That’s the Circular Economy: How A Logistics Company Uses Empty Retail Spaces to Fix Supply Chains and Reduce Waste
December 20, 2022
A full logistics center inside a shopping mall––this is how Fillogic infuses agility into supply chains.
The company is at the center of one of today’s most pressing opportunities, as supply chain bottlenecks and logistics challenges elevate the need for streamlined, efficient movement of goods into and out of our homes and businesses. Today’s complex logistics system is coupled with a manufacturing system weighed down by overproduction, opacity and waste. The fashion industry alone has an average 40% overproduction rate. This overloads production facilities and raises costs for brands as they hold unsold inventory for long periods. Eventually, most surplus products are landfilled or destroyed, wasting valuable resources. While legacy supply chains went unquestioned for many decades, their inefficiency has been apparent amidst the bottlenecks of the last two years.
The COVID pandemic accelerated the growth of e-commerce, and in its wake, return rates soared to over 20%. Brittle retail supply chains bogged down by overproduction were unable to handle the spike. Today, if a garment is returned at all, it takes weeks or months until it is available for sale again––if it ever makes it back on shelf at all. This means that unsold and returned inventory can sit in a box for half of the apparel markdown cycle, and when it finally goes back to the retailer for sale, it is often already shopworn and damaged. This says nothing for the excess carbon emissions associated with the transport of that good through the network as returns make their way back to central distribution hubs.
The retail system operates as an omni-channel network and its weakness lies in its silos. If 100 pairs of jeans are shipped, they travel in one direction before branching into different sales channels: wholesale, retailer and e-commerce. These silos are often disconnected and managed by different parties. When items across these three channels are unsold or returned, they end up in consolidation centers mixed with different products. Brands have little to no data on that inventory. Without the backend infrastructure to connect these three channels and consolidate information, a holistic view of managed inventory is impossible––making it similarly challenging to reallocate products into the optimal sales channels. Inventory ends up in holding patterns instead of getting where it needs to go.
Networks, technology and infrastructure need to change quickly, but it’s never been more expensive to do so. Industry is looking for ways to use existing infrastructure more efficiently. That’s where Fillogic comes in.
Breaking Down Silos
Fillogic recognizes that if the same product (for example, a pair of jeans) is allocated across a brand’s wholesale, retail and e-commerce channels, then the three channels should be connected on the backend. That way, outbound, unsold, returned or lightly worn inventory can be reallocated to a channel where it will most likely sell, helping brands reach business goals and meet customers where they are while minimizing inventory idling in warehouses or backed up in transit.
Their technology intercepts unsold garments at the middle mile and redirects them across the appropriate channel. This reduces the need for retailers to markdown in stores to move inventory. Instead, they can resell these products––which are often part of the nearly 40% of inventory that’s sold at discount––at full price or at a slight markup, through a different channel or in a different store, and more quickly than should these items have languished in the existing logistics infrastructure.
To add speed and efficiency, Fillogic operates within existing spaces close to retailers and customers. They repurpose shopping malls and under-utilized retail spaces into local market logistics hubs that connect the retail network. They see opportunity in forgotten spaces: the truck tunnels and elbow joints––bringing value back into overlooked assets rather than building more infrastructure. They optimize existing inventory, both outgoing and returning, to unlock new revenue streams for brands, enable better margins on the sale of unsold items and the resale of returned goods, advancing reuse and meeting customer demand in the process. Ultimately, this keeps valuable products that otherwise could have gone to landfill in the hands of consumers.
Paving the Path for Growth
Closed Loop Partners’ Ventures Group invested in Fillogic in early 2022, recognizing the need for supply chain transparency to increase utilization of goods and keep those materials in circulation. According to the Circularity Gap report, 70% of greenhouse gas emissions are related to material production and use, bringing the circular economy, and increasing utilization rates of manufactured products to the center of climate conversations. Advancing more circular supply chains plays a key role in increasing resource efficiency and resiliency to bring products to market while limiting waste.
As more retailers cross geographic boundaries, Fillogic faces growth opportunities in North America and beyond. Bill Thayer, Founder and CEO of Fillogic, is developing retail partnerships alongside a close-knit team, many of whom have had long careers in logistics, store operations, ecommerce and technology. In Bill’s words, “[Other players have] spent hundreds of billions of dollars building logistic networks. At Fillogic, we feel that network already exists. By connecting [those sites] with technology, operations and infrastructure, we can use under-utilized infrastructure more efficiently…operating as nodes on existing supply chains and making that middle mile more efficient.” Fillogic’s technology platform connects these heavily siloed, disparate systems, a hub network that uses underutilized spaces, and a delivery marketplace that connects those two assets. Together, all three assets create an affordable, efficient, cost-effective and sustainable network using existing infrastructure where people live, buy new clothes and make returns.
Ultimately, Fillogic is helping to increase the resale and recapture of consumer goods. By doing this, Fillogic is optimizing existing processes––reducing costs, timelines and the percentage of excess or unsold inventory. This is a win for both financial officers and sustainability managers––and that’s the circular economy.
Closed Loop Partners’ Venture Capital Group Raises $50+ Million Fund II to Scale Breakthrough Circular Economy Solutions
December 13, 2021
Fund II surpasses fundraising targets & extends Closed Loop Partners’ first venture fund strategy across sectors to build circular supply chains
NEW YORK, Dec. 13, 2021 — Closed Loop Partners’ venture capital group––the Closed Loop Ventures Group––announced the successful close of its second fund, surpassing its $50 million target to scale breakthrough circular economy solutions across plastics & packaging, fashion, food & agriculture, and supply chain technology. The firm continues its pioneering position as a dedicated circular economy-focused capital provider, investing in sustainable and profitable solutions that reduce waste, increase operational and material efficiency, and protect the planet.
Closed Loop Partners’ second venture capital fund, Closed Loop Venture Fund II, is driven by the success of its Fund I. The strategy of both funds capitalizes on the growing need to shift away from inefficient, linear and extractive supply chains and toward healthier, waste-free circular systems. The Closed Loop Venture Fund II is strategically positioned within the firm’s broader ecosystem that includes growth equity, private equity and project-based finance, as well as the Center for the Circular Economy. The Ventures Group benefits from a broad range of investors including multinational corporations like Microsoft and GS Group, foundations like the Autodesk Foundation, and single and multi-family offices from across the United States, Asia and Israel.
“At Microsoft, we’re advancing a more sustainable and resilient way of producing and consuming products and services. The breakthrough solutions that the Closed Loop Ventures Group invests in help pave the way toward a more circular future, one that aligns with our vision of a zero waste world,” says Brandon Middaugh of Microsoft’s Climate Innovation Fund, an investor in Closed Loop Partners’ funds. “Our investment in the Ventures Group’s Fund II is a key part of our efforts toward our 2030 zero waste goals, driven by the innovators and emerging companies that help make this possible.”
“Venture capital plays a key role in accelerating the circular economy, seeding the next generation of solutions to overcome legacy take-make-waste systems, encourage innovation and help transformative companies scale,” says Taehong Huh, Managing Director of GS Futures, corporate venture arm of GS Group of Korea. “The Closed Loop Ventures Group is blazing a trail for some of the most innovative circular solutions in the market today, and we are proud to be investors in the Closed Loop Venture Fund II––supporting companies that advance the circular shift of our economic system.”
“The need for solutions that advance the circular economy is coming into focus, and investment is key to scaling their impact. Closed Loop Partners’ venture capital team continues to be at the forefront of this work, supporting founders and businesses that are transforming our systems and supply chains for the better,” says Jennifer Kenning, CEO and Co-founder of Align Impact. “Our partnership with the Closed Loop Ventures Group is mission-critical to our work, advancing investments that have massive positive outcomes for people and our planet.”
“Our support of Closed Loop Partners’ venture funds has been a key part of our work to transition our markets to a full circular economy model by investing in the technologies and solutions that overcome barriers to change,” says Joe Speicher, Executive Director of the Autodesk Foundation and Head of Sustainability at Autodesk. As the philanthropic arm of Autodesk Inc., the Autodesk Foundation was an investor in Closed Loop Partners’ first and second venture funds. “We are proud to have been an early investor of the Closed Loop Ventures Group and are doubling down on our commitment to help scale the emerging design and manufacturing approaches that make end to end circularity possible.”
Led by Danielle Joseph, Managing Director at Closed Loop Partners, Closed Loop Ventures Group demonstrates that builder capital with a hands-on, active approach to building the Circular Economy is what many of the most ambitious entrepreneurs are seeking. The dedicated team brings a combined skill set of entrepreneurial, operating and investing expertise. “Closed Loop Ventures Group enables Closed Loop Partners to activate the most innovative solutions emerging in the circular economy and provide those solutions the full support of the Closed Loop Partners network,” says Ron Gonen, Founder and CEO of Closed Loop Partners.
“The Closed Loop Partners team is unique in the venture capital space, proactively bringing to the table their extensive operating experience, network, and strategic expertise on the circular economy,” says Rich Mokuolu, Co-founder & CEO of Partsimony. “We are proud to be among the first portfolio companies of Closed Loop Venture Fund II and we look forward to the continued growth spurred by their investment, as we expand Partsimony’s reach to build more intelligent, resilient, and local supply chains.”
To date, the Closed Loop Venture Fund II has invested in solutions including Partsimony, ucrop.it and dimpora––investments that span supply chain technology, food & agriculture and fashion. Partsimony‘s SaaS network unifies disparate data to help product designers manufacture more locally and with more sustainable materials. ucrop.it operates a collaborative traceability platform that connects farmers to stakeholders across the agriculture value chain, incentivizing supply chain transparency, best agricultural practices and greater value sharing to advance sustainable agriculture on a global scale. dimpora develops sustainable and PFC-free non-harmful membranes to waterproof clothing, to reduce waste and chemicals from apparel production.
“The successful raise of Closed Loop Partners’ second venture fund signals the increasing understanding that circular supply chains represent the future of industry and materials. We are seeing more founders building businesses in the circular economy, and a growing need for early-stage capital,” says Danielle Joseph, Managing Director of the Closed Loop Ventures Group at Closed Loop Partners. “We look forward to collaborating with the broader venture capital community, fostering transparency and open insight sharing to advance breakthrough innovations.”
Across its investments, the Closed Loop Ventures Group sees transparency and digitization as critical tools in building the supply chains of the future, and will continue to support cutting-edge innovations that reimagine and redesign current systems, driven by data and scientific input. They are focused on furthering localized and distributed manufacturing to build resiliency, and accelerating recovery & reuse to reduce a reliance on volatile commodity prices tied to limited virgin resources. Building on its robust thought leadership, the venture capital team at Closed Loop Partners continues to develop its theses on where they want to see additional investment activity and other smart investors participating in the space, including around markets that are misunderstood in traditional venture capital investing––such as biopolymers as plastic alternatives and evolving molecular recycling technologies.
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, agritech, 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. HomeBiogas, one of the early investments of the Closed Loop Venture Fund I is a leader in developing biogas systems that transform organic waste into clean energy and bio-fertilizer. They announced their $94 million initial public offering (IPO) in Israel in 2021, accelerating the company’s growth into additional markets, including North America. To date, the company has sold over 10,000 systems in more than 100 countries. Algramo, another investment of Fund I, developed a reuse system powered by vending machines that dispense household products into smart reusable packaging. With the investment and support of Closed Loop Partners, the Chile-based company expanded into North America, now piloting their reuse systems in New York City, while also having piloted with leading brands such as Walmart and Unilever in other geographies. Learn more about the Closed Loop Ventures Group here.
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. Investors include many of the world’s largest consumer goods companies and family offices interested in investments that provide strong financial returns and tangible impact. Learn more at www.closedlooppartners.com.
Autodesk, the Autodesk logo, and Autodesk Foundation are registered trademarks or trademarks of Autodesk, Inc., and/or its subsidiaries and/or affiliates in the USA and/or other countries. Autodesk reserves the right to alter product and services offerings, and specifications and pricing at any time without notice, and is not responsible for typographical or graphical errors that may appear in this document.
Circular Supply Chains Need Intelligent and Distributed Manufacturer Networks
November 22, 2021
Gone are the fleeting days of component parts showing up just in time for production from an unknown combination of suppliers. After pioneering the just-in-time supply chain, Toyota responded to the Fukushima disaster by stockpiling critical components — such as semiconductor chips — with enough supply for months at a time. That was a decade ago.
Now, Toyota may be doing better than its competitors while a global chip shortage costs the automotive industry upwards of $110 billion in car sales. However, more industries are recognizing the limitations of a just-in-time strategy applied broadly to every component part and raw material across globalized supply chains.
As unforeseen disruptions increase — whether the COVID-19 pandemic or climate-related natural disasters — and as more products demand critical, limited resources, intense fluctuations in demand, labor shortages, inadequate equipment and physically damaged facilities contribute to an instability of manufacturing capacity. Underdeveloped manufacturing capacity leaves industries exposed to risk, price volatility, market dislocations and lost value.
Unfortunately, first-mile stakeholders in the supply chain are often most at risk of losing value in the face of disruptions. For example, demand for lumber sharply increased when homeowners sought to remodel and build new houses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, U.S. sawmills (largely Canadian-owned) had to shut down over 40 percent of their capacity during this same time period. Yet forestry growers — producing timber that becomes lumber — suffered in a buyer’s market and saw prices for timber remain low: When adjusted for inflation, timber prices are at their lowest over the past 50 years.
While the market has since recalibrated and the lumber bubble may be just one instance in which supply was ill-prepared to manage demand, the whole of today’s U.S. manufacturing is just 11 percent of GDP — near its lowest in over 70 years. Underdeveloped manufacturing capabilities from generations of regional specialization pose significant risk to meeting demand and climate goals. U.S. Secretary of Energy, Jennifer Granholm recently wrote: “We have weak domestic supply chains for technologies critical to our economic and national security… China is the only country with control over every tier of the supply chain for critical materials like the lithium we need for vehicle batteries, including 80 percent of raw material refining capacity… Other countries, especially China, produced 85 percent of transformers for our electric grid — while America still produces almost none.”
The automotive, energy and tech industries must contend with critical rare earth metal supply chains needed for everything from batteries to solar panels. These products are reliant on limited resources, often harmfully extracted from biodiverse regions fraught with social inequities. The ability to (re)manufacture and recycle these raw materials efficiently and locally is critical to business continuity in an increasingly resource-constrained world.
The time is now: Advances in automation and machine learning, rising pay globally and increasing risk from supply chain disruptions suggest that onshoring manufacturing is increasingly attractive to many product producers. Against this backdrop, what do resilient and circular supply chains look like? Supply chain managers are finding the right instances to:
- Create visibility into manufacturing supply chains to better prepare for and manage risk
- Produce with distributed, more regionally resilient supply networks
- Source feedstocks locally and from more available recycled content
Smart entrepreneurs are seizing the moment to build more resilient, circular supply chains. Partsimony, a company dedicated to building cognitive supply chains and increasing efficiencies, closed a $2 million seed round led by Closed Loop Partners’ Ventures Group with participation from Contour Ventures, Urban Us and other top institutional and angel investors. Partsimony applies machine learning to build a predictive and dynamic manufacturing market network, helping solve for the manufacturer discovery and price quoting process for complex hardware companies — which can be an opaque, manual and excel-based process today for both the hardware company and the manufacturer. Partsimony provides hardware companies with a better, real-time understanding of their manufacturers’ capabilities and pricing, helping them iterate and commercialize products faster and with increasingly distributed supply chains. Partsimony also supports the manufacturer by serving as a qualified lead generation platform to acquire customers whose products match technical capacity (production methods and volumes) and help manufacturers maximize margin.
Partsimony’s platform demonstrates how increased transparency and intelligence across supply chains can ultimately benefit business, people and the planet through three core activities:
Digitizing supplier relationships creates transparency
When supply chain disruptions happen, hardware companies need better control over their production and transparency into their suppliers to adapt quickly. Case in point: Toyota knew to safeguard its chip supply because of the company’s “no black box” approach, only adopting technologies it truly understands, down to the gases and the metals of each component. This supply chain visibility — down to the material level — is a critical driver of resiliency, and we invested in Partsimony because its platform helps enable this kind of visibility.
Distributed manufacturing supply chains shorten lead times
Adopting a distributed manufacturer network of on-shore manufacturing within existing off-shore manufacturing supply chain networks is increasingly becoming a competitive advantage. This is not about an America-first dogma; on-shoring of manufacturing helps regionalize the production for any supply chain. Doing so shortens lead times and helps diversify the supplier base. Distributed manufacturer networks are primarily about developing resilient and sustainable business practices, with the added benefit of reducing emissions associated with the international transportation of raw materials and finished component parts. Working with customers such as Stanley Black & Decker, Partsimony has demonstrated 96 percent cost reductions and 83 percent lead time reductions.
Data-driven recommendations can leverage engineering insights and incentivize use of recycled content
Design and material selection have an outsized impact on the circular impact of products. A poorly designed product may choose hard-to-recycle and fossil fuel-based materials in formats where the materials are intermingled and difficult to separate for recovery — a product William McDonough would call a “monstrous hybrid.” Now, Partsimony’s AI supports hardware companies in testing novel, more sustainable materials and alternative manufacturing methods in products from the very first point of design. Engineers upload their digital designs or CAD files to the platform, and Partsimony is building its AI to read the structural requirements of the component part and potentially recommend materials from recycled content, as well as alternative manufacturing solutions.
Digital visibility, distributed manufacturer networks and data-driven infrastructures are the circular antidotes to today’s analog and fragile supply chains. The COVID-19 pandemic is not the first black-swan event within this century, and it most certainly will not be the last. Climate-related disasters will continue to upset business-as-usual, just-in-time production and manufacturing. If we want to design more circular products with more socially equitable access, we must also capitalize on the supply chain disruptions in front of us to redesign our supply chain to be more resilient and more circular.
Originally published in GreenBiz
Closed Loop Partners Releases Data Visualization Tool That Shows Significant Opportunity to Recapture Valuable Plastic Waste in the U.S. and Canada
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
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 RecycleBA.com.
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.
Two Georgia-Pacific Recycled Paper Mills Open Opportunities for Paper Cup Recycling
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 www.fpi.org.
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 www.nextgenconsortium.com.
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: gp.com.
Closed Loop Partners Acquires a Stake in Balcones Resources to Further Advance Recycling and the Development of the Circular Economy
Closed Loop Partners and Balcones Resources will expand recycling and circular economy infrastructure and services across the United States, recapturing valuable materials and returning them to the manufacturing supply chain.
Contact: [email protected]
October 3 – Closed Loop Partners, a New York based investment firm focused on building the circular economy, announced today the acquisition of a stake in Balcones Resources through its private equity fund, the Closed Loop Leadership Fund.
Balcones Resources is a nationally recognized, best-in-class environmental services company that has been in business for 25 years, handling commercial and residential recycling, among other services, in Texas and Arkansas. Their commitment to operational excellence, advanced technology, and long-term partnerships makes Balcones an ideal platform to scale the circular economy within their current markets and across the United States.
Kerry Getter, Chairman and CEO of Balcones will continue to lead the company. Getter says,
“The expertise that Closed Loop Partners brings to the new relationship will provide unprecedented opportunities for corporate management and shareholder growth. Balcones and Closed Loop Partners’ cultures are similarly aligned. Together, we will be able to enhance employee opportunities, services to our customers, and assist in achieving a diverse set of ambitious environmental goals.”
The partnership builds on Closed Loop Partners’ extensive network of strategic stakeholders across the recycling and manufacturing value chain, from supplier relationships with corporate partners to recycling facilities to manufacturers across the United States. By better connecting and integrating the system, costs and volatility in the market are reduced.
“We’re investing across the supply chain with a long-term view of a more profitable and sustainable future. By scaling best-in-class businesses like Balcones, we will strengthen recycling and circular economy infrastructure in the U.S.”
Ron Gonen, CEO of Closed Loop Partners
The Closed Loop Leadership Fund brings together corporate investors, institutional investors, family offices, and foundations committed to building circular supply chains that reduce costs, increase margins, and protect the environment we share.
About Closed Loop Partners
Closed Loop Partners is an investment platform that invests in sustainable consumer goods, recycling and the development of the circular economy. Investors include many of the world’s largest consumer goods companies and family offices interested in investments that provide strong financial returns and tangible social impact. Learn more at www.closedlooppartners.com.
About Balcones Resources
Balcones Resources began operations in 1994 and has grown into a nationally recognized firm and one of the top 50 recyclers in North America. With more than 200 employees across its three locations, Balcones is a recycling partner for municipalities, multi-tenant facilities, corporate campuses, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers. For more information on Balcones Resources and its environmental services, visit BalconesResources.com.