Ann Arbor Selected for Major Investment to Reopen Recycling Facility Under Beverage Industry’s Every Bottle Back Initiative
November 18, 2020
America’s leading beverage companies & Closed Loop Partners invest $800,000 to reopen, rebuild and modernize Ann Arbor’s Materials Recovery Facility joining Michigan leaders & other partners to invest millions collectively on project
ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The American Beverage Association (ABA) announced today, during America Recycles Week, that Recycle Ann Arbor (RAA) has been selected to receive an investment under its Every Bottle Back initiative, a sustained effort to reduce our industry’s use of new plastic and keep our bottles out of the environment. The investment in Ann Arbor will help rebuild and reopen the city’s Materials Recovery Facility (MRF), which has been closed since 2016, preventing recyclable materials from being diverted across state lines for processing. The targeted investment of $800,000, deployed in partnership with Closed Loop Partners, will help create a state-of-the-art materials recovery facility that allows for enhanced sorting of valuable recyclable materials, like the beverage industry’s 100% recyclable polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic bottles. The project also leverages capital from additional stakeholders, including $800,000 from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), fostering groundbreaking public-private partnerships to recover valuable local recyclables to keep in manufacturing supply chains.
“Our investment in Ann Arbor will help restore the region’s critical recycling infrastructure, create jobs and showcase effective strategies to build a more circular economy,” said Katherine Lugar, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of the American Beverage Association. “This exciting new project is one in a series of investments the beverage industry is making alongside our environmental partners and community leaders under the Every Bottle Back initiative to boost the collection of our 100% recyclable bottles and cans so they can be remade, as intended.”
Every Bottle Back is an integrated and comprehensive initiative by The Coca-Cola Company, Keurig Dr Pepper and PepsiCo to reduce the industry’s plastic footprint. The investment in Ann Arbor is the fourth of eleven initial projects that the beverage industry has committed funding for under Every Bottle Back to ensure our bottles are collected and remade and do not wind up in beaches or lakes or wasted in landfills.
“Rebuilding Ann Arbor’s Materials Recovery Facility with modernized, state-of-the-art equipment will boost efficiency, increase recycling rates and help keep our valuable fully recyclable PET bottles in-state to help sustain local recycling systems,” said Derek Bajema, president and CEO of Michigan Soft Drink Association. “We are grateful for this opportunity and look forward to working with all those who share our goal of improving our state’s collection system so that it captures more recyclable materials.”
The American Beverage Association is partnering with Closed Loop Partners, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy and Recycle Ann Arbor on the project, which will help equip Ann Arbor’s MRF with upgraded equipment and infrastructure to sort, clean and bale recyclable materials. The investment will allow more valuable recyclable materials to be efficiently captured via curbside, yielding an estimated 284 million new pounds of materials collected over 10 years – including 7 million pounds of PET and 740,000 pounds of aluminum. The investment will provide the City of Ann Arbor with local capacity to more effectively manage their recyclables toward a circular economy that eliminates waste, creates jobs and protects the environment.
“The rebuild of Ann Arbor’s materials recovery facility comes at a critical moment for recycling infrastructure in the United States, amidst a global pandemic that has disrupted supply chains and highlighted the need to keep valuable recycled materials in circulation in local manufacturing supply chains,” said Ron Gonen, CEO of Closed Loop Partners, an investment firm focused on the development of the circular economy. “Together, the American Beverage Association, Closed Loop Partners, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy and Recycle Ann Arbor have pooled key resources to bring this project to fruition, underscoring the importance of working across the public and private sectors to score a victory for future generations.”
“We are pleased to see our Recycling Infrastructure Grant of $800,000 leverage industry financial support for the exciting regional recycling solutions that RAA and others across the state are helping to make happen,” said Liz Browne, acting director of the Materials Management Division at EGLE.
“Local processing of recyclables brings a range of environmental, economic, and social benefits, creating a regional hub that will allow recycling to flourish,” says Bryan Ukena, CEO of Recycle Ann Arbor. “Recycle Ann Arbor’s project to rebuild the materials recovery facility in the area establishes an amazing partnership with the community, local banks, industry funders, government agencies, non-profits, and manufacturers. Recycle Ann Arbor looks forward to bringing its 42 years of experience as a mission-based community recycler to the collaboration.”
America’s Leading Beverage Companies Unite To Reduce New Plastic Use & Increase Collection Of Their Valuable Bottles Through ‘Every Bottle Back’ Initiative
The Coca-Cola Company, PepsiCo and Keurig Dr Pepper Will Support Circular Plastics Economy Through Investment and Action, in Conjunction with World Wildlife Fund, The Recycling Partnership & Closed Loop Partners
WASHINGTON – America’s leading beverage companies – The Coca-Cola Company, PepsiCo and Keurig Dr Pepper – today announced the launch of the Every Bottle Back initiative, a breakthrough effort to reduce the industry’s use of new plastic by making significant investments to improve the collection of the industry’s valuable plastic bottles so they can be made into new bottles. These competitors are coming together to support the circular plastics economy by reinforcing to consumers the value of their 100% recyclable plastic bottles and caps and ensuring they don’t end up as waste in oceans, rivers or landfills. This program is being executed in conjunction with two of the country’s most prominent environmental nonprofits and the leading investment firm focused on the development of the circular economy. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) will provide strategic scientific advice to help measure the industry’s progress in reducing its plastic footprint and The Recycling Partnership and Closed Loop Partners will assist in deploying funds for the initiative.
“Our industry recognizes the serious need to reduce new plastic in our environment, and we want to do our part to lead with innovative solutions. Our bottles are designed to be remade, and that is why this program is so important. We are excited to partner with the leading environmental and recycling organizations to build a circular system for the production, use, recovery and remaking of our bottles. Every Bottle Back will ensure that our plastic bottles are recovered after use and remade into new bottles, so we can reduce the amount of new plastic used to bring our beverages to market. This is an important step for our industry, and it builds on our ongoing commitment to protecting the environment for generations to come.”
Katherine Lugar, president and CEO of the American Beverage Association (ABA)
The Every Bottle Back initiative, spearheaded by ABA, will:
- Measure industry progress in reducing the use of new plastic in the United States through a collaboration with ReSource: Plastic, WWF’s corporate activation hub to help companies turn their ambitious plastic waste commitments into meaningful and measurable progress by rethinking the way plastic material is produced, used and recycled. Specifically, ABA will use the ReSource: Plastic accounting methodology to track on the collective progress made on executing strategies to reduce the use of new plastic as well as a resource in identifying additional interventions.
- Improve the quality and availability of recycled plastic in key regions of the country by directing the equivalent of $400 million to The Recycling Partnership and Closed Loop Partners through a new $100 million industry fund that will be matched three-to-one by other grants and investors. The investments will be used to improve sorting, processing and collection in areas with the biggest infrastructure gaps to help increase the amount of recycled plastic available to be remade into beverage bottles.
- Launch a public awareness campaign to help consumers understand the value of 100% recyclable bottles through community outreach and partner engagement and reinforce the importance of getting these bottles back, so they can be remade into new bottles. According to a poll conducted by Public Opinion Strategies (POS) on behalf of ABA, nearly half of consumers were unaware that America’s leading beverage companies are already making bottles that are 100% recyclable, including the caps.
- Work together to leverage our packaging to remind consumers that our bottles are 100% recyclable and can be remade into new bottles. Beverage companies will begin introducing voluntary messaging on packages beginning in late 2020.
“Reaching our goal of No Plastic in Nature by 2030 will only happen if business, governments and the NGO community work together to fix a broken plastic material system. ABA is driving this sense of collaboration within the beverage industry to address one critical piece within this system, which is PET recycling in the U.S. Measured by our ReSource: Plastic footprint tracker, the efforts made through Every Bottle Back will be met with data-driven solutions to ensure that real progress is being made. We hope the ambition raised by this initiative will inspire other industries to follow suit within the broader effort to stop plastic waste pollution.”
Sheila Bonini, senior vice president of private sector engagement at WWF
“The beverage industry cannot deliver on its promises of sustainable packaging without serious improvements to the current U.S. recycling system. Working in partnership with the beverage industry on its Every Bottle Back initiative will help to improve local recycling and provide Americans with stronger recycling programs for all materials, including plastic bottles. We applaud ABA’s members for launching meaningful, measurable work.”
Keefe Harrison, chief executive officer of The Recycling Partnership
“The leadership exhibited by The Coca-Cola Company, PepsiCo and Keurig Dr Pepper provides the investment necessary to optimize recycling in these cities and states. This partnership will serve as a model for the effectiveness of industry collaboration in modernizing recycling infrastructure and driving a reduction in the use of virgin plastic.”
Ron Gonen, chief executive officer of Closed Loop Partners
The majority of plastic beverage containers in the United States are made from polyethylene terephthalate, or PET, a strong, lightweight and safe plastic approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in food and beverage containers. It is unique, and because of its quality and versatility, recycled PET for years has been in high demand for use in an array of products as varied as clothing, carpets and playground equipment. Through the Every Bottle Back initiative, beverage companies are stepping up efforts to reclaim as much plastic packaging as possible to ensure it is remade into new PET bottles.
These efforts support other sustainability efforts underway by The Coca-Cola Company, PepsiCo and Keurig Dr Pepper.
“We’re proud to come together with our competitors to address the serious issue of plastic waste in our environment. We know we cannot do this alone and, in order to meet our goals and those of our industry, we need to work in partnership to drive collective action to ensure our bottles have second, third and fourth lives through continued recycling and re-use.”
James Dinkins, president, Coca-Cola North America
“At PepsiCo, we are striving to build a world where plastics need never become waste. We are proud to collaborate with others in the industry and respected partners to advance that vision and to do the hard work needed to educate consumers, enable collections and inspire action to recycle our plastic bottles. More recycled plastic lessens the need for new plastic.”
Kirk Tanner, chief executive officer, PepsiCo Beverages North America
“We have seen the meaningful impact this industry can have when we collaborate, and we are proud to be partnering to reduce our collective use of new plastic, while increasing the recycling and reuse of our 100% recyclable bottles. The Every Bottle Back initiative supports KDP’s top environmental priority to reduce packaging waste, as we work to support a circular economy with strong collective action.”
Derek Hopkins, chief commercial officer, Keurig Dr Pepper
Learn more about the Every Bottle Back initiative at www.EveryBottleBack.org. To schedule an interview, please contact the ABA press office at [email protected].