurzynowsk 

Fiber Manager,
Sustainable Packaging Coalition

  • Brad Kurzynowsk Bio

    Brad Kurzynowski is the Sustainable Packaging Coalition’s Fiber Manager, leading the organization’s work related to fiber packaging and forest products. His combination of professional and academic experience provides SPC members with a unique perspective on the intersection of packaging sustainability and resource management. Brad previously was a consultant with Resource Recycling Systems (RRS) and received his M.S. from Michigan State University’s School of Packaging.

Kecheng Li

Kecheng Li

Professor and Department Chair,
WMU Paper Engineering 

  • Kecheng Li Bio

    Dr. Li received his Ph.D. from the Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry and the Pulp and Paper Centre at the University of Toronto, Canada; Prior to joining WMU, Dr. Li was a Professor and University Research Scholar in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of New Brunswick, where his was a recipient of Merit Award (2008) and was appointed University Research Scholar by the UNB Board of Governors in 2011 and then 2016;

    Dr. Li has more than 20 years of R&D experience in pulp and paper manufacturing technologies including paper recycling and paper for packaging materials. His areas of research interests also include biorefining for biofuels, nanocellulose, biochemicals; enzyme technologies for wood and fiber processing and wastewater treatment; and state-of-the-art surface and nanoscale techniques;

    Dr. Li has co-authored with his students more than 100 refereed papers and book chapters, developed several proprietary technologies, and holds six US patents awarded.

    Dr. Li has been invited by universities and research institutes around the world to give seminars in e.g., Australia, Canada, China, Finland, Japan, Korea, and the USA, and by conferences and symposiums to deliver keynote speeches;

    Dr. Li is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (UK) and has been appointed as an adjunct professor by the University of Waterloo and by the University of New Brunswick. He is also serving on the International Research Management Committee of Technical Association of Pulp and Paper Industry (TAPPI).

JD Lindeberg

JD Lindeberg

Principal and President,

  • JD Lindeberg

    JD is a Principal and President of RRS, bringing over 38 years of experience developing corporate sustainability systems, material recovery and processing systems, biomass energy and organics recovery, business planning and plan development, project due diligence and risk management, capital project planning, and project financing. His training and experience as a professional engineer give an added dimension to his business background and provide insight into the development of award-winning projects. Recently, his efforts have focused on increasing recovery through the innovative development and application of recovery technologies to increase overall recovery in response to both public and private demand for higher recycling rates.

Michael Lopane

Michael Lopane

Applications Manager,
Kadant Black Clawson, LLC

  • Michael Lopane Bio

    Michael Lopane joined Kadant in 2012 first as Senior Process Engineer and now the Applications Manager. Responsibilities at Kadant include OCC system design, OCC system process optimization, and new product development. Previously employed by Paper companies such as Champion International, International Paper, and Smartpapers as a process engineer, Stock Prep/Recycle Plant Manager, and Senior Process Engineer. Publish several industry papers throughout his career on screening and cleaning technologies.

Bill Moore

Bill Moore

Moore & Associates

  • Bill Moore Bio

    Bill Moore is president of Moore & Associates, an international consulting firm providing a range of strategic services and research to the paper recycling industry.

    Prior to initiating Moore & Associates, Bill he held a series of positions in the solid waste, paper, and recycling industries. These include founder and Vice President of Paper Recycling International and the first Director of Recycling for Waste Management, Inc.

    At Moore & Associates, Bill has served over 300 clients on more than 500 projects. Mr. Moore’s knowledge base includes all aspects of the worldwide supply and demand of recovered paper.

Lon Pschigoda

Lon Pschigoda

General Manager,
WMU Paper Pilot Plant

  • Lon Pschigoda Bio

    As the current General Manager of Western Michigan’s prestigious Paper Pilot Plants, Lon has the lead role in marketing, business development, strategy, and P/L management for the business. His background in specialty papers (Crown Vantage), coated recycled board (Graphic Packaging), integrated packaging (Sonoco), and natural binders (Tate & Lyle) prepared him well to tackle the wide variety of projects that come through the door at WMU. Lon is an active leader in the industry as part of the Tappi Coating & Graphic Arts Technical Committee, the Tappi Molded Fiber Committee, and represents WMU as a subject matter expert on the ISO TC6 (Paper, board, and pulps) working group, 4evergreen, NextGen Cup Challenge (McDonalds, Starbucks, Pepsi), and NextGen Composting Consortium. He held roles as a process engineer, senior product specialist, product manager, and director of pricing and marketing prior to coming back to his alma mater (BS Paper Science & Engineering 1998) in 2016.

Paul Schutes

Paul Schutes

Recycled Paperboard Technical Association

  • Paul Schutes Bio

    Paul Schutes is the Executive Director of the Recycled Paperboard Alliance (RPA100) and President of the Recycled Paperboard Technical Association (RPTA), the 2 leading industry associations dedicated to expanding the use and improving the manufacture of recycled fiber products.

    Paul holds degrees from Purdue University in Industrial Engineering and from the University of Bridgeport (CT) in Graphic Design. Paul is a paperboard and packaging expert with 40 years of experience in the industry. During his career in paperboard packaging Paul has held senior positions in packaging design, engineering, sales, and production.

    As Executive Director of the RPA and President of the RPTA Paul oversees all administrative, program activities, and member development of the organizations. In his role he works with North America’s largest brand owners, and retailers, as well as government and non-government organizations on a wide range of sustainability initiatives.

Jason Wang

Jason Wang

Research Scientist,
WMU Paper Pilot Plant

Alex Wolf

Alex Wolf

Senior Technical Director,
Van Dyk Recycling Solutions

  • Alex Wolf Bio

    Alex Wolf has over 15 years of experience in TOMRA (formerly TITECH) research and development and has been a software developer, sensor-based technology specialist, and sales engineer. He is currently the Senior Technical Director for Van Dyk Recycling Solutions, where he manages all technical activities including system design and the operations of Van Dyk’s Material Testing Facility.

Course speakers are subject to change.

Optional add-on course:

WMU Paper Pilot Plant Experience — Hands-on Fiber Recycling and Papermaking

Held on the last day of the course from noon–5 p.m.

Spend the afternoon with the WMU’s Paper Pilot Plant crew and see the processes firsthand. This includes fiber recycling operations (pulping, screening, cleaning), paper making on the newly installed dual fourdrinier pilot machine (the only one of its kind in North America), and time in our papermaking/paper testing labs. You will see a bale of recovered paper enter the process, the recovery of the fibers, and the production of recycled paper (forming, pressing, drying, calendering).  Whether you are new to the industry, enjoy learning on your feet, or simply want to see our facilities operate, this will be time well spent. Space is limited.

Western Michigan University

A leader in the field of papermaking, coating and recycling research and applications as well as a leading provider of undergraduate and graduate engineers and scientists, is offering its fiber recycling course. WMU has certified hundreds of products as repulpable and recyclable using industry agreed-upon protocols. This course is exciting, offering from WMU that will bring together many industry and technology leaders as guest speakers to seriously upgrade your fiber recycling knowledge.


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