Accelerated Filtration Closes $1.5M Pre-Seed Funding Round, Led by Closed Loop Partners


July 12, 2022

A new era in fine particle industrial water filtration is here with the launch of the VelRay XTM, the debut product of Accelerated Filtration, Inc.

Midland, Mich. (July 12, 2022) – Accelerated Filtration, Inc. (AFI), a water filtration company based in Midland, Michigan that develops industrial water filtration technologies, announced today that it has raised $1.5 million in pre-seed funding. Closed Loop Partners’ Ventures Group led the financing round, with participation from Michigan Capital Network, Anthropocene Ventures and Oxcart Equity Partners.

The company will use the funding to advance product development, marketing and launch its first water filtration solution into the market later this year. AFI delivers packaged turn-key filtration solutions for the consistent removal of fine suspended solids in variable water streams. AFI’s innovative technology offers fine particle filtration for large and small water processing challenges across a range of industries and applications.

“Our product offers customers a compact, robust solution for removing fine particles from water and wastewater streams. Its ability to economically filter out low and high levels of suspended solids sets it apart as an extended range, fully automatic, fine particle filter,” said Scott Burr, President and CEO, Accelerated Filtration. “The VelRay XTM filter is an essential product needed to address growing global water challenges, enabling greater capability in processing source water, recycling and reusing process water, and treating wastewater. We’re thrilled our investors see the incredible value for the marketplace.”

The investment takes place amidst an increasingly urgent global water crisis. Already water stressed regions are becoming more so due to the effects of climate change and population growth. With world populations expected to exceed 9 billion by 2040, the increase in both urban and industrial demand will be competing for limited water resources. Technology developments in water processing are needed to enable a resilient and robust global water management capability.

“Building a circular economy that reduces waste means ensuring that all resources are efficiently managed and kept in circulation. As we face intersecting challenges with a growing world population and the critically urgent climate crisis, water has become one of the most important and valuable resources we need to manage,” said Danielle Joseph, Managing Director and Head of the Ventures Group at Closed Loop Partners. “Our investment in Accelerated Filtration is a key step forward in our work to advance a waste-free water management system. We look forward to working with their team to scale their technology for more efficient water recycling and reuse.”


About Closed Loop Partners
Closed Loop Partners is a leading circular economy-focused investment firm and innovation center. The New York-based investment firm manages venture capital, growth equity, private equity and catalytic capital funds. The firm’s business verticals build upon one another, bridging gaps and fostering synergies to scale the circular economy. Learn more at

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.

About Michigan Capital Network
Michigan Capital Network (MCN) MCN exists to educate, grow, and diversify the base of early-stage investors in communities across the state. Wealth creation through early-stage investing done well in turn helps create healthier, thriving communities and economies. To learn more about Michigan Capital Network, visit the Michigan Capital Network website.

About Anthropocene Ventures
Anthropocene Ventures is a global, early-stage venture capital firm investing in founders that leverage exponential technologies & hard science to make humanity more resilient. To learn more about Anthropocene Ventures, visit the Anthropocene Ventures website.

About Oxcart Equity Partners
Oxcart is a stage-agnostic private holding company investing to help catalyze a more just, equitable and ecologically sustainable future for the planet and all its inhabitants.

Scott Burr, President and CEO
Accelerated Filtration, Inc.

Source: Accelerated Filtration 

New Funding for Municipal Recycling Program Supports Purchase of Hi-Tech, Automated Recycling Trucks


June 28, 2022

Closed Loop Partners’ Infrastructure Fund Further Invests in Broken Arrow Municipal Authority to Advance Recycling Efficiency   

NEW YORK, NY (June 28, 2022) Closed Loop Partners announced Tuesday that its Closed Loop Infrastructure Fund (CLIF) signed and funded its second loan to the Broken Arrow Municipal Authority. The new loan of $1 million was used to support the Authority’s purchase of five new automated side loader recycling trucks. The new equipment bolsters the Authority’s existing fleet of 33 solid waste collection vehicles and will help increase the efficiency of collecting both solid waste and recyclable materials across the city.

The Closed Loop Infrastructure Group, which is responsible for managing and deploying capital from four different investment funds, including CLIF, timed the new loan with the reopening of the Tulsa Recycling & Transfer materials recovery facility in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Resuming operation is a critical milestone and precursor to financing the project, as it helps ensure that all the city’s collected recyclable materials have clear end-of-life pathways and have the highest potential of being kept in circulation for longer.

The Closed Loop Infrastructure Fund closed its first loan of $2.6 million to the Broken Arrow Municipal Authority in October 2020. The initial loan helped purchase over 37,000, 96-gallon recycling carts, three recycling trucks, and four maintenance vehicles.

“Our work is centered in advancing more efficient circular supply chains for recyclable materials––from the collection to processing stage,” said Ron Gonen, Founder & CEO of Closed Loop Partners. “The Broken Arrow Municipal Authority plays a key role in this work, building systems to ensure that valuable recyclable materials are collected and kept in circulation. We’ve made good progress advancing recycling in the Southwest U.S., and we look forward to seeing that continue.”

“The new equipment helps us increase our tonnage and diversion rates so that we’re diverting more waste from the landfill and into efficient recycling systems,” said Jerry Schuber, Director of Solid Waste and Recycling, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. “We have a goal of increasing diversion tonnage to 25% of solid waste generated. The new equipment will help tremendously with achieving that goal.”

Broken Arrow’s Recycling Program serves 35,000 households across the city.



About Closed Loop Partners

Closed Loop Partners is a New York-based investment firm comprised of venture capital, growth equity, private equity and catalytic capital, as well as an innovation center focused on building the circular economy. Investments align capitalism with positive social and environmental impact by reducing waste and greenhouse gas emissions via materials innovation, advanced recycling technologies, supply chain optimization and landfill diversion. Learn more at

About the Closed Loop Infrastructure Fund at Closed Loop Partners

Established in 2014 and funded by some of the world’s largest retailers, corporate foundations, technology and consumer goods companies. The Closed Loop Infrastructure Fund provides below-market rate loans to finance projects that build out circular economy infrastructure in the United States. Investors include 3M, Amazon, Coca-Cola, Colgate-Palmolive, Johnson & Johnson, BlueTriton, Keurig Dr Pepper, Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo, Danone North America, Danone Waters, Starbucks, Unilever and Walmart Foundation. Learn more about the Fund’s investment criteria and apply for funding here.

Matt Parker Joins Closed Loop Partners as CFO & Managing Director


June 23, 2022

June 23, New York, NY – Matt Parker, former Partner & Chief Financial Officer of New York-based venture capital firm Greycroft, has joined circular economy-focused investment and innovation firm Closed Loop Partners as Chief Financial Officer & Managing Director. Matt will manage the financial operations of Closed Loop Partners’ asset management business as well as the firm’s innovation hub, the Center for the Circular Economy.

Prior to joining Closed Loop Partners, Matt managed finance, legal and operations at Greycroft, a seed-to-growth venture capital firm, for eight years. During his time at Greycroft, he scaled the firm’s infrastructure from $600 million of capital raised to over $2 billion, with over 200 investments under management. His time at Greycroft is preceded by a notable career in strategic and operational financial management and alternative asset investing.

“Investment and innovation are critical pieces to building closed loop systems, and Closed Loop Partners has been a pioneer in accelerating the transition to the circular economy,” says Parker. “I am thrilled to join the entire Closed Loop Partners team and look forward to combining my finance and investment experience with the firm’s deep sector expertise.”

“Closed Loop Partners is at a key moment of growth as the circular economy becomes a top priority for investors and corporations working to meet climate goals,” says Ron Gonen, Founder & CEO of Closed Loop Partners. “With the circular economy driving a $4.5 trillion capital shift by 2030 globally, we are thrilled to have Matt join the Closed Loop Partners team to advance our firm’s strategic growth and capital optimization.”

The firm’s investments align capitalism with positive social and environmental impact by reducing waste and greenhouse gas emissions via materials innovation, advanced recycling technologies, supply chain optimization and landfill diversion. To date, the firm has made over 60 investments in solutions advancing circularity, which has led to 6.8 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions avoided and 3.6 million tons of materials kept in circulation.

Closed Loop Partners is a New York-based investment firm comprised of venture capital, growth equity, private equity and catalytic capital, as well as an innovation center focused on building the circular economy. Learn more at

Upstream and Closed Loop Partners Announce Finalists of The Reusies® 2022


June 15, 2022

Making Throw Away Go Away

The Reusies: “The Oscars of the Reuse Movement” celebrates heroes championing a world without waste


NEW YORK June 15, 2022 – Upstream, a non-profit sparking innovative solutions to plastic pollution, today announced the finalists of the Second Annual Reuse Awards, The Reusies® 2022. The Reusies is a groundbreaking awards program honoring changemakers developing a better way than throw-away, advancing systemic change and co-creating a world where we can get what we need and want without all the waste.  In 2021, the inaugural Reusies received nominations and submissions from over 1,200 leading startups, environmental activists and community leaders in the United States that are growing the reuse movement.  This year, with the growing momentum behind reuse, The Reusies is expanding upon that reach and furthering their mission of celebrating the heroes of the reuse movement across the United States and Canada.

The second annual Reusies awards ceremony will be livestreamed on September 29, 2022 and presented in partnership with circular economy-focused investment firm and innovation center, Closed Loop Partners.

“The 2022 Reusies continues the momentum and excitement from last year’s event and will celebrate the pioneers and innovators of the new reuse economy,” said Matt Prindiville, CEO and Chief Solutioneer at Upstream. “Our goal is to highlight the individuals and organizations who recognize the urgency of the moment, and are working on the systemic changes we need to drastically reduce plastic pollution not in five or ten years, but right now.”

Honors to be awarded during the show include Most innovative Reuse Company, Corporate Initiative of the Year, Activist of the Year, and Reuse Community of the Year. Free tickets and VIP passes are available now at The final winners will be announced during the show.

“We face an urgent and growing global waste challenge,” said Bridget Croke, Managing Director at Closed Loop Partners. “We are proud to partner with Upstream on the annual Reusies to drive forward the reuse trailblazers and incredible ecosystem of innovators paving the way to a waste-free future. This is critical to our work to research, test and scale solutions that keep valuable materials in play and accelerate the transition to a circular economy.”

Upstream and Closed Loop Partners received hundreds of nominations from across the U.S. and Canada and the top finalists – selected by committees composed of The Reusies partners, experts and thought leaders across the industry – are all great examples of organizations and individuals who are advancing reuse from within their local communities to the biggest brands in the world .

The finalists for Most Innovative Reuse Company – expanded to four categories this year considering the exponential growth of the reuse movement since 2021 – are:

The finalists for the remaining three categories are:

Similar to last year, award winners will be selected by a combined panel of judges and public voting. Judges include:

  1. Cam Pascual, Senior Program Officer, Plastic and Waste, World Wildlife Fund

  2. Chris Dickerson, former MLB player/Co-Founder, Players for the Planet

  3. Doreen Wong, Entrepreneurship Lead, Sustainable Ocean Alliance

  4. Dr. Manasa Mantravadi, Pediatrician, Founder/CEO at AHIMSA®

  5. Michelle Tulac, Senior Project Manager – North America at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation 

  6. Suz Okie, Director of Design Strategy & Senior Analyst, Circular Economy at GreenBiz Group

  7. Poonam Watine, Knowledge Specialist, World Economic Forum

  8. William McDonough, Chief Executive, McDonough Innovation and Co-author, Cradle to Cradle: Remaking The Way We Make Things

The event will be broadcast on September 29, 2022 at 4:00 PM PT / 7:00 PM ET and will include profiles on the finalists, award presentations and special guest appearances.

General admission is free and opens today at All ticket holders are automatically entered to win a Gibson Hummingbird Guitar valued at $3,999 and generously donated by Gibson Gives.

VIP group packages which include a virtual watch party in a branded suite (10 screens), opportunity to host an in-person watch party (1 screen) with inclusion in the live broadcast and other perks are available for purchase ($2,500 for an individual host, $3,000 for a corporate host). Individual VIP tickets are also available at $250 each. Category-exclusive sponsorship, advertising opportunities and brand integrations are also available. For more information, email [email protected] For press inquiries, contact [email protected]; social: #TheReusies @Upstream_org @LoopFund.

Promotional partners of The Reusies 2022 include:

About Upstream: 

Upstream is an environmental non-profit sparking innovative solutions to plastic pollution by helping people, businesses and communities shift from single-use to reuse. The organization’s second annual National Reuse Awards (aka The Reusies), will take place virtually on September 29, 2022.  To learn more about all Upstream programs, visit and follow on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube.

About Closed Loop Partners:

Closed Loop Partners is a New York-based investment firm comprised of venture capital, growth equity, private equity and catalytic capital, as well as an innovation center focused on building the circular economy. Investments align capitalism with positive social and environmental impact by reducing waste and greenhouse gas emissions via materials innovation, advanced recycling technologies, supply chain optimization and landfill diversion. Learn more at

Closed Loop Partners Invests $5 Million In Myplas to Expand Polyethylene Recycling


June 07, 2022

Investment Will Help Catalyze a Circular Economy for PE Film and Food-Grade HDPE Packaging in the Upper Midwest

NEW YORK, NY (June 7, 2022) Closed Loop Partners announced Tuesday that its Closed Loop Infrastructure Fund and Closed Loop Circular Plastics Fund committed $5 million to help establish a state-of-the-art flexible film recycling plant in Minnesota. The project, led by the MBOLD coalition, brings the business community together with research institutions to develop a regional circular economy for flexible films and other plastic packaging materials in the Upper Midwest region of the U.S.

Closed Loop Partners’ funds represent investors including many of the world’s largest retailers, consumer goods companies, corporate foundations and material science companies. The investment in this project, launched by a coalition of Minnesota companies with MBOLD, aims to grow recycling infrastructure and increase the supply of recycled materials available for use. The facility will be the first in the United States for South African recycler Myplas. Slated to begin operations in spring 2023, this new 170,000-square-foot mechanical recycling plant will produce recycled LDPE pellets and food-grade HDPE pellets. It aims to recycle nearly 90 million pounds of material annually at full capacity, diverting these valuable materials from landfill.

“There is growing demand for recycled polyethylene across the value chain, yet only 11% of polyethylene film is recovered in North America today,” said Ron Gonen, Founder & CEO of Closed Loop Partners. “This new facility is an important piece of circular economy infrastructure needed to develop local market capacity to manage hard-to-recycle plastics. It’s projects like these that contribute to solutions to meet the demand for recycled materials, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, divert valuable materials from landfill and eliminate natural extraction.”

“This is a very important step to advance recycling capability in the U.S. and particularly in the Upper Midwest,” said Andrew Pieterse, CEO of Myplas USA. “We’re very excited and proud to establish our first plant in Minnesota with the State itself and many important global brands headquartered here, investing in and supporting this initiative. The funds and support provided by Closed Loop Partners will be critical to ensure our collective success.”

Myplas’ new $24 million plant is under construction in Rogers, Minn., northwest of Minneapolis, and at full capacity will employ about 300 people. Learn more about the project’s partners here.

About Closed Loop Partners

Closed Loop Partners is a New York-based investment firm comprised of venture capital, growth equity, private equity and catalytic capital, as well as an innovation center focused on building the circular economy. Investments align capitalism with positive social and environmental impact by reducing waste and greenhouse gas emissions via materials innovation, advanced recycling technologies, supply chain optimization and landfill diversion. Learn more at

About the Closed Loop Infrastructure Fund at Closed Loop Partners

Established in 2014 and funded by some of the world’s largest retailers, corporate foundations, technology and consumer goods companies. The Closed Loop Infrastructure Fund provides below-market rate loans to finance projects that build out circular economy infrastructure in the United States. Investors include 3M, Amazon, Coca-Cola, Colgate-Palmolive, Johnson & Johnson, BlueTriton, Keurig Dr Pepper, Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo, Danone North America, Danone Waters, Starbucks, Unilever and Walmart Foundation. Learn more about the Fund’s investment criteria and apply for funding here.

 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, Sealed Air and SK Geo Centric Co. Ltd. Learn more about the Fund’s investment criteria and apply for funding here

Closed Loop Partners’ Private Equity Fund Announces Final Close, Managing Assets In Excess of $200M  


June 06, 2022

Closed Loop Partners’ Leadership Fund Continues to Buy and Build Circular Economy Businesses that Mitigate Waste and Strengthen Circular Supply Chains

NEW YORK, NY (June 6, 2022) Closed Loop Partners announced Monday the successful final close of its Closed Loop Leadership Fund, managing in excess of $200 million of total assets. KIRKBI, funds and accounts managed by BlackRock, and Realdania’s mission-driven investment arm join existing investors including Nuveen, a TIAA company; Nestlé; Microsoft; PepsiCo; Unilever; SK Geo Centric Co., Ltd.; donor advised funds and a series of global family offices in Closed Loop Partners’ buyout investment strategy focused on building circular economy platforms across sectors.

Led by a team with decades of operating experience and investment expertise, the Fund’s strategy centers on scaling business models that advance circular supply chains to keep packaging, organics, electronics and apparel out of landfills and within a circular system. The Closed Loop Leadership Fund’s first investment was acquiring Balcones Resources, a top-tier, family-owned recycling business based in Austin, TX. In January 2022, the Leadership Fund led a consortium of investors to acquire the majority stake of Sims Municipal Recycling (SMR), which manages New York City’s municipal recycling contract, the largest in North America. Combined, the Closed Loop Leadership Fund portfolio helps keep over 920k tons of recycled materials in play per year.

“Transitioning to a circular economy represents a capital shift of $4.5 trillion by 2030, according to research. There are strong tailwinds of consumer demand, cost-savings and resiliency driving the shift away from a linear economy,” says Lynn Baranski, Global Head of Investments, BlackRock Private Equity Partners. “Closed Loop Partners has the expertise, thought leadership and differentiated execution ability to help capture the opportunity of this shift and drive positive economic, social and environmental outcomes through its investments.”

“Increased circularity is critical to advance more sustainable production systems and more efficient use of natural resources,” said Damir Hamzic, Head of Circular Plastics Investments at KIRKBI A/S. “Our investment in Closed Loop Partners’ Leadership Fund aims to accelerate circular solutions and ultimately contribute to global sustainable development.”

“Realdania’s mission-related investment in the Closed Loop Leadership Fund supports the development of the circular economy, that holds great potential for the environment and sustainability,” said Kenneth Lillelund Winther, Executive Director & CIO of Realdania. “Investing in the circular economy supports the sustainable management and use of natural resources and reduces waste through recycling and reuse.”

The Leadership Fund is the largest fund to date for Closed Loop Partners, a pioneer in circular economy-focused investing. Over the past eight years, Closed Loop Partners deployed capital across multiple asset classes to help accelerate the transition to a circular economy, while driving returns for investors. The Closed Loop Partners platform now manages over $475 million and has made over 60 investments since its inception.

“Since its launch in 2019, the Closed Loop Leadership Fund, our buyout strategy at Closed Loop Partners, has made significant strides acquiring and building businesses at the forefront of developing circular supply chains at scale,” says Ron Gonen, Founder & CEO of Closed Loop Partners. “This final close of the Fund, which includes a number of leading investors, is a milestone for the development of the circular economy.”

To date, Closed Loop Partners’ investments have kept 3.6 million tons of materials in circulation and avoided 6.8 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. The company’s vision and track record of successfully deploying capital toward circular solutions has enabled the shift away from inefficient, linear, extractive supply chains and toward more efficient, waste-free circular systems. The Leadership Fund is strategically positioned within the broader Closed Loop Partners ecosystem that is comprised of venture capital, growth equity, private equity, catalytic capital and an innovation center focused on building the circular economy.

“As an early investor in the Closed Loop Leadership Fund, one of our key goals was to drive increased investment in circular supply chains from the financial community as we continue our work to help create a waste-free future,” said Chastity McLeod, Director of Technical Packaging, Nestlé USA. “We are thrilled to see the growth and impact of the fund since its launch and are proud to close the fund with such a diverse group of investors that will help scale the solutions needed to advance a circular economy.”

About Closed Loop Partners

Closed Loop Partners is a New York-based investment firm comprised of venture capital, growth equity, private equity and catalytic capital, as well as an innovation center focused on building the circular economy. Investments align capitalism with positive social and environmental impact by reducing waste and greenhouse gas emissions via materials innovation, advanced recycling technologies, supply chain optimization and landfill diversion. Learn more at

About the Closed Loop Leadership Fund at Closed Loop Partners

The Closed Loop Leadership Fund is Closed Loop Partners’ private equity fund, focused on investing in best-in-class circular business models that are fundamental to keeping plastics and packaging, food and organics, electronics and textiles out of landfills and within a circular system.

To learn about the Closed Loop Leadership Fund, visit Closed Loop Partners’ website here.

SOLARCYCLE Raises $6.6 Million Seed Round to Rapidly Accelerate Buildout of Advanced Recycling Platform for the Solar Industry


June 01, 2022

OAKLAND, CA, JUNE 1, 2022 – SOLARCYCLE, a tech-driven solar system recycling platform, today announced that the company has raised $6.6 million in growth funding from leading renewable energy and circular economy investors – including SolarCity founders Peter and Lyndon Rive, former CEO/CTO of Sunpower Corporation Systems Tom Dinwoodie, Urban Innovation Fund, and Closed Loop Partners.

“At SOLARCYCLE we are driven by the urgent challenge to maximize the sustainability of the raw minerals needed to power the clean energy revolution,” said SOLARCYCLE CEO Suvi Sharma. “It is exciting to have the financial backing of investors who helped launch and scale the solar industry, as well as venture funds specializing in creating the needed infrastructure for the circular economy. This funding will allow us to scale our advanced recycling operations in North America, enabling us to start handling the millions of solar systems that will be retiring in the coming years.”

“Solar energy is the fastest-growing energy source in the U.S.,” said Julie Lein of Urban Innovation Fund. “But with more solar panels comes more waste. SOLARCYCLE has an exciting vision to transform the way we recycle and re-use solar panels – and they have the right team to pull it off. The Urban Innovation Fund is thrilled to back SOLARCYCLE.”

“Increasing amounts of solar panels are being replaced with newer versions. The older panels have high value metals like silver, aluminum, and high-grade silicon,” said Peter Rive, Co-founder and CTO of SolarCity. “I invested because SOLARCYCLE has a recycling system that could enable high volume, cost-effective recycling of solar panels at scale.”

“I was involved with commissioning the first wave of large and utility-scale solar installations, and I am excited to be involved with SOLARCYCLE,” stated Tom Dinwoodie, co-founder of Sunpower. “I firmly believe the transition to a renewable economy must be coupled with full attention to developing a circular economy for addressing the mineral scarcity and looming waste problem coming our way. The team at SOLARCYCLE is well positioned to turn this emerging problem into an opportunity, and I welcome them bringing their technical insight and innovation to address the recycling needs of the industry. I am confident that their success will ensure a better world for us all.”

“We are thrilled to invest in the visionary and accomplished team at SOLARCYCLE as they help build out circular economy infrastructure for the solar industry,” said Danielle Joseph of Closed Loop Partners. “As the demand for solar energy grows with an increasingly urgent climate crisis, it is critical that materials used for solar panels do not go to waste in landfills. SOLARCYCLE has the technology, operational experience and mission-driven passion to help address this emerging and pivotally important challenge at scale. We look forward to seeing them advance their climate-friendly and cost-effective platform to return more than 95% of all the valuable materials back into the solar supply chain.”


SOLARCYCLE, Inc ( is a technology-driven platform designed to maximize solar sustainability by offering solar asset owners a low-cost, eco-friendly, comprehensive process for recycling retiring solar panels and technologies and repurposing them for new uses. The company’s proprietary technology allows it to extract valuable metals such as silver, silicon, copper and aluminum and to recycle or repurpose 95% of panels currently in use. SOLARCYCLE was founded in 2022 by experts in solar technology, recycling and sustainability to accelerate build-out of the circular economy for solar and renewables.

Contact: Susan DeVico ([email protected] | +1 415 235-8758)



In-Store Reusable Bag Rental System Launches in New Jersey at Select CVS Pharmacy and Target Stores


May 19, 2022

A Beyond the Bag Challenge winner, GOATOTE, begins reusable bag pilots in New Jersey

New Jersey, 12 PM ET – Shoppers can now check out reusable bags at in-store kiosks and return them for fresh ones during their next shopping trip. This month, GOATOTE, a winner of the Beyond the Bag Challenge, is piloting their system in select CVS Pharmacy and Target stores across New Jersey, advancing reusable bag alternatives as the state enacts a ban on single-use plastic bags. GOATOTE’s reusable bag kiosks are available in stores across Jersey City, Howell Township, Watchung, North Plainfield, Wall and Marlton. For these pilots, GOATOTE is partnering with 99Bridges for the technology platform that powers their reusable bag system.

As an increasing number of policies, including New Jersey’s ban on single-use plastic bags, come into effect to help address the global plastic waste crisis, solutions that offer an alternative to the single-use plastic bag continue to gain traction. The rollout of GOATOTE and 99Bridges’ systems in New Jersey helps test and strengthen the viability of reusable bag systems, one critical solution to addressing single-use plastic bag waste.

In August 2021, as winners of the Consortium to Reinvent the Retail Bag’s Beyond the Bag Challenge, GOATOTE and 99Bridges participated in the Beyond the Bag pilots––first-of-a-kind multi-retailer reusable bag pilots managed by Closed Loop Partners, with Consortium Founding Partners CVS Health, Target and Walmart. These pilots helped increase collective understanding of the existing enablers of and/or barriers to sustainable design solutions, identifying what resonated most with customers, how customers and employees use reusable bag systems, what provides value to retailers, and how innovators’ solutions can evolve. GOATOTE and 99Bridges’ roll out in New Jersey builds on their participation in last year’s Beyond the Bag pilots, expanding on data points and best practices to help retailers, innovators and customers navigate the changing landscape for retail bags.

GOATOTE’s in-store kiosk to access clean, reusable bags. Photo by Kelsey Floyd.

“We’re excited to see GOATOTE and 99Bridges’ progress and continued work with the Consortium to Reinvent the Retail Bag Partners, such as CVS Health and Target. Their work today builds on the collaboration established through the Consortium, and the collective insights gained from the Beyond the Bag pilots, paving the path forward for more circular bag solutions,” says Kate Daly, Managing Director of the Center for the Circular Economy at Closed Loop Partners. “As the demand for reusable bag alternatives rises, especially amidst recent policy changes and a growing plastic waste crisis, we look forward to seeing continued impact on the ground, as innovators further develop and grow reusable bag solutions.”

“Testing these new solutions that can replace the single-use plastic retail bag builds on our deep commitment to creating a more sustainable world,” said Sheryl Burke, Senior Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility, CVS Health. “Over the last year, we’ve worked collaboratively with leading retailers and innovators to pilot these new solutions, and we’re excited to bring our customers in New Jersey along on this journey.”

“Our guests are feeling the growing burden of waste, and that includes single-use plastic retail bags,” said Amanda Nusz, senior vice president of corporate responsibility, Target. “Thanks to Beyond the Bag pilot innovators like GOATOTE, and the collective efforts of this consortium, we’re able to build circular capabilities in this space and bring our guests along with us, asking them to help co-create the sustainable and affordable solutions we know we need. We’re grateful to continue these important collaborations.”

“GOATOTE believes that implementing reusable bag systems in cities, states and countries that have enacted or are anticipating single-use plastic bag bans is critical to delivering ease for consumers while lessening impact on the environment,” says Renee Lundahl, Co-Founder of GOATOTE. “We are proud to collaborate with leading retailers to advance our reusable bag system on the ground and help make reuse mainstream!”

“Together, we are creating a game changing alternative to single-use plastic bags; it marks an exciting milestone to make reuse a reality,” says Derek Mak, Founder and CEO of 99Bridges. “Consumers will be all over our innovations! 99Bridges is delighted to be a strategic partner of GOATOTE to continue pushing the boundaries of what is possible.”

Moving forward, the Consortium to Reinvent the Retail Bag, which has worked with 9 winning innovators and convened 15 retailers to date, continues to support the progress of individual innovators, fostering connection and coordination with retailers and identifying best practices for impact on the ground. The Consortium will continue to test, listen, learn and collaborate to gather and disseminate the collective findings from a diverse suite of learning opportunities. The ongoing learnings will be shared with diverse stakeholders including policymakers, industry groups, NGOs, among others, helping to align incentives and efforts to enable the success of new systems. Ultimately, the Consortium, alongside our partners, aims to accelerate the catalytic change to a more circular system.

Find store locations and pricing to use GOATOTE’s reusable bag kiosks here.

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. 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.

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 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. IDEO is the Consortium’s Innovation Partner. Learn more about the Consortium here.


Minnesota-based Initiative Launches Circular Economy for Flexible Films


May 04, 2022

MBOLD coalition catalyzes new ecosystem to support a circular economy for flexible packaging and films in the Upper Midwest

ST. PAUL, Minn., May 04, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — A groundbreaking partnership led by Minnesota’s MBOLD coalition has united leading global businesses and research institutions to catalyze a regional circular economy for flexible films and packaging materials in the Upper Midwest. MBOLD members General Mills, Schwan’s Company, Target, Ecolab, Cargill, Land O’Lakes, Inc. and the University of Minnesota are collaborating across the value chain with film recycler Myplas USA, Inc. and film manufacturer Charter Next Generation.

This new initiative will expand film recycling infrastructure and the supply of recycled resin for use in new products, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and curtailing waste. With investment from MBOLD members and other stakeholders, Myplas USA will establish a state-of-the-art flexible film recycling plant in Minnesota, its first in the U.S. Slated to begin operations in spring 2023, this new 170,000-square-foot mechanical recycling plant aims to recycle nearly 90 million pounds of low- and high-density polyethylene packaging and film annually at full capacity.

“We are excited to collaborate across industries to advance recycling innovation for flexible films used in product packaging and more,” said Jeff Harmening, chairman and chief executive officer of General Mills and MBOLD co-chair. “This initiative reflects General Mills’ commitment to regenerating our planet and shows what’s possible when we work together to find creative solutions to shared challenges.”

The U.S. uses 12-15 billion pounds of flexible packaging and films annually, including select food packaging, shopping bags, shrink wrap, pallet wrap, e-commerce mailers, lawn and garden bags, and hay bale wrap, among many other products. However, only an estimated five percent of flexible films used in the U.S. are recycled each year, with the rest being landfilled, incinerated or even released into the environment.

“We are building a regional ecosystem to support circular approaches for flexible film,” said JoAnne Berkenkamp, managing director of MBOLD, an initiative of GREATER MSP. “By working together, we are catalyzing a new circular economy that will expand access to film recycling in the Upper Midwest, increase the supply of recycled resin for use in new film products and cut emissions.”

The initiative includes a combined $9.2 million equity investment in Myplas USA by lead investors General Mills, Schwan’s Company and Wisconsin-based film manufacturer Charter Next Generation, and supporting investors Target and Ecolab. Myplas’ new film recycling plant will be located in Rogers, Minn., northwest of Minneapolis, and will employ about 300 people.

Dimitrios Smyrnios, Schwan’s Company’s chief executive officer, said, “Reducing the environmental impact of our packaging is a core commitment for Schwan’s. That’s why we’re part of this joint equity investment in new recycling infrastructure. By returning flexible film to new uses, we can reduce waste and curtail dependence on virgin plastic. It’s good for the environment and our business.”

Compared with virgin plastics, studies show that use of recycled polyethylene resins offers significant life cycle benefits, including a 65 percent reduction in total energy used, a 59 percent reduction in water consumption and a 71 percent reduction in global warming potential1.

“Myplas has a deep passion for plastics recycling, and we’re proud to establish our first U.S. plant and our U.S. headquarters in Minnesota,” said Andrew Pieterse, Myplas USA chief executive officer. “Our partners’ commitment, investment and innovative thinking, paired with Myplas’ technical expertise, will be transformative for the entire region. We can’t wait to get started.”

Building demand for recycled polyethylene resin is also key to a thriving circular economy. To that end, Charter Next Generation will purchase recycled resin from Myplas for use in a variety of food, industrial and healthcare film products. MBOLD members Cargill, General Mills, Schwan’s Company, Land O’Lakes and the University of Minnesota will evaluate potential product applications using recycled resin with Charter Next Generation. Land O’Lakes, Cargill, Schwan’s Company and the University of Minnesota will explore opportunities to direct film waste to Myplas USA for recycling once the plant is operational.

Charter Next Generation Chief Executive Officer Kathy Bolhous said, “This collaboration with MBOLD and Myplas USA is forging a new future for packaging innovation. It will broaden our sustainable film portfolio, create an urgently needed solution for the region and help meet the growing demand for recycled content in packaging.”

The Alliance to End Plastic Waste and Closed Loop Partners are each providing multi-million dollar debt financing to Myplas USA to support development of their new Minnesota recycling facility. The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development is also supporting Myplas USA through $1 million from the Minnesota Investment Fund and $450,000 from the Minnesota Job Creation Fund.

“This is about protecting our environment and driving innovation,” said the State’s Employment and Economic Development Commissioner Steve Grove. “It’s about bringing a new industry to Minnesota and showing the world how the private and public sectors can come together to solve problems. The State of Minnesota is proud to support this effort, and we’re grateful to the companies that made it happen.”

About the Circular Economy Initiative Participants:

Greater MSP
General Mills
Schwan’s Company
Land O’Lakes, Inc.
University of Minnesota
Myplas USA, Inc.
Charter Next Generation
Alliance to End Plastic Waste
Closed Loop Partners
Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development

1The Association of Plastic Recyclers. “Life Cycle Impacts for Postconsumer Recycled Resins: PET, HDPE, and PP.” December 2018.

For further information,
Contact: Jason Dorow
[email protected]

From 480 Innovative Submissions to 12 Sustainable Solutions: Where are the NextGen Cup Challenge Winners Now?

By Bea Miñana

April 13, 2022

Four key drivers have accelerated sustainable packaging innovation in the last 3 years 

In 2018, the NextGen Consortium launched its first initiative, the NextGen Cup Challenge––a global design competition seeking to identify and commercialize existing and future solutions for the single-use, hot and cold fiber cup system. Students, manufacturers, entrepreneurs, designers and businesses were invited to submit their ideas for the cup of the future. After a rigorous four-month review process, the Challenge narrowed nearly 500 submissions from over 50 countries down to 12 winners. 

These 12 winning solutions––broadly categorized into innovative cup liners, new materials and reusable cup service models––were chosen for their potential to help turn the 250 billion fiber to-go cups used annually from waste into valuable materials that can be reused and recovered. 

Today, many of these innovations continue to disrupt the status quo of the single-use cup, a seemingly convenient product that has come with a steep price over the years: cups ending up in landfills, creating greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. As companies look for ways to shift their business practices away from a wasteful take-make-waste system, there are tremendous opportunities for new solutions. The next wave of cup design is more innovative than ever, with new materials that can reduce environmental impact, and new systems that can keep valuable materials in play for longer.  

Over the last three years, we’ve seen the pandemic alter consumer preferences, more corporations commit to sustainability goals, and policy transform the landscape for circular packaging solutions, including reuse models. Amidst all these changes, NextGen Cup Challenge winners are paving a path forward in line with four key trends:  

1. New materials are increasingly competitive as an alternative to single-use plastic 

NextGen Cup Challenge winner, Footprint, continues to expand in its mission to replace single-use plastics with plant-based fiber at major food companies, retailers and consumer packaged goods companies, across categories including shelf-stable cups, meat trays and dairy. The company’s plant-based plates, bowls and other food-service items are in concession stands at Footprint Center, home of the winning NBA and WNBA teams, Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury. This long-term naming-rights partnership between Footprint and the Suns management group puts a spotlight on sustainability, fan education and reducing the environmental impact of sports and entertainment events. In December 2021, Footprint announced a SPAC merger with Gores Holdings VIII, and is accelerating growth in key verticals like supermarkets, stadiums, and geographically in Europe, opening an R&D center in Eindhoven, The Netherlands, and expanding production in Poland with new factories coming online in the coming year. 

NextGen Cup Challenge winner, MM Kotkamills Boards, is developing new materials for a range of packaging types, including and beyond the cup. The company’s Oy’s ISLA® Duo material for hot beverages offers an alternative to polyethylene (PE) extrusion-based cups. The product is now in regular production and sold worldwide. MM Kotkamills has also widened their family of sustainable barrier board products with their new ISLA® Ice and Cream board solution for selling ice cream in retail stores and over the counter. Their new generation fiber solution-based ISLA® Duo is widely used in the event industry. The fiber-based cups are collected and recycled, with the cups’ wood fibers reused in the production of other fiber-based sustainable solutions, such as tissue paper or corrugated board. 

Colombier has widened their product range since winning the NextGen Cup Challenge. Their EcoBarrier Flex™, a pure paper solution with an innovative barrier, acts like plastic to preserve food products, prolonging shelf-life. EcoBarrier Flex was designed as primary packaging for cookies, potato chips, candy, food bars, powders and other food products, and is now piloting with major food brands. 

2. Reuse is going mainstream 

Significant changes have happened in its home country of Germany since RECUP was announced as one of the winners of the NextGen Cup Challenge. A law was passed that obliges catering establishments to offer a reusable alternative for to-go food packaging, advancing more widespread use of reusable systems. This important milestone supports the continued growth of RECUP, especially as they launch REBOWL, their new reusable alternative for take-away food. Since the NextGen Cup Challenge, RECUP has received several honors for their reusable packaging, including the “Blauer Engel”, the “European Reusable Award” and the Bavarian Environmental Medal. In 2020, RECUP partnered with McDonald’s in Germany on a reusable cup system. 

3. Strategic partnerships are expanding the reach of innovative solutions 


Since winning the NextGen Cup Challenge, Muuse has grown its network around the world. In 2019, the company expanded their track and trace reuse service in Hong Kong and partnered with Swire Properties to reduce waste within Taikoo Place. In 2021, they expanded their reuse service in Toronto, Canada. And in early 2022, they launched a partnership with Starbucks, enabling reuse at Starbucks stores at the National University of Singapore. They have also been working with GrabFood and food panda in Singapore to provide reusables for food delivery. Overall, they have been able to save 70,000+ single-use items from entering the waste stream, working with over 100 partners. In 2021, the team lost their founder, Brian Reilly, who is greatly missed by his family, friends, and colleagues. The Muuse team is extremely honored to continue out his legacy and push forward his vision for reuse. 

NextGen Cup Challenge winner WestRock recently joined forces with Tim Hortons as a brand partner for their pilot cup, which is expected to launch soon at select Vancouver restaurants. In addition to innovating a recyclable cup, the company continues to explore recyclable barrier technologies designed for the specific needs of other food packaging, including ice cream pints, lined water cups and yogurt cups. 


NextGen Cup Challenge winner PTT MCC was selected as one of the market testing solutions for compostable and recyclable paper cups by Starbucks in select stores in Vancouver, Seattle, San Francisco, New York and London. Many other brands have engaged the company to develop more sustainable paper cups solution using BioPBS, the company’s bio-based material for packaging. 

4.Capital is accelerating the growth of solutions  

Earlier this year, NextGen Cup Challenge winner SoluBlue won the Postcode Lotteries Green Challenge, a global sustainability award and one of the largest annual competitions in the field of sustainable entrepreneurship. Their seaweed-based polymer technology that helps extend the shelf-life of food, reducing both plastic waste and food waste, was selected from more than 650 startups competing from across Europe. The award of €500,000 in prize money will be used by SoluBlue to help scale up their technology for pilot production among retailers.  


Since winning the NextGen Cup Challenge, CLUBZERØ has gained even more market interest, with more than 380 investors committed to helping their fight for zero waste. Since the launch of their public crowdfunding campaign, CLUBZERØ has to date achieved over 120% of its goal. In September 2021, CLUBZERØ launched their reusable packaging to tackle plastic pollution across the takeaway sector in London, subsequently announcing partnerships with Just Eat, King’s Cross, ReLondon, Camden Council and First Mile. Having completed over 50,000 orders in Q4 2021, CLUBZERØ welcomed new U.S investors including Chris Vance (ex-Tesla + Impossible Foods) and partnered with Nestlé (Nescafé) to provide reusable packaging. 

Where do we go from here?  

The tremendous gains of these companies show that the road to circular foodservice packaging is being built quickly. Through its grant funding, business acceleration, testing and curated in-market pilots, the NextGen Consortium continues to strengthen the ecosystem of companies, innovators, investors, policymakers and consumers paving the way forward. This is just the beginning of our collective journey, and we are excited for a future in which circular packaging is the standard rather than the exception.