Closed Loop Partners and ERI Enter Strategic Partnership to Strengthen Innovative Circular Economy Supply Chains


July 14, 2021

Closed Loop Partners makes a significant strategic investment in ERI; Founder & CEO Ron Gonen will join ERI’s Board

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–ERI, the nation’s largest fully integrated IT and electronics asset disposition provider and cybersecurity-focused hardware destruction company and Closed Loop Partners, the leading investment firm focused on building the circular economy in North America and beyond, have announced that they have entered into a partnership.

As part of the partnership, Closed Loop Partners’ Leadership Fund, part of the private equity group at Closed Loop Partners, has made a significant strategic investment in ERI. The Closed Loop Leadership Fund, established in 2019, focuses on investing in and scaling businesses fundamental to keeping packaging, organics, electronics and apparel out of landfills and within a circular system. Investors in the Fund include Microsoft, Nestlé and Unilever as well as institutional investors and family offices. Ron Gonen, Founder and CEO of Closed Loop Partners has also been elected to ERI’s board of directors.

“ERI is the leading recycler of electronics in the United States, consistently demonstrating the viability of closed loop systems for high value materials,” said Gonen. “Globally, we discard $55 billion in e-waste annually, and the waste stream is projected to grow more rapidly in the coming years, diverting these materials from landfills and back into manufacturing supply chains is critical. Our partnership with ERI will strengthen circular supply chains that ultimately benefit people, the planet and business.”

“This is the perfect time for a partnership between ERI and Closed Loop Partners,” said John Shegerian, ERI’s Chairman/CEO. “Due to a perfect storm of innovation, the internet of things, cars essentially becoming computers on wheels, an increase in wearable tech, the 4G to 5G switchover, increasing consumption, data privacy issues and other factors, e-waste is the fastest growing waste stream in the world – growing at a rate five times faster than any other waste stream. By partnering with our longtime friends at Closed Loop Partners, we are ideally positioned to play a meaningful role in accelerating change.”

“We are also honored to have Ron Gonen join our board,” added Shegerian. “It was Ron who introduced us to AMP Robotics, our partners in the development and implementation of our first-in-industry AI-driven robotic systems currently increasing operational efficiencies in our recycling facilities. He was also serving as Deputy Commissioner of Sanitation, Recycling and Sustainability for New York City when ERI teamed with the city to launch the city’s groundbreaking and award-winning residential e-waste pickup and recycling program, ecycleNYC. So there is tremendous synergy there. As a thought leader, Ron has already provided tremendous guidance and insight in terms of the circular economy and we are incredibly excited to be entering into this new level of collaboration with him and his team at Closed Loop Partners.”

About Closed Loop Partners:

Closed Loop Partners is a New York-based investment firm comprised of venture capital, growth equity, private equity, project-based finance and an innovation center focused on building the circular economy. Since its founding in 2014, Closed Loop Partners’ existing portfolio of more than 50 investments has diverted more than 4,600 million pounds of material from landfills and back into manufacturing supply chains. The firm has built an ecosystem that connects entrepreneurs, industry experts, global consumer goods companies, retailers, financial institutions and municipalities, bridging gaps and fostering synergies to scale the circular economy.

About ERI:

ERI is the largest fully integrated IT and electronics asset disposition provider and cybersecurity-focused hardware destruction company in the United States. ERI is certified at the highest level by all leading environmental and data security oversight organizations to de-manufacture, recycle, and refurbish every type of electronic device in an environmentally responsible manner. ERI has the capacity to process more than a billion pounds of electronic waste annually at its eight certified locations, serving every zip code in the United States. ERI’s mission is to protect people, the planet and privacy. For more information about e-waste recycling and ERI, call 1-800-ERI-DIRECT or visit


ERI: Paul Williams, 310/569-0023, [email protected]
Closed Loop Partners: Georgia Sherwin, 929/427-7786, [email protected]

Circular Economy Infrastructure Will Build Value For All Americans

By Ron Gonen

May 03, 2021

The circular economy is becoming big business in America. For example, just one piece of the circular economy, the recycling industry, generates over $100 billion in economic activity, nearly $13 billion in federal, state and local tax revenue and supports over 500,000 jobs annually. 

On a more personal level, as global supply chains began to crack during the COVID-19 pandemic, our domestic recycling infrastructure saved us from major shortages of critical consumer products — like toilet paper. But that is only a fraction of the value the circular economy can provide on both a local and national level.

A policy known as Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), now being introduced at the state and federal level, would create a massive investment in local recycling and circular economy infrastructure. Through a fee paid by consumer goods companies, thoughtfully-constructed EPR will save billions of dollars spent annually in landfill disposal fees. It would create hundreds of thousands of local jobs and provide consumer goods companies a reliable and cost-effective alternative to their current dependence on limited raw materials, which generate enormous amounts of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions during extraction.

In the past, advocating that companies take responsibility for the sustainable management of their products was the sole domain of environmentalists. But we are now seeing multiple stakeholders, including CEOs, politicians, customers and shareholders align on the view that when brands invest in local recycling and circular economy infrastructure to protect the environment, it creates value for businesses too. In New York this January, State Sen. Toddy Kaminsky (D) introduced an EPR bill that has gained broad support, and similar legislation has been introduced or is being considered in California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maryland, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon, Vermont and Washington state.

A select group of CEOs of major consumer goods companies have recognized that what happens to a product after its initial use poses a risk — but when managed properly, can be an opportunity to secure long term value. Mark Schneider, the CEO of Nestlé, wrote recently, “[B]old and meaningful action in this space can become a competitive advantage, contributing to improved market share and growth.” Former Unilever CEO, Paul Polman, saw the opportunity to meet consumer demand years ago and trailblazed with sustainable business practices and products. During his decade-long tenure as CEO from 2009-2018, Unilever’s stock price increased by 290 percent. Investors took notice. Alan Jope, Unilever’s current CEO, has continued to expand Unilever’s commitment to sustainable business practices.

Three considerations are key to make EPR successful. First, stakeholders should gain consensus on the goal for EPR and incentivize brands to achieve it. Second, we should update the definition of “recyclable” to ensure that only products that are profitable for municipal recycling programs are designated as recyclable. Third, we must allocate funds from an EPR program directly to municipal recycling programs and empower local leaders to invest the funds in the infrastructure required to achieve their waste reduction goals. Styrofoam is an example of a packaging material that is challenging to recycle and has a limited market, while aluminum is infinitely recyclable and has a strong market.

For true accountability, all parties should set a goal for the policy and decide how to measure progress. Experience shows us that the best objective would be a recycling rate percentage well above today’s average recycling rate of around 30 percent, and a percentage of post-consumer recycled content used in the manufacturing of a product or packaging. EPR fees charged to consumer goods companies should not be viewed as the goal, but as a means to achieve the goal of a fully circular production system, where reliance on natural resource extraction and landfills is limited. Therefore, incentives for brands — fee waivers, designation to consumers and public recognition — are key for products to achieve a high recycling rate and use of recycled content. Where it’s not possible for producers to currently meet such goals for a particular product due to technical or economic limitations, this system and waiver could help incentivize producers to switch to recyclable or compostable materials or adopt reusable packaging models.

Which brings us to the next: a clear definition of what “recyclable” means. Recyclable has traditionally been defined as the ability of a product or material to be collected and sorted by a recycling facility in the United States. This does not take into account the economics of the recycling industry and the municipal recycling programs that are expected to remain solvent and grow. The result: consumer goods companies claiming that a product is recyclable, while municipal recycling programs struggle to find profitable end markets for it.

“Recyclability” should be defined as “a product whose primary material is sold by a municipal recycling facility for a profit.” Therefore, in order to receive a designation of “recyclable,” a product should have a market value of above the processing cost of materials (paper, metal, glass, plastic) at municipal recycling facilities across the United States. This stipulation would encourage producers to be more rigorous from the outset regarding their packaging design, connecting the diverse pieces of the system, from designer to producer to recycler, so that all stakeholders are in agreement that a product has value in a circular system. The EPR fee structure should be designed to motivate brands to ensure that their product is recyclable (per the definition above), is recycled and uses all or mostly recycled content in manufacturing.

Third, we should allocate funds from an EPR program directly to municipal recycling programs, empowering local leaders to invest the funds in infrastructure and innovation. It is critical that legacy policies, such as bottle bills that conflict with municipal recycling collection programs, be phased out as EPR policy is adopted. There are a number of leaders that have accomplished amazing things with limited funding, showing that investments made directly in local municipal recycling programs and at the direction of local leaders will yield the best results.

While EPR won’t solve all of our waste issues, thoughtfully-constructed EPR will provide the foundation for the development of comprehensive recycling and circular economy infrastructure in the United States. And with thoughtful incentives, companies that strive to be leaders in reducing waste, will be recognized and rewarded.

We are a country that has demonstrated that when the interest of business aligns with the interest of policy makers and local communities, we can develop infrastructure that creates massive long-term value. Thoughtfully-constructed EPR has the potential to do just that.

Ron Gonen is the CEO of Closed Loop Partners, a circular economy-focused investment firm and innovation center and author of “The Waste Free World: How the Circular Economy will Take Less, Make More, and Save the Planet.”

Originally published in The Hill.

HomeBiogas Announces USD 94 Million Initial Public Offering, Expanding Global Clean Energy Solutions from Organic Waste


February 11, 2021

The company is poised to expand its household and community-size anaerobic digester systems into additional markets in North America and beyond, offering modular, affordable and local solutions to create value from organic waste on site

February 11 – HomeBiogas, an Israel-based company developing biogas systems that convert organic materials into renewable energy and fertilizer, successfully completed its initial public offering (IPO) in Israel, with a valuation of NIS 310 million after money, or approximately USD 94 million. The IPO was oversubscribed and HomeBiogas chose to raise approximately NIS 100 million which was received from the largest and leading institutional investors in the market, including provident funds, insurance companies and pension funds. Monday, February 1, was its first day trading.

HomeBiogas’ IPO reflects the growth in demand for more sustainable and local solutions, solving two major challenges: waste management and clean energy. Their household and community-size anaerobic digesters transform organic waste into clean energy and liquid fertilizer, saving on waste removal and energy costs. HomeBiogas also recently launched their BioToilet, offering a sanitation solution for communities without sewer infrastructure. Today, the company leads the establishment of an international standard for household biogas systems, holding international patents and European CE certificate, with stringent standards and safety requirements.

The continued growth of HomeBiogas comes at a critical time, in the midst of COVID-19 stay-at-home mandates that have shifted consumer habits and demands toward local alternatives that rely less on complex, often opaque global supply chains. With food waste continuing to mount around the world––worth roughly USD 680 billion in industrialized countries and USD 310 billion in developing countries––solutions that mitigate the loss of these valuable resources have become essential.

Since its founding, HomeBiogas has experienced consistent and extensive growth, selling over 10,000 systems in more than 100 countries in recent years. In the developing world, more than 3 billion people still use wood and charcoal for cooking, while 2.5 billion do not have access to toilets. HomeBiogas’ systems can transform their lives, creating a local closed loop system that generates value for years to come.

The recent IPO will accelerate HomeBiogas’ growth into additional markets, including North America, helping expand the solution at a larger scale into commercial operations in restaurants, hotels, universities, hospitals and others, generating significant savings in costs of organic waste removal, energy savings and a significant reduction in carbon footprint. Through the IPO, HomeBiogas also plans to increase production and sales in selected countries, through partnerships with local distributors. HomeBiogas’ founders Oshik Efrati (CEO), Erez Lantzer (CFO) and Yair Teller (CSO), continue to be engaged in the development, production and marketing of biogas systems for household and commercial markets. Leading circular economy investor Closed Loop Partners, global energy firm Engie and family office JS Capital are also major shareholders in HomeBiogas.

“HomeBiogas’ IPO is a market signal for the growth of local systems that circulate valuable resources, especially food and energy. By expanding its reach across the globe, HomeBiogas can create positive economic, social and environmental outcomes at scale, while maintaining deep roots in the local communities it serves,” says Ron Gonen, CEO of Closed Loop Partners. “We are proud to be a founding and longstanding investor in the company and continue to work closely with their team, and look forward to seeing the essential role HomeBiogas will play in advancing the circular economy.”

“This major step for HomeBiogas is also a milestone in the decentralized biogas from organic waste sector,” says Johann Boukhors, Managing Director of Engie New Ventures. “By maximizing the potential of local organic material in creating useful renewable energy for multiple types of customers, HomeBiogas bolsters the local infrastructure needed to participate in a more sustainable future built on clean, affordable, resilient energy.”

“The trust we received from the Israeli capital market, together with the rising demand for biogas systems in the world, proves how relevant and necessary our product is. Its growth rate and production efficiency allow us to deepen our entry into our target markets and increase the sales potential,” says Oshik Efrati, Founder and CEO of HomeBiogas. “I believe that the ability for any person or organization to produce energy from leftover organic waste is not far. This will reduce our dependence on fossil energy, as well as the environmental pollution and greenhouse gases resulting from the transportation and landfilling of waste. Countries and organizations are rapidly moving in this direction, both in legislation and investments. Combining our technology and knowledge with our powerful shareholders will allow us to be a leading player in the field.”


About HomeBiogas

HomeBiogas is a world leader in developing groundbreaking, simple to use biogas systems. Enabling people and businesses around the globe to turn their own organic waste into self-made clean energy, on-site. Since 2012, HomeBiogas has served thousands of households, farmers, businesses, underserved communities,and those seeking a more sustainable way of living with over 10,000 biogas systems in over 100 countries around the world. Our prefabricated, fully off-grid, patent-based systems offer modular options to suit each of our customer ‘s needs, empowering them to live a healthier, more efficient, self-resilient, and sustainable life.

About Closed Loop Partners

Closed Loop Partners is a New York-based investment firm comprised of venture capital, growth equity, private equity and project finance, as well as an innovation center focused on building the circular economy. The firm has built an ecosystem that connects entrepreneurs, industry experts, global consumer goods and technology companies, retailers, foundations, financial institutions and municipalities. Their 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 diversion of materials from landfills. Learn more at

About ENGIE New Ventures

ENGIE New Ventures (ENV) is the corporate venture arm of ENGIE, the global energy and services provider. ENGIE is committed to lead the energy revolution, towards a more decarbonized, decentralized and digitized world. ENV is a €180 million investment fund focused on making minority investments in innovative start-ups. Since 2014, ENV has deployed over €140 million of capital across 26 investments, in disruptive start-ups leading the energy transition and active in energy efficiency, renewable energy, energy storage and demand response, mobility and IoT. ENV’s offices are represented in Paris, San Francisco, Singapore and Tel Aviv. Please visit:

Closed Loop Partners Releases Data Visualization Tool That Shows Significant Opportunity to Recapture Valuable Plastic Waste in the U.S. and Canada

By Closed Loop Partners

November 17, 2020

With only 18% of plastic packaging recycled in the U.S. and Canada, this tool guides investors, brands, entrepreneurs and policymakers to make data-driven decisions and collaborate toward a circular future 

Explore The Map

Tuesday, November 17 (New York) — Today, Closed Loop Partners’ Center for the Circular Economy released their U.S. and Canada Recycling Infrastructure and Plastic Waste Map, as part of their broader Advancing Circular Systems for Plastics and Packaging Initiative. The comprehensive visual tool brings to light the diversity of plastic waste and the volumes and flows by country and state, highlighting critical opportunities to recapture valuable plastics and re-incorporate them into manufacturing supply chains.

The analysis shows that the U.S. and Canada are sending 11.5 million metric tons of plastic packaging to landfill every year, with the recycling system currently only capturing 18% of packaging.  This comes at a time when demand for recycled content is growing rapidly, with over 250 brands and retailers in the U.S. publicly committing to increase their use of recycled content in products and packaging. Yet, the supply of recycled content to meet this fast-growing demand is missing. Closed Loop Partners found that the current supply of recycled plastics meets just 6% of demand for the most common plastics in the U.S. and Canada.

Enhancing the transparency of supply chains and better measuring and understanding the current flow of materials are essential first steps to improve plastics recovery. Closed Loop Partners published the U.S. and Canada Recycling Infrastructure and Plastic Waste Map to identify the magnitude of the plastics waste challenge, the key infrastructure gaps and the opportunity areas. By increasing visibility across the plastics value chain, we can drive collaboration among diverse stakeholders––from policymakers and brands, to plastics manufacturers and materials recovery facilities. 

The analysis also highlights the diverse formats, applications and end-of-life markets for plastics, demonstrating the need for multiple solutions to stem plastic waste. Mechanical recycling in the U.S. and Canada recaptures the value of 2,557 million metric tons of plastic packaging after final use per year, primarily from polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic bottles kept in circulation. But, mechanical recycling is not an end of life solution for many other forms of plastic waste, like apparel, construction plastics, automotive applications and more, where there may be an opportunity for advanced recycling to fill this gap and solve for these hardest-to-recycle plastic-based products. However, these solutions still cannot serve all materials and markets perfectly or in perpetuity, and we must also deploy and scale reuse and rental systems, among others, to help extend the life of materials and reduce the overall volume of virgin plastic entering the market. Current strategies to address plastic waste are complementary, but taken alone they will be ineffective at producing a circular system for all plastics. Without a multi-pronged approach, plastic waste in all forms, from various industries, will continue to grow. 

“To efficiently and effectively tackle all plastic waste, we must first understand the volume and types of plastic flowing through our economy,” says Kate Daly, Managing Director of the Center for the Circular Economy at Closed Loop Partners. “Using plastic packaging as a starting point, this analysis helps investors, brands, entrepreneurs and policymakers understand the diversity of plastic waste in our system and make data-driven decisions. This tool helps galvanize stakeholders to accelerate our collective journey toward a circular economy for plastics through multiple plastic-waste mitigation strategies, and we call upon additional industries to share their data on plastic waste streams to shed light on the additional opportunities.” 

Closed Loop Partners embarked on this study to map the volume of plastic packaging and containers specifically, but this is far from the only plastics that must be solved for. The plastics growing in landfill are diverse, including plastics from car parts, healthcare and textiles. The firm is working with organizations across the U.S. and Canada to leverage additional data on other plastic materials and add to this dataset to drive greater transparency and better understanding of all types of plastic waste flowing through current systems. The firm calls upon industry to look beyond packaging and collect data on all plastic waste to create a circular future.

“Foundational to effective action and investment is an informed understanding of where, how much and what quality of plastic waste is being generated in the United States and Canada,” says Anne Johnson, Principal and Vice President of Global Corporate Sustainability for Resource Recycling Systems (RRS). “Packaging waste only scratches the surface of the plastic waste problem. Polyester textiles contribute to 13.4 billion pounds of landfill waste in the U.S., and require both traditional and new advanced recycling platforms to recapture their value after use. This data visualization tool can be built upon to shine a light on the full spectrum of plastic waste in existence today, providing much-needed transparency and collectively advancing a circular economy for plastics.”

“We are excited to see this U.S. and Canada Recycling Infrastructure and Plastic Waste Map from Closed Loop Partners,” says Peylina Chu, Executive Director for the Healthcare Plastics Recycling Council. “As the healthcare industry looks for circular solutions for the millions of tons of clean healthcare plastic, this map helps set a precedent for collaborative efforts along the plastic value chain that can help efficiently identify and leverage synergies between healthcare plastics and other valuable scrap plastic streams as we all add data and share insights on this global waste challenge.” 

A more robust understanding of the status quo, strengthened by investments and policies that fill opportunity gaps highlighted by the current waste flow, will increase capacity to process more used material across the country, deliver feedstock for both mechanical and advanced recycling, create demand pull, generate additional jobs, mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and advance the transition to 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 project finance, as well as an innovation center focused on building the circular economy. The firm has built an ecosystem that connects entrepreneurs, industry experts, global consumer goods companies, retailers, financial institutions and municipalities. 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 here

About Advancing Circular Systems for Plastics and Packaging Initiative

At Closed Loop Partners, we envision a waste-free future for plastics. We launched our Advancing Circular System for Plastics and Packaging Initiative understanding that there is no silver bullet solution to solve complex global waste challenges. Ending plastics waste will require a combination of approaches such as design innovation, reuse and advanced recycling to accelerate the transition to a circular economy for plastics. Our Center for the Circular Economy partnered with Target Corporation, Bank of America, Colgate-Palmolive, 3M, The American Chemistry Council and Sealed Air to produce the U.S. and Canada Recycling Infrastructure and Plastic Waste Map. Our technical partners on this project included Resource Recycling Systems and The Recycling Partnership. Learn more about our investments, collaboration and research here.

Closed Loop Partners Provides $2.6 Million Loan to Build and Scale First Curbside Recycling Program in the City of Broken Arrow to Accelerate Circularity


October 20, 2020

October 20 (New York) – Today, Closed Loop Partners announced a $2.6 million loan to finance new recycling and circular economy infrastructure and activities in the City of Broken Arrow, OK. The funds go toward recycling carts for single-stream curbside collection and recycling collection vehicles. Serving 35,000 households across the city, the program aims to increase the recapture of valuable materials in the City of Broken Arrow, helping to keep these materials in manufacturing supply chains and out of landfills. 

Closed Loop Partners’ $2.6 million loan adds to a previously-awarded $390,000 grant by The Recycling Partnership to the city, which was provided by the American Beverage Association via its “Every Bottle Back” initiative. In total, the $4.5 million project comes at a key moment for strengthening recycling infrastructure across the United States, particularly in the Southwest, highlighting the importance of collaboration between the public and private sectors to catalyze capital and galvanize stakeholders that can scale impact.

Closed Loop Partners provided the funding through its project finance arm, the Closed Loop Infrastructure Fund. Launched in 2014 in partnership with 12 of the world’s largest consumer goods and retailers, the fund finances recycling infrastructure and innovations across the U.S. to advance the circular economy. With growing pressures from climate change, the need to build resilient local supply chains and mitigate environmental damages has come to the fore. The circular economy provides tangible solutions––lowering greenhouse gas emissions and redirecting waste from landfill, while generating significant economic benefits by keeping valuable materials in circulation. To fully transition to circular material flows, increasing access to strong and stable recycling infrastructure is essential. 

Over the next 10 years, the initiative is projected to collect 124 million pounds of recycled material, including over 5 million pounds of new polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and 2 million pounds of new aluminum, creating strong feedstocks for eventual use in various manufacturing streams. The city will send the collected material to American Waste Control, an advanced Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) in Tulsa for processing. By ensuring that the pipeline of collected materials will be met by demand, the economic viability and long-term circular flow of resources is secured.

“We are thrilled to help bring this initiative to fruition for the City of Broken Arrow,” says Bridget Croke, Managing Director at Closed Loop Partners. “Opening access to and advancing recycling systems in Oklahoma is critical to building local and regional circular systems in the Southwest, and will have significant ripple effects to advancing the circular economy across the United States.”

“We are excited to begin curbside recycling in the City of Broken Arrow. We have already had great participation from our citizens, who are interested in the positive economic and environmental impact recycling will have on our city. The Broken Arrow Municipal Authority looks forward to this initiative to make our city more sustainable,” says Mayor Craig Thurmond on behalf of the Broken Arrow Municipal Authority.

The project officially launches in the fall of 2020, and marks the beginning of a cart-based recycling system for the City of Broken Arrow. For more information on this project, visit


About Closed Loop Partners

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

The firm has built an ecosystem that connects entrepreneurs, industry experts, global consumer goods companies, retailers, financial institutions and municipalities. Their 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 diversion of materials from disposal.

About the City of Broken Arrow

Located in northeast Oklahoma, Broken Arrow is the fourth largest city in the State of Oklahoma, with an estimated population of over 113,000 people spread out over 61 square miles. Broken Arrow is also home to the third largest manufacturing hub in the state, with many employees working in the energy sector. Residents in Broken Arrow enjoy a high quality of life, characterized by low crime, high performing schools, affordable housing and easy access to many parks and recreational facilities. The City of Broken Arrow sets the standard by providing the best municipal programs and services.

North America’s Unique Journey Toward Circularity

By Kate Daly

October 09, 2020

Last week, I (virtually) joined more than 5,000 business leaders, policymakers and circular economy enthusiasts from across the globe for the digital World Circular Economy Forum (WCEF), convened by the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra. It’s been four years since WCEF’s first convening, and it was inspiring to see the continued momentum and global interest in advancing circularity. This year was the first time WCEF was to be held in North America, reflecting the growing tide of interest here. I was happy to have the opportunity to join the events and speak to the nuances specific to our region in our journey toward circularity.    

Elements of the circular economy have existed within North America for centuries, under different names: indigenous stewardship, industrial ecology, recycling, cradle to cradle, environmental justice, remanufacturing. For the new circular economy to flourish in North America, we must commit to building on this knowledge, in addition to adapting successful international models to our own North American cultures and governing systems.

While here in the U.S and Canada we don’t have the same type of unifying mandates prevalent in the European Union, business and investors are not waiting around for national legislation. They’re deploying capital, and identifying new business models and opportunities for collaboration. Many corporations are setting ambitious goals and doing the difficult work of identifying how circularity can become an integrated part of their bottom line. And in the absence of national legislation or funding, some cities are launching zero waste mandates and circular business accelerators to turn waste into resources and create local jobs. Innovation, investment, policy and above all partnership are the key drivers of the new economic model in the U.S. and Canada, and digitization is a key enabler. And in all of this we must together ensure that the new systems put into place don’t perpetuate the negative outcomes of the old ones, where low-income communities are disproportionately affected by the environmental burdens of pollution and waste.

In our most recent report, The Circular Shift: Four Key Drivers of Circularity in North America, we at Closed Loop Partners drew on our experience as researchers, operators and investors in the circular economy to illustrate the momentum and headway made thus far. Both the public and the private sector are responding to changing consumer preferences, increasing demands for better outcomes for local communities, and regulatory pressures. And it’s the cutting edge sustainable innovations and growing investment opportunities that provide a path forward toward circularity.

We’re in an age of experimentation, perfecting reusable and refillable packaging models, renting rather than buying clothing, and transferring ownership of products and packaging back to their producers.  There are many reasons to be optimistic, and the time for action, critically, is now. The clock is ticking on our current linear economic system and the circular economy offers a viable and much-needed solution: a robust framework that aligns the interests of shareholders, corporations, local communities and the environment, and is underpinned by core principles of resource efficiency, inclusiveness and resilience.

Together, we all have a role to play to catalyze inclusive approaches to systems change that shift us toward a better, more circular economy that’s business-led and community-led. There is no question that it will require unexpected and unprecedented collaboration, but personally I’m encouraged by the progress made to date and I look forward to what lies ahead of us in North America and beyond.

Closed Loop Partners Launches Report on Unprecedented Shifts in the Circular Economy in North America


September 23, 2020

The report explores the sea change underway as four key drivers – market forces, recent innovations, changing policy and groundbreaking partnerships – push circularity forward

Read the full report

New York, Sept 24 – Today, Closed Loop Partners’ innovation center, the Center for the Circular Economy, announced the release of its timely report, The Circular Shift: Four Key Drivers of Circularity in North America. The report highlights critical trends driving circularity in the region, putting circular economy solutions at the center of business strategy, innovation development, policy changes, and new institutional partnerships.

The tumultuous events of 2020 have shed light on the importance of strong, stable, transparent systems, exposing the risks of overcomplicated, opaque supply chains and the limitations of continually extracting finite resources. In North America and around the world, supply chain disruptions, growing amounts of waste, and health and safety risks have called attention to the flaws of business-as-usual. As these challenges come to the fore, the urgency of rethinking systems that throw $10 billion worth of resources into U.S. landfills has increased. With growing investments and interest in less wasteful systems, the circular economy in North America is in the midst of a sea change.

Since 2014, Closed Loop Partners has been operating and investing in the circular economy, finding opportunities in the space and supporting its rapid growth across the U.S. Drawing from the firm’s investment intelligence and its Center’s research, the report delves into the Four Key Drivers of the Circular Economy in North America, exploring how innovation, investment, policy and partnership act as key enablers of the emerging economic model.

These factors shape and strengthen the landscape for circularity as investable opportunities have noticeably advanced, with momentum and innovation in the space growing rapidly. Capitalizing on the circular economy ultimately promises to recapture business value, offering a $4.5 trillion global opportunity by 2030, according to Accenture. Unexpected partnerships and visionary policy will be essential to accelerate the shift toward an economic model that is enduring, and able to withstand future shocks.

Against the backdrop of this year’s NYC Climate Week, the link between the circular economy––the reduction of both extraction of raw materials and of waste––and the consequences of climate change have never been stronger, or more apparent. The circular economy is not a singular solution, nor a short-term fix. To achieve circularity goals, such as decarbonization and dematerialization, change must be sweeping and collaboration must be far-reaching. Much like environmental solutions must include every stakeholder in the path forward, so must the circular economy.

“The clock is ticking on our current linear economic system and the circular economy offers a path forward: a robust framework that aligns the interests of shareholders, corporations, local communities and the environment,” says Kate Daly, Managing Director of the Center for the Circular Economy at Closed Loop Partners. This report builds on the achievements to date and the necessary actions to move forward, underscoring the urgency of focused investment, innovation opportunities, policy change and unexpected collaborations to achieve system-wide change.



Two Georgia-Pacific Recycled Paper Mills Open Opportunities for Paper Cup Recycling

By Georgia Pacific

September 15, 2020

ATLANTA, Sept. 15, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Georgia-Pacific announced today that it is now accepting mixed paper bales that contain single-use polyethylene (PE)-coated paper cups at its recycled paper mills in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and Muskogee, Oklahoma. The development follows two years of partnership with the Foodservice Packaging Institute (FPI) and collaboration with the NextGen Consortium, a global initiative led by Closed Loop Partners with founding partners Starbucks and McDonald’s, to help open opportunities for paper cup recycling.

PE coatings, along with any remaining liquid and food left behind from use, have historically left single-use paper cups out of the recovery and recycling process. Georgia-Pacific, though, has proven through its extensive re-pulping trials that the Green Bay and Muskogee mills can effectively recapture valuable cup fiber from paper cups while screening out PE-coatings and reuse the fiber to make toilet tissue, napkins and paper towels.

“As single-use paper cups have grown in popularity in recent years so, too, has paper cup waste. As a leading manufacturer of paper foodservice products, we continually look for ways to consume fewer resources as part of our longer-term strategy to identify solutions that benefit society. Accepting mixed paper bales containing PE-coated cups at our Green Bay and Muskogee mills is a significant step in this direction,” said John Mulcahy, vice president of sustainability for Georgia-Pacific, which manufactures the Dixie® brand of paper cups.

Kate Daly, managing director of the Center for the Circular Economy at Closed Loop Partners, believes Georgia-Pacific’s new repulping capability will greatly benefit the foodservice industry and further advance the industry’s environmental stewardship. “We are heartened to see Georgia-Pacific accelerate paper cup recycling through its acceptance of cups in mixed paper bales. This acceptance will also benefit new non-polyethylene next generation cups, marking an important step forward for the industry as a whole, and we hope even more mills will follow this lead. Georgia-Pacific’s actions reinforce the value of the materials in paper cups and build critical markets for recycled materials. As the managing partner of the NextGen Consortium, we continue to work with leaders like Georgia-Pacific to engage, educate, and collaborate with stakeholders across the cup value chain in order to keep valuable materials in play,” she said.

Beyond its current repulping efforts, Georgia-Pacific is also collaborating with the NextGen Consortium to trial at its mills next generation paper cups that have replaced the PE-coating with materials that can be recycled and/or composted. As founding partners of the NextGen Consortium and strong advocates of reducing single-use paper cup waste, McDonald’s and Starbucks are supportive of ongoing collaboration with Georgia-Pacific and encouraged by the company’s current re-repulping efforts.

“Increasing and improving the recyclability of cups is a vital part of our work within the NextGen Consortium. We are taking a meaningful step forward with Georgia-Pacific toward our goal of reducing paper cup waste. We’re excited by this progress and look forward to our continued partnership with organizations that support our vision of a resource-positive future,” said Michael Kobori, chief sustainability officer at Starbucks.

Marion Gross, chief supply chain officer, North America with McDonald’s added, “Recovering, recycling, and reusing the valuable materials in our cups is an important part of our sustainability ambition and our work with the NextGen Consortium. By accepting and reprocessing single-use cups, Georgia-Pacific is not only enhancing recycling pathways but also generating a supply pipeline of recycled content critical to positively impacting the environment and achieving our goals.”

With its Green Bay and Muskogee mills now engaged, Georgia-Pacific is working with FPI to expand and accelerate single-use PE-coated paper cup acceptance in curbside recycling programs in an effort to increase the number of households that can recycle the paper cups. As the voice of the foodservice packaging industry, FPI is committed to reducing the impact of its products on the environment and to advancing recycling and composting. “We are thrilled to work with Georgia-Pacific in its effort to recover and reuse PE-coated paper cups, and we are excited to partner with new communities that previously didn’t have the capability to recycle them,” said Natha Dempsey, president of FPI.

About Foodservice Packaging Institute
Founded in 1933, the Foodservice Packaging Institute is the trade association for the foodservice packaging industry in North America. FPI promotes the value and benefits of foodservice packaging and serves as the industry’s leading authority to educate and influence stakeholders. Members include raw material and machinery suppliers, manufacturers, distributors and purchasers of foodservice packaging. For more information or to follow us on social media, visit

About NextGen Consortium
The NextGen Consortium is a multi-year, global consortium that addresses single-use food packaging waste globally by advancing the design, commercialization, and recovery of food packaging alternatives. The NextGen Consortium is managed by Closed Loop Partners’ Center for the Circular Economy. Starbucks and McDonald’s are the founding partners of the Consortium, The Coca-Cola Company, Yum! Brands, Nestlé, and Wendy’s are supporting partners. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is the advisory partner and IDEO is the innovation partner. Learn more at

About Georgia-Pacific
Based in Atlanta, Georgia-Pacific and its subsidiaries are among the world’s leading manufacturers and marketers of bath tissue, paper towels and napkins, tableware, paper-based packaging, cellulose, specialty fibers, nonwoven fabrics, building products and related chemicals. Our familiar consumer brands include Quilted Northern®, Angel Soft®, Brawny®, Dixie®, enMotion®, Sparkle®, Mardi Gras® and Vanity Fair®. Georgia-Pacific has long been a leading supplier of building products to lumber and building materials dealers and large do-it-yourself warehouse retailers. Its Georgia-Pacific Recycling subsidiary is among the world’s largest recyclers of paper, metal and plastics. The company operates more than 150 facilities and employs more than 30,000 people directly and creates approximately 89,000 jobs indirectly. For more information, visit:

SOURCE Georgia-Pacific

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Investable Opportunities to Stem the Tide of Ocean Plastic Pollution and Build a Circular Economy

With only 9% of the world’s plastics getting recycled and global plastics demand forecasted to triple by 2050, we’re in desperate need for tangible, investable solutions to avert a crisis. Where ten years ago, the urgent need to broach this subject was met with resistance, today the conditions are altogether different.

Across the globe, movements such as Break Free From Plastic and legislation like the EU’s Circular Economy Action Plan have galvanised the public. Shocking images of sea turtles maimed by straws or statistics about there being more plastic than fish in the sea by 2050 have struck a chord.

It’s clear we must rethink our current leaky, linear system and shift to something more circular. We need a system that’s consciously designed to use less materials in the production and delivery of products and that keeps materials in circulation at their highest value for as many generations as possible, if not infinitely. This way we can reduce our waste and our extraction of raw materials.

Sometimes plastic is the most appropriate material to serve a purpose, given its particular properties, other times it’s not. There is no silver bullet approach.   We need to invest in both near term solutions and long term solutions with clear paths to scaling to tackle the problem of ocean plastic pollution and reduce overall environmental impacts.

The good news: we’re already seeing clear, investable solutions that can shift us in the right direction.

There are at least 60 technology providers developing transformational technologies that purify, decompose, or convert waste plastics into renewed raw materials in North America, representing a $47 billion opportunity in North America alone. Many of these technologies mean there is no limit to the number of times plastics can be recycled, thereby helping us to shape a more circular economy for plastics.

Other companies are exploring innovative new delivery models or alternative materials science. Their outputs could supersede the need for plastic packaging altogether, whether through vending machines that dispense exact amounts of product into reusable containers like Algramo, new feedstocks replacing styrofoam packaging like TemperPack or through hyper-compostable, edible straws made of sustainably harvested seaweed like Loliware.

Large banks and brands are getting on board too, recognizing the need for change. Institutions like Goldman Sachs, Citi, Comerica Bank and Engie have co-invested in our funds in order to catalyze the development of the circular economy.

If we’re to stem the tide of plastic pollution in our oceans, it’s critical that we invest across the value chain and in companies that are rethinking the system for a more sustainable future. With the current enabling conditions, from policy to consumer engagement, now is the time to do it.

This blog was inspired by the discussion in Confluence Philanthropy‘s webinar on Exploring Investor Solutions to Restore the Ocean, which I participated in with Mark Spalding, President of The Ocean Foundation, Conrad MacKerron, Senior Vice President of As You Sow, and Angela Howe, Legal Director of Surfrider Foundation.