Reuse Series

How Personalized Home Delivery Models Could Spur Successful Reuse Systems

By Georgia Sherwin

March 23, 2023

Georgia Sherwin, Senior Director at Closed Loop Partners’ Center for the Circular Economy interviews Bruno Ballester, ROYAL CANIN Individualization Senior Product Owner. ROYAL CANIN® offers customized pet food and home delivery in reusable packaging to meet the diverse needs of pet owners and in the process has generated interesting learnings about reuse adoption.

  • In a nutshell, can you describe the reusable packaging system implemented by ROYAL CANIN and how it works?

Since June 2022, ROYAL CANIN®, a brand of Mars, Inc, has been partnering with reusable packaging innovator RePack to offer a sustainable solution for home deliveries of ROYAL CANIN IndividualisTM pet food refill orders in France, representing thousands of orders per month. ROYAL CANIN® IndividualisTM is an on-demand, individualized nutritional program created to answer every pet’s unique health needs. Pet owners receive their ROYAL CANIN order in returnable RePack delivery packaging. Once empty, the RePack packaging can be returned through the postal system for free, after which it is cleaned and reused. The packaging can go through this process up to 20 times. The reuse delivery packaging guarantees intact quality of our products at delivery.

After 20 cycles, analysis shows that RePack packaging results in only 0.1kg of waste and 0.9kg of CO2 emitted, compared to 3kg of waste and 4.4kg of CO2 for a cardboard box. The process represents a reduction of 80% of CO2 when comparing the lifecycle of a RePack bag to disposable packaging. We are now exploring potential opportunities to expand this project to the rest of Europe and North America.

  • Why did you decide to implement a reuse model for ROYAL CANIN®? What factors contributed to it?

ROYAL CANIN® is committed to furthering sustainability across all our operations, knowing that reuse, recycling and upcycling packaging are key contributions in alleviating the impact of our activity and helping create a healthy future for pets, people and the planet. We also signed the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, which encourages responsible behavior and calls for collective engagement to ensure a common vision of a circular economy for plastic, in which it never becomes waste or pollution.

We feel that reuse habits have been lost to today’s dominant single-use, disposable culture, but we think reuse is a trend that is coming back and could become the norm.

This opt-out model for reuse has helped ensure momentum.

  • How has customer adoption evolved over time since the launch of the program?

Customer adoption of the reusable RePack packaging program has been a great success. Importantly, while we leave the choice to our customers to ask if they prefer to switch back to the previous packaging approach, after several thousand orders, no customer has asked to change. This opt-out model for reuse has helped ensure momentum. We also inserted a QR code to collect feedback after each order and the overwhelming feedback from customers was positive. The program received a Net Promoter Score of 76, which indicates that the majority of customers are satisfied and would recommend the approach. In fact, a lot of customers noted they were surprised this type of solution isn’t being deployed more widely and becoming the norm.

A couple of great customer quotes about the reusable packaging system worth highlighting include, “I think it’s an excellent idea, congratulations to the inventor”, “I love it”, “a perfect solution”, “it is a very good initiative. I hope that many companies will follow this”, and “I find this idea great and very practical.” This kind of feedback is really encouraging for us to continue to push the bounds of sustainability initiatives. Beyond our net promoter score increasing, which indicates positive customer satisfaction, we’ve also saved time from an operations perspective by packing parcels with RePack vs. cardboard boxes.

  • What’s been the biggest challenge for the program?

There are many different considerations when it comes to reuse. We usually ship our premium pet food in protective cardboard boxes to preserve the quality and the health benefits of the finished product up to the point of final consumption. Therefore, we had to ensure RePack packaging was strong enough to guarantee intact quality at delivery. It was also important for us to monitor and measure the feasibility of the program: how can we offer reusable packaging for each customer each month without increasing the costs? Should this solution cover several countries, or should we select one single country?  And we kept a constant eye on customer satisfaction––are customers willing to return the packaging each month?

  • What did it take to get the program off the ground? What key stakeholders and resources were involved?

ROYAL CANIN® ran a test over two months with 15 pet owners and sent them their refill order in a RePack packaging. They agreed to share their experience during individual interviews. This first test was very successful and received, on average, a rating of 4.8/5. Customers reported that RePack was: 1) Easy to use 2) Sustainable 3) A good solution for e-commerce. This valuable feedback helped us scale the reusable packaging project, whilst also recognizing what information was most relevant to French customers.

We also organized a workshop in our warehouse in France where all ROYAL CANIN® Individualis™ orders are prepared, packed and shipped. We met with the RePack team to review the order preparation as we were kicking off the first orders for the small pilot.

The product packaging size can vary significantly depending on if it is for a cat or a large dog for example, and therefore we usually need three sizes of cardboard boxes. The three sizes of RePack allowed us to meet our packaging needs perfectly. We tried RePack’s different sealing methods to find the most efficient and secure one for us. We tested the solidity of the packaging with a test and validated an International Safe Transit Association (ISTA) certification certifying that RePack packaging protected the pet food during transport.

Putting Recovery at the Center of the Critical Minerals Sourcing Debate

By Aly Bryan

March 22, 2023

Over the past few months, sourcing critical minerals has been at the forefront of conversations about how to support the renewable energy transition. 

The chip shortages in 2020-21 increased awareness that, from steel and aluminum to rare earth minerals, the U.S. market has far fewer processed materials available than we need to meet the growing demand for electric vehicles, battery storage and transmission lines needed to maintain a 1.5-degree future. And the push to secure access to a finite, price-competitive global materials supply was only heightened by the Inflation Reduction Act’s domestic sourcing requirements for assets like electric vehicle batteries.

This growing need has prompted efforts to fund new extraction domestically and to secure feedstock from international regions––often with challenging environmental and human rights records but higher volumes of available supply. Onshoring and near-shoring of key aspects of manufacturing––once seen as cost prohibitive––are now seen as cost-of-doing-business to access the U.S. market. Less prevalent is the consideration of how to create more sustainable domestic sourcing channels for the critical minerals needed to support the manufacturing being announced in the U.S.

That is not to say that “recycling” is absent from the conversation. Indeed, a handful of large battery recycling companies have garnered significant attention and capital––the most recent being a $2B conditional loan commitment from the Department of Energy Loan Programs Office to Redwood Materials. However, much of what is being invested in today relies upon energy- or chemical-intensive processes that prioritize recovery of the highest-value-by-dollar-amount materials. The result is that other materials––steel, aluminum, copper––can be left behind in the process. Those materials that are recovered––like lithium, cobalt, nickel––may end up requiring significant re-processing to be re-usable in a new battery.

It is important to advance the “large loop” circularity narrative of recycling materials all the way back to their base, raw material form; however, enabling smaller, cost-competitive loops alongside this can move the needle on material availability in the near-term. These include optimally leveraging used materials and minimizing processing costs to get these materials back to the manufacturing lines where they are needed. This is essential as we redefine our hierarchy of mineral recovery––from one that leads with extraction to one that leads with recovery as the primary source for materials.

At Closed Loop Partners, we see significant opportunity to elevate recovery as a core part of the critical minerals conversation. Namely that (1) valuable streams of recoverable domestic materials are currently overlooked; (2) existing processing techniques are leaving value on the table; and (3) geographic silos are disadvantaging both suppliers of recovered materials and manufacturers.

  • Valuable streams of recoverable domestic materials are being overlooked

It is no secret that there are major concerns about the near-term availability of end-of-life batteries to feed existing recycling lines. At the same time, sourcing newly mined materials for electric vehicles has become a challenge for many automakers, and recent announcements demonstrate a push toward net new, domestic extraction for materials like cobalt.

There are diverse used material streams that can serve as the feedstock needed by new battery manufacturers. This includes everything from scrap created during the initial battery manufacturing process to end-of-life electronic waste and, even, recovery from seawater, clay or waste streams from other manufacturing processes.

Innovation that takes the country’s natural endowments into account is better positioned to move the needle on critical minerals access. These include not just minerals under the ground, but also those above it––being scrapped off the line, waiting in line at an end-of-life electronics processor, or even in our junk drawers at home. And there is an investment opportunity in recovery technologies that view those waste streams not as liabilities but as feedstocks for the energy transition.

  • Existing processing techniques are leaving value on the table

While current methods for battery recycling, such as pyro and hydrometallurgy, are well suited to recover cathode materials––lithium, cobalt, nickel and manganese––there is still opportunity to innovate and improve recovery mechanisms, ideally that preserve and catalyze reuse of anode materials or casings––graphite, iron, copper, steel, aluminum––many of which may not be fully recaptured in processing.

We know it is possible to extract more value from existing waste streams to loop materials back into supply chains––and de-manufacturing is a core enabler of that. Instead of starting a recovery process by shredding the existing product, we can prioritize deconstruction. This allows for the preservation of materials in a usable form rather than a return to the base elements (for example, direct cathode-to-cathode recovery, versus a reversal to lithium carbonate that needs to be reprocessed to be usable in a battery again). Not only does this require fewer steps for reintegration, but it may also be less energy intensive––and still gets domestic materials back to the manufacturers who need them most.

Similarly, existing operations in traditional industries, such as mining and oil and gas, have room for incremental recovery of materials that are currently viewed as waste products. Mine tailings, for example, are a natural waste product of the mining process and there are thousands of tailing dams––both active and inactive––around the world. There is an opportunity for innovation that focuses on reprocessing and recovering the critical minerals still present in those tailing dams. These “waste” streams from traditional extraction processes can become valuable sources for materials needed in battery manufacturing. They can also have secondary benefits, such as improved water quality, revitalization of biodiversity loss and more.

  • Geographic silos are disadvantaging both suppliers of recovered materials and manufacturers

North American electric vehicle battery manufacturing has continued to accelerate, with nearly 1,000 GWh/year of manufacturing capacity expected to be online by 2030. The manufacturing footprint is broad––stretching from California to Eastern Canada, Texas to Florida to Massachusetts. Unfortunately, the planned capacity for critical minerals recovery is less distributed.

As operators of the largest private recycling company in North America, Closed Loop Partners knows well that the most important aspect of profitability in waste recovery is the ability to optimize the full ecosystem processing cost––and transportation is a significant part of that equation especially when an end-of-life product is heavy. There may be opportunities for more proximate, localized or modular processing, as well as more structured recovery infrastructure.

Putting Recovery at the Center of the Debate

We have the opportunity today to build the new supply chain for electric vehicle battery manufacturing with circular economy and recovery principles embedded from the beginning. Prioritizing recovery over additional mineral extraction allows us to localize supply chains and feed new capacity for domestic manufacturing of semiconductors and batteries for electric vehicles. It hedges over-exposure to finite supplies of raw materials that have, historically, only been accessible in specific, higher risk geographies around the world and, in doing so, creates a hedge against pricing volatility in those markets. If done well, it does all of that at a lower cost than full lifecycle mineral extraction and with a lower emissions footprint than legacy recycling infrastructure while diverting high value waste from landfill. It builds long-term resilience––all while driving transparency, connectivity and agility into our domestic processing capacity for critical minerals.

Core to our investment approach at Closed Loop Partners is a belief in the power of the ecosystem. The circular economy, by definition, requires collaboration across stakeholders. It requires a shared understanding of fully loaded costs to get something back in circulation and a commitment to make it work in the least emissions-intensive, most cost-efficient way possible––not just for a single entity in the value chain but for all of them. Sourcing critical minerals is no different. Now is the time for a new wave of collaborative innovation that puts novel recovery front and center in our journey toward sustainable, cost competitive, low carbon and low waste materials for the energy transition.


Special thanks to the GreenBiz23 team and my fellow panelists from the Future Proofing Critical Minerals Supply panel, to my Closed Loop Partners team––especially Jessica Long, Danielle Joseph, Andrew McColm, and Anne-Marie Kaluz––and to the countless corporate partners, investors, and start-ups innovating across this ecosystem that have already pushed my thinking here. I look forward to many more discussions on the topic!


Global Corporations Join Brookfield to Invest Nearly a Billion Dollars in Closed Loop Partners’ Operating Company, Circular Services, the Leading Developer of Circular Economy Infrastructure

By Closed Loop Partners

March 16, 2023

NEW YORK, March 16, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — In late 2022, Closed Loop Partners and Brookfield Renewable (“Brookfield”) announced the establishment of Circular Services, a leading developer of circular economy and recycling infrastructure in the United States. Today, Closed Loop Partners announces that six leading companies, Microsoft, Nestlé, PepsiCo, SK Group, Starbucks and Unilever, are joining Brookfield to invest in scaling circular economy infrastructure and services. Commitment in Circular Services now reaches nearly a billion dollars, building on investments from Brookfield, as well as from the Closed Loop Circular Plastics Fund and the Partnership Fund for New York City, marking a significant milestone in the transition to the circular economy, as more institutional and corporate capital is catalyzed to advance circularity at scale.

Circular Services is the largest privately held recycling company in the United States, focusing on a wide range of recycled commodities across packaging, organics, textiles and electronics. It owns and operates facilities across the U.S. and seeks to help municipalities and businesses eliminate the hundreds of billions of dollars spent annually on landfill disposal costs by ensuring that valuable commodities are recycled and reused in domestic supply chains. The companies investing in Circular Services, each one committed to advancing the circular economy, are collectively demonstrating the power of both collaboration and targeted investments to accelerate the transition from a linear to a circular economy.

According to Esi Eggleston Bracey, President of Unilever USA, “Scaling best-in-class circular infrastructure can help increase the supply of recycled plastic, which is key to making circular supply chains a reality. Our investment in Circular Services is an important step in increasing the feedstock needed to achieve Unilever’s 2025 plastics goals for recycled content in our packaging and our goal to collect and process more plastic packaging than we produce. These types of investments are critical for addressing plastic waste, which will take action from all of us across industries.”

Michael Kobori, chief sustainability officer at Starbucks adds, “Now is the time for bold action to transform the recycling infrastructure in the U.S. Starbucks is excited to join with Microsoft, Nestlé, PepsiCo, SK Group, Unilever, Brookfield and the Partnership Fund for New York City to help generate nearly a billion dollar investment in Circular Services. This builds upon our long-standing work with Closed Loop Partners, whose NextGen Consortium has made significant strides in advancing sustainable packaging, including bringing hot cup recycling to more communities.”

Circular Services’ focus on packaging as a key material for recovery is spurred by a growing need to increase recovery rates for packaging. Currently, recovery rates for packaging and food-service plastics are reported to be as low as 28% in the United States.

“To create a world where packaging never ends up in landfill or as litter, recycling capabilities must evolve, and investing in the infrastructure and circular systems that can help collect, sort, reuse and recycle is a critical step,” said Molly Fogarty, Head of Sustainability, Corporate & Government Affairs, Nestlé North America. “This investment will help upgrade recycling infrastructure in the U.S. and expand the availability of recycled content, as well as bolster packaging materials collection. We’re excited to work alongside other leading companies to advance Circular Services and help chart a path to a circular economy.”

In addition to the focus on packaging recovery, companies investing in Circular Services are bolstering efforts to recover electronic waste, one of the fastest growing waste streams in the world. Today, over six billion mobile phones alone are circulating in the global economy. Yet, less than 20% of electronics broadly are collected, refurbished or recycled worldwide––translating to a lost value of more than $50 billion each year.

“With our third investment in the Closed Loop Partners ecosystem we look forward to being part of this new venture to build circular systems that can help our industry achieve our sustainability goals,” said Brandon Middaugh, senior director, Climate Innovation Fund at Microsoft. “We have begun testing e-waste recycling in Denver with Circular Services and look forward to exploring additional areas of potential collaboration.”

Todd Squarek, CSO, PepsiCo Beverages North America adds, “We have been partnering with Closed Loop Partners since their earliest days and are invested across five of their funds. When the firm established Circular Services, we knew we needed to be an active partner in this business to drive impact and get access to more rPET for our bottles. Closed Loop Partners is a trusted ally with a proven track record and we look forward to continuing our work with them to help transform the packaging supply chains of the future.”

“Building a circular economy for valuable materials, including plastics, takes a concerted effort across industries. We are proud to work alongside Closed Loop Partners and other leading companies to support the infrastructure needed to enable these systems,” said Jongho Yeo, vice president of SK geo centric. “As we work toward shared goals of reducing material waste and advancing resource circularity, supporting the necessary infrastructure through Circular Services can help accelerate the circular economy at scale.”

Across the United States and beyond, leading corporations are committing to increased recycled content and waste reduction goals, in alignment with broader climate commitments. “Expanding access to recycling and reuse services will enable cities and businesses to avoid the cost of landfilling products and packaging and achieve their sustainability goals,” said Jessica Long, Chief Strategy Officer of Closed Loop Partners. “Circular Services continues its work to accelerate a circular economy, an economic system that invests in the continual use of materials, reduces the reliance on natural resource extraction and landfills, and advances a waste-free future.”

About Closed Loop Partners

Closed Loop Partners is at the forefront of building the circular economy. The company is comprised of three key business segments: an investment firm, innovation center and operating group. The investment firm invests in venture, growth equity, buyout and catalytic private credit strategies on behalf of global institutions, corporations and family offices. The innovation center, the Center for the Circular Economy, unites competitors and partners to tackle complex material challenges and implement systemic change to advance circularity.

The operating group, Circular Services, has twelve recycling facilities in operation today, and provides holistic, circular materials management to close the loop on valuable materials for municipalities and businesses throughout the United States. Employing innovative technology within reuse, recycling, remanufacturing and re-commerce solutions, Circular Services improves regional economic and environmental outcomes by building resilient systems to keep food & organics, textiles, electronics, packaging and more, in circulation and out of landfills or the natural environment.

Closed Loop Partners is based in New York City and is a registered B Corp. For more information, please visit

About the Closed Loop Circular Plastics Fund at Closed Loop Partners

The Closed Loop Circular Plastics Fund provides catalytic financing to build circular economy infrastructure and improve the recovery of polypropylene and polyethylene plastic in the U.S. & Canada, returning plastics to more sustainable manufacturing supply chains for use as feedstock for future products and packaging. Investors include Dow, LyondellBasell, NOVA Chemicals, SK geo centric Co., Sealed Air, Chevron Phillips Chemical and Charter Next Generation. Learn more about the Fund’s investment criteria and apply for funding here.

The Fund’s goal of optimizing recovery infrastructure is one part of Closed Loop Partners’ broader initiative of Advancing Circular Systems for Plastics. This initiative prioritizes scaling reuse and refill models and reducing material usage in design, while bolstering the recovery infrastructure to address plastics waste.

To learn about the Closed Loop Circular Plastics Fund, visit Closed Loop Partners’ website.



Photo Credit: Michael Anton

Closed Loop Partners’ Circular Plastics Fund Announces New Investors, Catalyzing Capital Toward a Circular Economy

By Closed Loop Partners

March 14, 2023

March 14, 2023, New York –– Closed Loop Partners’ Circular Plastics Fund announced Tuesday the addition of two new investors––Chevron Phillips Chemical (CPChem) and Charter Next Generation (CNG)––bringing the fund’s total capital to $45 million in an effort to support the development of plastics recycling and recovery infrastructure in North America.

The Circular Plastics Fund, managed by Closed Loop Partners, is focused on meeting the growing need to advance the recycling of rigid and flexible polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) plastics in the United States and Canada. Global companies CPChem and CNG join existing investors Dow, LyondellBasell, NOVA Chemicals, SK geo centric Co. and Sealed Air.

“We saw the speed with which Closed Loop Partners’ Circular Plastics Fund put capital to work and determined that investing in the fund would help address our impact goals,” said Rick Wagner, Sustainability Policy & Program Manager at CPChem. “Collaboration will be a key component in advancing the transition to a circular economy. We look forward to joining the Circular Plastics Fund and furthering work to achieve a more sustainable future.”

In just its first year, the Circular Plastics Fund made significant investments in a range of solutions, including cutting-edge sortation technology and recycling infrastructure for plastics. Investments include:

  • SMR (formerly Sims Municipal Recycling), a leading recycling company managing several municipal recycling programs across the United States;
  • Myplas, a new state-of-the-art 170,000-square-foot flexible film recycling plant in Minnesota;
  • Greyparrot, a leading AI waste analytics platform that improves transparency and automation for plastics sortation in recycling facilities;
  • And additional debt financing to Waste Commission of Scott County, a solid waste district in Northeast Iowa.


“The Closed Loop Circular Plastics Fund’s investments work to catalyze a systemic shift in plastics supply chains, enabling companies to transition from a linear to circular model that utilizes recycled materials,” said Jennifer Louie, Head of the Circular Plastics Fund at Closed Loop Partners. “Looking ahead, we have a strong pipeline of companies across the plastics recycling value chain and need more capital to invest in these critical solutions. This additional $10 million from our new investors will allow us to accelerate our capital deployment and reach our impact goals. We hope to see other companies with circular plastics goals join to help us achieve impact at scale.”

Closed Loop Partners launched the Circular Plastics Fund as part of its broader strategy to reduce, reuse and recycle plastics. The fund provides catalytic debt and equity financing, spurring additional mainstream investments into recycling solutions and infrastructure that can help address bottlenecks in the recycling system for PE, PP and flexible plastics––materials deemed critical to ensuring that the industry’s growing demand for high-quality recycled material will be met.

The current supply of recycled plastics meets only 6% of the demand for the most commonly used plastics in the United States and Canada. Increasing the recovery and circularity of plastics, alongside material reduction solutions, scalable reuse systems and innovative new materials, not only can prevent millions of tons of plastics from going to landfills or ending up in the natural environment, but can help meet an addressable market for plastics with potential revenue opportunities of $120 billion in the U.S. and Canada alone. With plastic waste expected to triple by 2060[1], the need for investments has grown even more urgent.

“The investment from the Closed Loop Circular Plastics Fund was critical to our expansion into the U.S.,” said Andrew Pieterse, CEO of Myplas USA, a portfolio company of the Circular Plastics Fund. “The fund played a critical role to help bring key stakeholders from across the plastics value chain to grow much-needed regional circular systems for flexible plastics in the U.S. We are thrilled to leverage the fund’s capital and strong network to help us build a successful initial operation in Minnesota followed by ambitious expansion plans to other parts of the Midwest and beyond.”

“We chose to invest through Closed Loop Partners because of their shared sense of urgency to invest in high-impact businesses that can scale to match the global plastic waste challenge,” said Hemal Vyas, Vice-President of Sustainability and Strategy, Charter Next Generation.

Closed Loop Partners, a leading circular economy investment firm, has over $500 million in assets under management, and has made over 65 investments, keeping 3.6 million tons of materials in circulation and avoiding 6.8 million tonnes of CO2e to date. The firm’s vision for a circular economy includes a circular future for plastics––one that reduces the need to extract virgin resources, harnesses design innovation and material science, and champions reuse models and new product delivery models.

CPChem and CNG are investors in the Circular Plastics Fund, and Myplas USA is a portfolio company of the Circular Plastics Fund. No material conflicts of interest are present as none of these three entities received any compensation for their comments.


About the Closed Loop Circular Plastics Fund at Closed Loop Partners

The Closed Loop Circular Plastics Fund provides catalytic financing to build circular economy infrastructure and improve the recovery of polypropylene and polyethylene plastic in the U.S. & Canada, returning plastics to more sustainable manufacturing supply chains for use as feedstock for future products and packaging. Learn more about the Fund’s investment criteria and apply for funding here.

The Fund’s goal of optimizing recovery infrastructure is one part of Closed Loop Partners’ broader initiative of Advancing Circular Systems for Plastics. This initiative prioritizes scaling reuse and refill models and reducing material usage in design, while bolstering the recovery infrastructure to address plastics waste.


About Closed Loop Partners

Closed Loop Partners is at the forefront of building the circular economy. The company is comprised of three key business segments: an investment firm, innovation center and operating group. The investment firm invests in venture, growth equity, buyout and catalytic private credit strategies on behalf of global institutions, corporations and family offices. The innovation center, the Center for the Circular Economy, unites competitors and partners to tackle complex material challenges and implement systemic change to advance circularity. The operating group, Circular Services, has twelve recycling facilities in operation today, and provides holistic, circular materials management to close the loop on valuable materials for municipalities and businesses throughout the United States. Closed Loop Partners is based in New York City and is a registered B Corp. For more information, please visit



Closed Loop Partners Releases Playbook of Tangible Single-Use Plastic Bag Reduction Solutions for Retailers

By Closed Loop Partners

Playbook highlights tried and tested solutions from partners in the Consortium to Reinvent the Retail Bag that can drive near-term, positive environmental impact and cost savings

NEW YORK, March 14, 2023 — Closed Loop Partners’ Center for the Circular Economy and its Consortium to Reinvent the Retail Bag released a new playbook to provide near-term single-use bag reduction wins that can be implemented by any retailer–– from small local stores to large national brands. The resource highlights effective solutions to reduce the number of bags needed by retailers and encourage the use of reusable bags customers already have at home. Key insights from the playbook are based on research, interviews, surveys and learnings from 17 of the world’s leading retailers across four key categories: communications, employee training, bag and fixture design, and customer incentives.

The playbook highlights 25 strategies across these four categories that cater to retailers who are at different stages of their journey. These strategies include detailed guidance on how best to prompt customers to bring their own bags, where to place reusable bags, items retailers can skip bagging, which customer incentives can be deployed and other strategies. The playbook insights are the product of a first-of-its-kind collaboration among Closed Loop Partners and many of the world’s leading retailers, including 14 retail partners in the Consortium to Reinvent the Retail Bag and three external retailers. Experts from Closed Loop Partners led the creation of the playbook, supported by retail consultancy, McMillanDoolittle, who performed quantitative and qualitative surveys and deep-dive interviews with retailers, supplemented with secondary research and analysis.

Reducing the number of single-use bags that retailers use across their stores can make a tremendous difference. Even a 1% bag reduction has a significant impact on our global waste footprint––in the U.S., that is equivalent to 1 billion fewer bags used and discarded. Beyond driving progress toward sustainability goals, using fewer single-use bags can also help retailers reduce costs, address challenges in stocking bags, engage employees, support customers, and build brand reputation and loyalty.

“Our new playbook walks retailers through strategies they can implement today to get teams and customers on board with reducing single-use bags in stores and encourage shoppers to reuse their own bags,” said Kate Daly, Managing Director of the Center for the Circular Economy at Closed Loop Partners. “This tool is for retailers who are looking for quick wins and those seeking innovative, new approaches. We hope these insights serve as an inspiration to retailers looking to reduce their plastic footprint and deploy bag reduction solutions.”

The Consortium to Reinvent the Retail Bag has been working to reimagine the retail bag in the store and across emerging channels like local delivery since its launch in 2020. The last three years have shown significant progress––growing from five retail partners to 15, and deploying more than 6,000 iterative tests, surveys and pilots across markets to help accelerate learnings and the development of sustainable bag solutions. This year, the Consortium will go back into market on a larger scale, testing different complementary strategies to reduce single-use bags. This work will build on the Consortium’s different workstreams––innovation, customer research, policy and infrastructure––and efforts to date. There is no silver bullet to addressing a global plastics waste challenge, and the diverse in-market efforts represent the multi-pronged holistic approach of the Consortium.

In Spring 2023, Consortium partners will test multiple strategies from the Playbook simultaneously in two cities in Arizona and Colorado, launching signage, marketing and customer prompts across stores. The goal of these tests is to enable a broader cultural shift towards customers bringing their own reusable bags from home. The Consortium is inviting other retailers––from mom-and-pop shops to large brands––to join and test the same prompts, signage and marketing materials in order to have the broadest reach with customers and to create ecosystem-wide impact.

Meanwhile, in New Jersey, where there is legislation banning single-use bags in certain stores, the Consortium will test a “returnable bag service” model in which customers are “borrowing” a bag onsite, reusing it before eventually returning it at the same or different retailer’s store to be washed, redistributed and reused by additional customers. This offers a solution for when customers forget to bring their own reusable bags.

Interested retailers can email [email protected] to inquire about joining the Consortium to Reinvent the Retail Bag to gain access to useful research, insights and continued in-market experimentation as well as potentially participate in pilots in Arizona and Colorado.

Learn more at

About the Center for the Circular Economy at Closed Loop Partners

The Center for the Circular Economy at Closed Loop Partners unites competitors to tackle complex material challenges and to implement systemic change that advances the circular economy. Adept at navigating every step in the value chain, Closed Loop Partners brings together designers, manufacturers, recovery systems operators, trade organizations, municipalities, policymakers and NGOs to create scalable innovations that target big system problems. The Center’s first initiative, the NextGen Consortium, assembled leading food and beverage companies, including McDonald’s and Starbucks, to identify and commercialize a widely recyclable, compostable and/or reusable cup. 12 winning cup solutions were selected and the Consortium is supporting the testing of these new solutions as well as conducting select pilots to accelerate their path to scale. Learn more about the Center’s work here.

About the Consortium to Reinvent the Retail Bag

The Beyond the Bag Initiative, launched by the Consortium to Reinvent the Retail Bag, aims to identify, pilot and implement viable design solutions and models that more sustainably serve the purpose of the current retail bag. Closed Loop Partners’ Center for the Circular Economy launched the initiative with Founding Partners CVS Health, Target and Walmart. The Kroger Co. joined as Grocery Sector Lead Partner, DICK’S Sporting Goods joined as Sports & Outdoors Sector Lead Partner, Dollar General as Value Sector Lead Partner, TJX as Apparel & Home Goods Sector Lead Partner, and Ulta Beauty as Beauty Sector Lead Partner. Ahold Delhaize USA Brands, Albertsons Companies, H-E-B, Hy-Vee, Meijer, Wakefern Food Corp., and Walgreens are Supporting Partners, and Conservation International and Ocean Conservancy serve as Environmental Advisory Partners. Learn more about the Consortium here.

Contact: [email protected]


Apkudo Secures $37.5 Million in Series C Funding, Accelerating Growth of its Circular Industry Platform for Connected Devices   

By Apkudo

February 15, 2023

The Apkudo Circular Industry Platform enables supply chain efficiency and transparency across the lifecycle of connected devices, supporting smart decision making and strengthening repair, resale and recycling markets

Baltimore, MD — February 15, 2023—Apkudo, the leader in supply chain automation for connected devices, announced today that they have closed $37.5 million in Series C funding in an oversubscribed round co-led by Closed Loop Partners’ Leadership Fund and Piper Sandler Merchant Banking with the participation from new and existing investors including MissionOG, Harbert Growth, Grotech Ventures, Lavrock Ventures, and Point Field Partners. During 2022, Apkudo continued its rapid growth and doubled revenue as industry players increasingly looked for ways to simplify and optimize their forward and reverse logistics for connected devices like mobile phones, tablets, laptops, wearables and other products. The company will use the funds to further expand their commercial and technical operations, as well as their international presence.

The Apkudo Circular Industry Platform solves for complexities in the connected device supply chain, delivering process efficiencies via a single operating system that manages the lifecycle of these devices, from launch to end of life. Already, Apkudo has connected and optimized the device supply chains for some of the world’s largest manufacturers, network operators, insurers, retailers, logistics providers, repairers and traders. Customers like FedEx, T-Mobile and Asurion have more transparency, security and connectivity across the supply chain for connected devices.

The Platform leverages both hardware and software technology purpose-built to maximize value from resale, repair and reuse while eliminating e-waste and improving profit margin and agility. Instead of relying on extensive labor, disconnected systems and limited reuse options, Apkudo provides a fully integrated diagnostic, dispositioning and marketplace solution that gives customers real-time visibility into global demand for their used devices. This comprehensive solution has saved a large mobile carrier over $100 million by improving inventory visibility and, for a global logistics company, reduced warehouse processing times by 30%.

More than six billion mobile phones alone are currently circulating and this number is expected to grow rapidly with increasing connectivity and consumption across the globe. These electronic devices are made of valuable resources, from the rare earth metals contained in their batteries to their individual electronic components. Yet today, less than 20% of electronics are collected, refurbished or recycled worldwide, which translates to a lost value of more than $50 billion each year. Furthermore, these devices contain several hazardous materials and when not managed properly at end-of-life, pollute air and groundwater at an alarming rate. Apkudo’s technology creates greater transparency and resiliency across the electronic device value chain, empowering businesses to make smart decisions regarding their devices, from launch, to forward logistics, to return, reuse and recycling at a device’s end-of-life.

“Velocity, accuracy, and transparency are required attributes of efficient, effective circular supply chains,” said Josh Matthews, CEO and Co-founder of Apkudo. “The Apkudo Circular Industry Platform is transformative in its approach to connecting industry participants and optimizing these outcomes for each and every device that moves through it.”

“There is so much value within the connected devices already in the market today. Increasing their useful life and keeping these valuable materials in circulation, and out of landfills and the environment, is a critical part of accelerating the circular economy,” said Martin Aares, Head of Asset Management at Closed Loop Partners. “Apkudo is helping build a circular future for connected devices––one that is more transparent and agile. We look forward to working with the Apkudo team as they accelerate the systems change needed for a waste-free future.”

“It’s actually a simple question – what should I do with this device, right now?”, added Seth Harward, managing director, Piper Sandler Merchant Banking. “But it took Apkudo to recognize all the pieces needed to answer that question, then build the solution that customers needed, and then finally make it easy for companies to use. This additional investment will help Apkudo get their solution to companies all over the world looking for a better way.”

To learn more, please visit For media inquiries, please contact [email protected]


About Apkudo

Headquartered in Baltimore, MD with offices around the world, Apkudo helps companies managing connected devices to maximize device value, minimize labor costs and reduce e-waste. Apkudo’s Circular Industry Platform provides a full suite of decision-support and operating tools: automated testing and grading systems, device lifecycle management and resale market integration. As a result, Apkudo customers always have the answer to the question, “What should I do with this device, right now?”

About Closed Loop Partners

Closed Loop Partners is at the forefront of building the circular economy. The company is comprised of three key business segments: an investment firm, innovation center and operating group. The investment firm invests in venture, growth equity, buyout and catalytic private credit strategies on behalf of global institutions, corporations and family offices. The innovation center, the Center for the Circular Economy, unites competitors and partners to tackle complex material challenges and implement systemic change to advance circularity. The operating group, Circular Services, has twelve recycling facilities in operation today, and provides holistic, circular materials management to close the loop on valuable materials for municipalities and businesses throughout the United States.

Closed Loop Partners is based in New York City and is a registered B Corp. For more information, please visit

About Piper Sandler Merchant Banking

Piper Sandler Merchant Banking (PSMB) is the growth equity investment arm of Piper Sandler Companies (NYSE: PIPR). Our team strives to partner with founders and CEOs of growing, commercial stage businesses that can benefit by leveraging Piper Sandler’s knowledge, experience, capital and relationships to build market leading enterprises. PSMB provides investment advisory services through the affiliated registered investment adviser, PSC Capital Partners LLC.  Learn more about Piper Sandler Merchant Banking.

With Investment from Closed Loop Partners, Hyran Technologies Aims to Increase Agility in Fashion Supply Chains and Reduce Textile Waste  


February 14, 2023

New York, NY, Feb 14 – Hyran Technologies (Hyran), a collaborative, AI-driven fashion supply chain planning and production platform, announces investment from Closed Loop Partners’ Ventures Group. Through their platform, Hyran aims to optimize product development and manufacturing while reducing excess production and textile waste. The company envisions a future that disrupts traditional methods for inventory planning and enables collaboration between factories, suppliers and brands with value chain alignment and shorter design-to-shelf cycles.

Overproduction is one of the primary sources of waste in the fashion industry today, as waste has historically been seen as a cost of doing business in a globalized supply chain with strong competitive pressures that strained brand and supplier relationships. Orders are often overestimated and misaligned with demand signals, resulting in large volumes of overproduced apparel that are ultimately sent to landfill. Not only does this exacerbate the global waste crisis, but it also results in economic challenges for both fashion brands and suppliers. Rapid trend changes, increased geopolitical risk and pressures to adopt more sustainable practices have increased risk for those who continue to operate with legacy supply chain infrastructure.

Hyran’s platform intends to leverage real-time upstream and downstream supply chain data, providing brands and suppliers with visibility into raw material availability and manufacturing capacity, and connecting them with point-of-sale demand signal. This aims to better match production with customer demand by using artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques to generate optimal, real-time production plans spanning multiple tiers in the supply chain. Led by co-founders Ahmed Zaidi, University of Cambridge Computer Science PhD with decades’-long family business in apparel manufacturing, and Jordan Zhang, software engineer who built robust machine learning platforms that scaled within leading tech ecosystems, Hyran is bringing together the best of fashion and computer science to build a solution for the industry and for the planet. Ultimately, they aim to help brands build data-driven supply chains, minimize unsold inventory and reduce waste.

“The fashion industry accounts for an estimated 8-10% of global greenhouse gas emissions and is under increasing pressure to address its contribution to global waste,” said Caroline Brown, Managing Director at Closed Loop Partners and former CEO of global fashion houses. “In the face of a great need for new technologies to support a sustainable transition in the retail supply chain, the entrepreneurs at Hyran are envisioning the future of production.”

“Hyran Technologies’ vision is to reduce waste and excess inventory in the fashion industry by enabling speed and flexibility in the supply chain, rather than by trying to predict demand months ahead of time, as is standard practice now,” said Ahmed Zaidi, Co-Founder and CEO of Hyran Technologies. “By breaking down historical silos and strengthening connections between manufacturers and brands, we aim to tackle fashion’s overproduction problem with a fundamentally new approach. Our team of fashion industry and AI experts looks forward to working with manufacturers and brands across the industry, as we build the more transparent, connected, agile fashion supply chains of the future.”

“To build efficiencies and reduce waste in supply chains, we must first build connectivity across shared interests, and Hyran’s platform aims to make this possible,” said Danielle Joseph, Managing Director and Head of the Ventures Group at Closed Loop Partners. “Hyran’s focus on breaking down long-standing silos in the fashion supply chain can enable collaboration and unlock shared economic benefits, ultimately aiming to minimize waste generated through the supply chain. We look forward to working with the team to scale solutions advancing a waste-free future for the fashion industry.”

As Hyran takes flight in the coming months, they are seeking partnerships with manufacturers, brands and retailers with the interest and ability to explore data-driven supply chain management within their operations. Hyran has now begun discussions with brands and manufacturers to find partners keen to integrate these capabilities into their supply chains.




About Hyran Technologies

Hyran aims to help fashion brands minimize unsold inventory and waste and maximize profit by increasing the speed and flexibility of the supply chain. Emboldened through the challenges of a decades’-long family business in apparel manufacturing, combined with deep expertise in AI, the Hyran team brings novel technology to antiquated systems––helping fashion brands and suppliers collaborate toward a more agile, connected and waste-free future for fashion. This supplier-led, AI-optimized planning approach helps meet consumer demand while minimizing excess production and waste, and the costs that go with it, throughout the supply chain. Better for people, better for brands, better for the planet.

If you’re a supplier looking to differentiate your value proposition and better serve brands in your network, or a brand trying to get consumers the products they want when they want them, reach out here to explore if you could be a strong candidate for early product discussions with Hyran.


About Closed Loop Partners 

Closed Loop Partners is at the forefront of building the circular economy. The company is comprised of three key business segments: an investment firm, innovation center and operating group. The investment firm invests in venture, growth equity, buyout and catalytic private credit strategies on behalf of global institutions, corporations and family offices. The innovation center, the Center for the Circular Economy, unites competitors and partners to tackle complex material challenges and implement systemic change to advance circularity. The operating group, Circular Services, has twelve recycling facilities in operation today, and provides holistic, circular materials management to close the loop on valuable materials for municipalities and businesses throughout the United States. Employing innovative technology within reuse, recycling, remanufacturing and re-commerce solutions, Circular Services improves regional economic and environmental outcomes by building resilient systems to keep food & organics, textiles, electronics, packaging and more, in circulation and out of landfill or the natural environment.

Closed Loop Partners is based in New York City and is a registered B Corp. For more information, please visit


About the Closed Loop Ventures Group at Closed Loop Partners 

Closed Loop Partners’ venture capital arm launched in 2017 with one of the first venture funds dedicated solely to investing in early-stage companies developing breakthrough solutions for the circular economy. The Closed Loop Ventures Group targets leading innovations in material science, robotics, agri-tech, sustainable consumer products and advanced technologies that further the circular economy. The Closed Loop Venture Fund II builds on the venture capital group’s first fund’s strategy, supported by an existing portfolio with strong financial performance, coupled with robust environmental and social impact. To learn more about the Closed Loop Ventures Group, visit the Closed Loop Partners’ website.

Reuse Series

Four Key Needs for the Growth of Reuse in 2023  

By Carolina Lobel and Georgia Sherwin

February 13, 2023

Many large consumerfacing brands are making sustainable packaging commitments that go beyond recycling and into the world of reuse. That’s an important step that must be supported by other ecosystem-wide advances that make reuse an easy choice for customers. 

Looking back at 2022  

Last year, most reuse success stories for foodware and packaging happened in closed or semi-closed environments, where logistics management and returns are simpler to handle. Think of the cups and food containers used in venues such as restaurants, college campuses, stadiums, or office buildings. While reuse models in these closed or semi-closed spaces suffered during the height of COVID-19, due to increased sanitation concerns and venue shutdowns, 2022 saw them rebound, with significant momentum among reuse innovators in this space. Some examples include: 

  • r.Cup continued their partnership with AEG and NIVA, expanding past Denver to launch wash hubs in Seattle, Los Angeles and San Francisco, bringing reusable foodware to venues, movie studios, museums, sports arenas, universities and corporate campuses.  
  • TURN, a long-time partner of Live Nation and C3 group, continues to roll out reusable cups across their US venues, stadiums, and music festivals. Programs with Oak View Group and Delta Airlines went live last month. TURN also announced building two new US-based wash hubs, supporting growth in Atlanta and Los Angeles.   
  • Re:Dish worked with corporations, cultural institutions, and K-12 schools across the New York DMA to replace their single use disposable packaging with reusable containers, plates and cups. In 2022, Re:Dish expanded their Brooklyn-based industrial washing hub to enable the washing and delivery of 75,000 units daily per line.  
  • Bold Reuse now offers reusable food trays for the Portland Trail Blazers at the Rose Quarter and partnered with Park City, Utah to collect reusable takeout containers from local restaurants. 

Closed or semi-closed environments are a key starting point for the transition from single-use to reuse. They offer optimal conditions to introduce customers to reuse systems, and pave the way for expanding reuse into open environments and moving the needle on eliminating single-use plastic packaging waste. In 2022, we saw progress here too, with companies launching open environment pilots throughout the U.S. and beyond. In these pilots, customers could “borrow” reusable packaging on-the-go––whether a bag, cup or foodware––and later take it back to a return bin (instead of a trash bin) in stores or select drop off points in transit hubs or public spaces once the packaging was no longer needed. Some examples include:  

  • Starbucks launched multiple reusable cup pilots globally, building upon the learnings from its 2021 Seattle pilot 
  • Coca-Cola and Burger King partnered with Loop to test reusable cups and containers in the U.S. 
  • Loop also worked with major brands to launch reuse pilots at Kroger in Portland, Giant in Washington, DC, and Walmart in Arkansas.  
  • DeliverZero, in New York and Colorado, and Dispatch Goods, in the Bay Area, continued to expand their offerings of returnable takeout containers.  
  • The Rounds, a zero-waste refill and delivery service that launched in 2020 in Philadelphia, expanded its offering of home delivery of everyday goods in reusable containers to three more cities, DC, Atlanta and Miami, in ’21 and 2022. They partnered with Topanga, a software company, to track its reusable containers throughout their lifecycle. 
  • Topanga also partnered with Grubhub to pilot zero-waste dining on campuses nationwide, and is continuing to build track-and-trace technology to power reuse systems at scale.  
  • Returnity continued to grow reuse programs for major brands across diverse industries such as New Balance, Rent the Runway, and Estee Lauder while expanding into food delivery with The Rounds and others.   
  • Goatote launched their borrow-a-bag program at select CVS Health, Target, and Stop & Shop stores in New Jersey, expanded their program in Colorado, and launched in Ontario, Canada. 
  • In Canada, Muuse partnered with DreamZero and the Government of Toronto to launch a Neighbourhood Zero Waste Zone for Muuse Reusables in Toronto East, and integrated its first pizza box for takeaway customers. 
  • In Vancouver, Tim Hortons launched a reusable cup pilot operated by ShareWares and Return-It launched a multi-brand reusable and single-use cup collection pilot.   

Getting these open environment pilots off the ground is a huge step in introducing reusable packaging to customers and operators in the field. To accelerate uptake and scale of these solutions, continued collaboration and experimentation are more important than ever.  

So, what will it take in 2023 and beyond to enable uptake of reusables in open environments?  

1. Legislative policies need to evolve to incorporate more explicit language around reuse and lessons learned from single-use plastic bans to avoid potential unintended consequences  

In 2022, we saw regulatory pressures from single-use plastic bans growing, with many cities and states either passing or considering single-use plastic bans utilizing California, New Jersey, and Massachusetts ordinances and legislation as leading examples. Public policy plays a critical role in driving meaningful impact and oftentimes is the first step to inspire broader change. For example, in New Jersey, single-use bags were banned from grocery and super stores to help enable reuse, resulting in a significant decrease in purchase of single-use plastic bags. However, our customer research found that 87% of customers in New Jersey said they have enough, more than enough or too many reusable bags. While the policy has resulted in a significant decrease in the use of single-use plastics bags, we need to ensure complementary interventions, incentives and tactics are implemented that support customers to bring their own bags back into store so that reusable bags achieve their intended reuse. Looking ahead, policy will be a key enabler to promote a cultural shift towards reusables. Policymakers, advocacy groups and industry players will need to work together to pass regulations that advance reuse models that are measured and tracked and learn from existing examples of where policy has or hasn’t worked. 

2. Widespread consistency in messaging and education for customers around reuse systems will make the difference in adoption rates

Asking customers to return packaging can be challenging.  In 2022, we saw engagement growing slowly, but it will take consistent messaging over time and across industry players to create a cultural shift. Besides messaging and education, most reuse programs are still refining their business models to make their systems more convenient for customers. While many programs started with technology requirements (account creation, app download, sign-up process and more), we are seeing a shift towards solutions that, despite being tech-enabled, do not require additional digital steps from customers.  

3. Identifying opportunities for shared reuse infrastructure, for example washing or transportation partners, and shared collection points will help create economies of scale  

It will take more than one company to create a sustained and scalable system to collect and prepare reusable packaging for its next life cycle. Low volumes within reuse systems create challenges for financial viability, whereas shared infrastructure could drive efficiencies in the system. Ways to build shared infrastructure can include aggregating washing vendors for multiple reuse products and leveraging empty trucks on their way back from delivering goods (known as “milkruns”), among other things.  

4. Data transparency and measurement will be critical in ensuring new reuse systems achieve their intended environmental, social and economic impact  

Packaging material choices and end-of-life considerations are foundational to ensuring that a reuse system is better for the environment. For example, a stainless-steel cup with a return rate lower than 95% could be worse for the environment than a single-use cup given the high carbon footprint for steel production. In 2022, many brands identified polypropylene plastic as their go-to material for food-service containers. In 2023 and beyond, continuous exploration and careful evaluation of materials based on their intended use and actual (not aspirational) rates of reuse will continue to be critical. Important considerations around end-of-life recovery pathways, how energy intensive the material is to extract, cost and customer happiness need to be weighed before scaled production begins. 


What’s ahead  

There is a lot to look forward to in 2023 when it comes to reuse. The landscape is rapidly evolving and growing, and the continuous learning and experimentation yields new insights and upends assumptions. At Closed Loop Partners’ Center for the Circular Economy, within our NextGen Consortium and Consortium to Reinvent the Retail Bag, we continue to deploy reuse solutions in the field, measuring the impacts of different policy, material selection choices, customer engagement strategies and reverse logistics mechanisms. The insights and data gleaned directly informs our strategy ahead, as we continue our focus on reuse as a critical means to addressing single-use plastic waste.  

Closed Loop Partners Joins Forces with U.S. Composters and Composting Industry to Launch Large-Scale In-Field Degradation Tests for Compostable Packaging


January 23, 2023

Data from the pilot will be shared to help shape international standards for field testing compostable packaging and contribute to the launch of an open-source results database

NEW YORK, NY—January 23, 2023— The Composting Consortium, a collaboration of industry partners managed by Closed Loop Partners, announced Monday the launch of its Compostable Packaging Degradation Pilot. The initiative is the most comprehensive collaborative study of real-world compostable packaging disintegration in the U.S. to date. The project marks a milestone for the Consortium, as it aims to improve available data on how certified, food-contact compostable foodware and packaging is currently breaking down at various types of composting facilities––from static piles to worms to GORE® covers. Participating facilities include Ag Choice; Atlas Organics; Black Earth Compost; The Foodbank, Inc. of Dayton, Ohio; Happy Trash Can Curbside Composting; Napa Recycling; Specialized Environmental Technologies, Inc.’s Empire Facility; Veteran Compost and Windham Solid Waste Management.

Working with these industrial composting facilities across the U.S., the Compostable Packaging Degradation Pilot will evaluate the disintegration of more than 30 types of certified compostable products and packaging––including compostable cutlery, molded fiber bowls, bioplastic cups and snack packaging––across facilities operating with varying climates, composting methods and equipment. Data gathered from the assessment will inform the Consortium’s broader work to align the rapid growth of compostable packaging with on-the-ground operational and business needs of industrial composters.

Pilot development was informed by the expertise of the Consortium’s partners, including key industry collaborators such as the US Composting Council (USCC) and the Compost Research and Education Foundation (CREF), as well as the Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI), BioCycle, Resource Recycling Systems (RRS) and consumer and packaging brand companies. These key stakeholders contributed technical knowledge to ensure that the pilot’s objectives, methodology and data align with the operational realities of composting facilities, as well as support circular and economically viable outcomes for composters.

Data collected from this pilot will be donated to the Compostable Field Testing Program (CFTP), a non-profit international research platform which facilitates field testing across North America. The CFTP is designed to develop comprehensive baseline data that correlates composting conditions with the disintegration of common compostable products and packaging. The Consortium’s donation of this data will accelerate the open-source publication timeline for the CFTP’s data set. Additionally, the Degradation Pilot will serve as a trial for the first, and still-developing, in-field standard for assessing disintegration of compostable items at compost facilities, under development within ASTM International. Results from this pilot will help to enhance and accelerate the final ASTM field test standard through ASTM Committee WK80528 for both mesh bag and bulk dose test methods. CFTP is supporting the Pilot by providing its methodology, composter training and operations. Resource Recycling Systems (RRS), a sustainability and recycling consulting firm, will administer the on-site data collection and lead the data analysis and reporting.

“The CFTP was collaboratively launched in 2016, knowing that our industry needed more open, available data about the correlations between composting conditions and the disintegration of common compostable products,” said Diane Hazard, Executive Director of the Compost Research and Education Foundation, a founding partner of the CFTP. “The Foundation is excited to be part of this important work. By donating data to the CFTP, Closed Loop Partners and its Composting Consortium help enable our organization to launch an open-source database on compostable packaging degradation results.”

The EPA estimates that around 4% of food waste is composted in the U.S., and as the composting landscape in the U.S. evolves, new materials are flowing through the organics stream. With these changes comes increasing pressure to successfully recover and process food scraps and food-contact compostable packaging. Many cities across the country are setting ambitious zero waste goals and, in some cases, mandating organics diversion. Amidst these efforts, the compostable packaging market is poised to grow 17% annually between 2020 and 2027, adding complexity to the challenge. With lookalike and imposter materials contaminating composting and recycling facilities, composters face challenges in efficiently processing inputs and maximizing valuable outputs.

“Systems change starts with understanding what is true in a supply chain today and partnering with stakeholders to create the future we want to see,” said Kate Daly, Managing Director of the Center for the Circular Economy at Closed Loop Partners. “We are grateful for our partnerships with industry leaders and compost facility operators as we identify a path forward to increased diversion of valuable resources from landfill while driving value for compost manufacturers.”

“Leading the way in innovation and technology is what we do at Atlas Organics,” said Jorge Montezuma, Director of Engineering. “Our joint team of operations and engineering will provide insights that will guide the compostable packaging industry forward for decades to come.”

The Degradation Pilot is a critical step in the Composting Consortium’s broader work to identify best practices in areas including consumer understanding of compostable packaging labeling and collection; sortation and sensing technologies; and policy. The Consortium will continue its collaborative work to build a roadmap for catalytic capital inputs that can support composting infrastructure in the U.S., find ways to increase the amount of food waste diverted from landfills and determine where compostable food packaging could add value to the system.


About the Composting Consortium

The Composting Consortium is a multi-year collaboration to pilot industry-wide solutions and build a roadmap for investment in technologies and infrastructure that enable the recovery of compostable food packaging and food scraps. The Composting Consortium is managed by Closed Loop Partners’ Center for the Circular Economy. PepsiCo and the NextGen Consortium are founding partners of the Consortium. Hill’s Pet Nutrition parent company Colgate-Palmolive, Danaher Foundation, Eastman, The Kraft Heinz Company, Mars, Incorporated, and Target Corporation joined as supporting partners, and the Biodegradable Products Institute, the US Composting Council and the U.S. Plastics Pact joined as industry partners. Our advisory partners include 5 Gyres, Foodservice Packaging Institute (FPI), Google, ReFED, Compost Research and Education Foundation (CREF), the Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC), TIPA, University College London (UCL), Western Michigan University (WMU), University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, and World Wildlife Fund (WWF). Learn more about the Consortium at

About the Center for the Circular Economy at Closed Loop Partners

Closed Loop Partners is at the forefront of building the circular economy. The company is comprised of three key business segments: an investment firm, innovation center and operating group. Closed Loop Partners brings together designers, manufacturers, recovery systems operators, trade organizations, municipalities, policymakers and NGOs to create, invest in, and support scalable innovations that target big system problems. In 2018, Closed Loop Partners launched its innovation center, the Center for the Circular Economy, which unites competitors to tackle complex material challenges and to implement systemic change that advances the circular economy. Learn more about the Center’s work at


About the US Composting Council

Founded in 1990, The US Composting Council advances compost manufacturing, compost utilization, and organics recycling to benefit our members, society, and the environment. Representing more than 800 members, about 500 of whom are manufacturers of compost, USCC’s mission is focused primarily on commercial compost manufacturing and marketing, and includes training, certification and education of compost facility operators; certification programs for compost testing; and lobbying and advocacy campaigns at the state and federal level.

About the Compost Research and Education Foundation

The Compost Research and Education Foundation, established in 1992, is an affiliate organization of USCC and supports initiatives that enhance the stature and practices of the composting industry by supporting scientific research, increasing awareness, and educating practitioners and the public to advance environmentally and economically sustainable organics recycling. The CREF has produced key publications that inform best practices for effective organics management, including the Test Methods for Evaluating Compost and Composting and the Compost Operations Training Course.

About the Compostable Field Testing Program

The Compostable Field Testing Program, or CFTP, is an international non-profit research platform which provides the method and materials to conduct field testing to composters across North America and beyond. Operating since 2016 as a collaborative venture between CREF and its partner BSIbio, the CFTP provides a standard test kit and a customizable protocol for the common ‘mesh bag method’. When participating facilities share back their results, this data is collected by the CFTP, aggregated and anonymized for eventual public release in an online database. This will provide comprehensive baseline data correlating composting conditions with the disintegration of common compostable products and packaging, enabling CREF, the public, the composting industry, compostable products industry and academics to develop tools for composters wanting to understand best practices for processing these feedstocks, and for product manufacturers to design products suited for real-world operating conditions.

About ASTM International

ASTM International is a globally recognized leader in the development and delivery of voluntary consensus standards. Today, over 12,000 ASTM standards are used around the world to improve product quality, enhance health and safety, strengthen market access and trade, and build consumer confidence. ASTM’s leadership in international standards development is driven by the contributions of its members: more than 30,000 of the world’s top technical experts and business professionals representing 140 countries. Working in an open and transparent process and using ASTM’s advanced IT infrastructure, ASTM members create the test methods, specifications, classifications, guides, and practices that support industries and governments worldwide. ASTM Committee WK80528 is developing the first in-field standard for measuring disintegration of compostable items. This field test method will be available for composters to assess how well compostable items break down in real world conditions.

About Atlas Organics

Atlas Organics is a leading composting company, providing municipalities, corporations, local businesses, and residential homes with access to commercial composting facilities that process organic waste streams. Atlas offers both pickup and delivery of the highest-quality grade of finished compost, soil blends, and mulches for use in agricultural settings, landscaping, golf courses, gardens, and site development projects across the United States. Founded in Spartanburg, SC in 2015, Atlas is now a Generate Upcycle company––owned and operated by sustainable infrastructure leader Generate Capital, PBC. Together we are rebuilding the world. For more information, please visit and




For further information contact:

Closed Loop Partners Media Relations

[email protected]


That’s the Circular Economy: How A Logistics Company Uses Empty Retail Spaces to Fix Supply Chains and Reduce Waste

By Closed Loop Ventures Group

December 20, 2022

A full logistics center inside a shopping mall––this is how Fillogic infuses agility into supply chains.

The company is at the center of one of today’s most pressing opportunities, as supply chain bottlenecks and logistics challenges elevate the need for streamlined, efficient movement of goods into and out of our homes and businesses. Today’s complex logistics system is coupled with a manufacturing system weighed down by overproduction, opacity and waste. The fashion industry alone has an average 40%[1] overproduction rate. This overloads production facilities and raises costs for brands as they hold unsold inventory for long periods. Eventually, most surplus products are landfilled or destroyed, wasting valuable resources. While legacy supply chains went unquestioned for many decades, their inefficiency has been apparent amidst the bottlenecks of the last two years.

The COVID pandemic accelerated the growth of e-commerce, and in its wake, return rates soared to over 20%[2]. Brittle retail supply chains bogged down by overproduction were unable to handle the spike. Today, if a garment is returned at all, it takes weeks or months until it is available for sale again––if it ever makes it back on shelf at all. This means that unsold and returned inventory can sit in a box for half of the apparel markdown cycle, and when it finally goes back to the retailer for sale, it is often already shopworn and damaged. This says nothing for the excess carbon emissions associated with the transport of that good through the network as returns make their way back to central distribution hubs.

The retail system operates as an omni-channel network and its weakness lies in its silos. If 100 pairs of jeans are shipped, they travel in one direction before branching into different sales channels: wholesale, retailer and e-commerce. These silos are often disconnected and managed by different parties. When items across these three channels are unsold or returned, they end up in consolidation centers mixed with different products. Brands have little to no data on that inventory. Without the backend infrastructure to connect these three channels and consolidate information, a holistic view of managed inventory is impossible––making it similarly challenging to reallocate products into the optimal sales channels. Inventory ends up in holding patterns instead of getting where it needs to go.

Networks, technology and infrastructure need to change quickly, but it’s never been more expensive to do so. Industry is looking for ways to use existing infrastructure more efficiently. That’s where Fillogic comes in.

Breaking Down Silos

Fillogic recognizes that if the same product (for example, a pair of jeans) is allocated across a brand’s wholesale, retail and e-commerce channels, then the three channels should be connected on the backend. That way, outbound, unsold, returned or lightly worn inventory can be reallocated to a channel where it will most likely sell, helping brands reach business goals and meet customers where they are while minimizing inventory idling in warehouses or backed up in transit.

Their technology intercepts unsold garments at the middle mile and redirects them across the appropriate channel. This reduces the need for retailers to markdown in stores to move inventory. Instead, they can resell these products––which are often part of the nearly 40% of inventory that’s sold at discount––at full price or at a slight markup, through a different channel or in a different store, and more quickly than should these items have languished in the existing logistics infrastructure.

To add speed and efficiency, Fillogic operates within existing spaces close to retailers and customers. They repurpose shopping malls and under-utilized retail spaces into local market logistics hubs that connect the retail network. They see opportunity in forgotten spaces: the truck tunnels and elbow joints––bringing value back into overlooked assets rather than building more infrastructure. They optimize existing inventory, both outgoing and returning, to unlock new revenue streams for brands, enable better margins on the sale of unsold items and the resale of returned goods, advancing reuse and meeting customer demand in the process. Ultimately, this keeps valuable products that otherwise could have gone to landfill in the hands of consumers.

Paving the Path for Growth

Closed Loop Partners’ Ventures Group invested in Fillogic in early 2022, recognizing the need for supply chain transparency to increase utilization of goods and keep those materials in circulation. According to the Circularity Gap report, 70% of greenhouse gas emissions are related to material production and use, bringing the circular economy, and increasing utilization rates of manufactured products to the center of climate conversations. Advancing more circular supply chains plays a key role in increasing resource efficiency and resiliency to bring products to market while limiting waste.

As more retailers cross geographic boundaries, Fillogic faces growth opportunities in North America and beyond. Bill Thayer, Founder and CEO of Fillogic, is developing retail partnerships alongside a close-knit team, many of whom have had long careers in logistics, store operations, ecommerce and technology. In Bill’s words, “[Other players have] spent hundreds of billions of dollars building logistic networks. At Fillogic, we feel that network already exists. By connecting [those sites] with technology, operations and infrastructure, we can use under-utilized infrastructure more efficiently…operating as nodes on existing supply chains and making that middle mile more efficient.” Fillogic’s technology platform connects these heavily siloed, disparate systems, a hub network that uses underutilized spaces, and a delivery marketplace that connects those two assets. Together, all three assets create an affordable, efficient, cost-effective and sustainable network using existing infrastructure where people live, buy new clothes and make returns.

Ultimately, Fillogic is helping to increase the resale and recapture of consumer goods. By doing this, Fillogic is optimizing existing processes––reducing costs, timelines and the percentage of excess or unsold inventory. This is a win for both financial officers and sustainability managers––and that’s the circular economy.