Minnesota-based Initiative Launches Circular Economy for Flexible Films
May 04, 2022
MBOLD coalition catalyzes new ecosystem to support a circular economy for flexible packaging and films in the Upper Midwest
ST. PAUL, Minn., May 04, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — A groundbreaking partnership led by Minnesota’s MBOLD coalition has united leading global businesses and research institutions to catalyze a regional circular economy for flexible films and packaging materials in the Upper Midwest. MBOLD members General Mills, Schwan’s Company, Target, Ecolab, Cargill, Land O’Lakes, Inc. and the University of Minnesota are collaborating across the value chain with film recycler Myplas USA, Inc. and film manufacturer Charter Next Generation.
This new initiative will expand film recycling infrastructure and the supply of recycled resin for use in new products, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and curtailing waste. With investment from MBOLD members and other stakeholders, Myplas USA will establish a state-of-the-art flexible film recycling plant in Minnesota, its first in the U.S. Slated to begin operations in spring 2023, this new 170,000-square-foot mechanical recycling plant aims to recycle nearly 90 million pounds of low- and high-density polyethylene packaging and film annually at full capacity.
“We are excited to collaborate across industries to advance recycling innovation for flexible films used in product packaging and more,” said Jeff Harmening, chairman and chief executive officer of General Mills and MBOLD co-chair. “This initiative reflects General Mills’ commitment to regenerating our planet and shows what’s possible when we work together to find creative solutions to shared challenges.”
The U.S. uses 12-15 billion pounds of flexible packaging and films annually, including select food packaging, shopping bags, shrink wrap, pallet wrap, e-commerce mailers, lawn and garden bags, and hay bale wrap, among many other products. However, only an estimated five percent of flexible films used in the U.S. are recycled each year, with the rest being landfilled, incinerated or even released into the environment.
“We are building a regional ecosystem to support circular approaches for flexible film,” said JoAnne Berkenkamp, managing director of MBOLD, an initiative of GREATER MSP. “By working together, we are catalyzing a new circular economy that will expand access to film recycling in the Upper Midwest, increase the supply of recycled resin for use in new film products and cut emissions.”
The initiative includes a combined $9.2 million equity investment in Myplas USA by lead investors General Mills, Schwan’s Company and Wisconsin-based film manufacturer Charter Next Generation, and supporting investors Target and Ecolab. Myplas’ new film recycling plant will be located in Rogers, Minn., northwest of Minneapolis, and will employ about 300 people.
Dimitrios Smyrnios, Schwan’s Company’s chief executive officer, said, “Reducing the environmental impact of our packaging is a core commitment for Schwan’s. That’s why we’re part of this joint equity investment in new recycling infrastructure. By returning flexible film to new uses, we can reduce waste and curtail dependence on virgin plastic. It’s good for the environment and our business.”
Compared with virgin plastics, studies show that use of recycled polyethylene resins offers significant life cycle benefits, including a 65 percent reduction in total energy used, a 59 percent reduction in water consumption and a 71 percent reduction in global warming potential1.
“Myplas has a deep passion for plastics recycling, and we’re proud to establish our first U.S. plant and our U.S. headquarters in Minnesota,” said Andrew Pieterse, Myplas USA chief executive officer. “Our partners’ commitment, investment and innovative thinking, paired with Myplas’ technical expertise, will be transformative for the entire region. We can’t wait to get started.”
Building demand for recycled polyethylene resin is also key to a thriving circular economy. To that end, Charter Next Generation will purchase recycled resin from Myplas for use in a variety of food, industrial and healthcare film products. MBOLD members Cargill, General Mills, Schwan’s Company, Land O’Lakes and the University of Minnesota will evaluate potential product applications using recycled resin with Charter Next Generation. Land O’Lakes, Cargill, Schwan’s Company and the University of Minnesota will explore opportunities to direct film waste to Myplas USA for recycling once the plant is operational.
Charter Next Generation Chief Executive Officer Kathy Bolhous said, “This collaboration with MBOLD and Myplas USA is forging a new future for packaging innovation. It will broaden our sustainable film portfolio, create an urgently needed solution for the region and help meet the growing demand for recycled content in packaging.”
The Alliance to End Plastic Waste and Closed Loop Partners are each providing multi-million dollar debt financing to Myplas USA to support development of their new Minnesota recycling facility. The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development is also supporting Myplas USA through $1 million from the Minnesota Investment Fund and $450,000 from the Minnesota Job Creation Fund.
“This is about protecting our environment and driving innovation,” said the State’s Employment and Economic Development Commissioner Steve Grove. “It’s about bringing a new industry to Minnesota and showing the world how the private and public sectors can come together to solve problems. The State of Minnesota is proud to support this effort, and we’re grateful to the companies that made it happen.”
About the Circular Economy Initiative Participants:
Land O’Lakes, Inc.
University of Minnesota
Myplas USA, Inc.
Charter Next Generation
Alliance to End Plastic Waste
Closed Loop Partners
Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development
1The Association of Plastic Recyclers. “Life Cycle Impacts for Postconsumer Recycled Resins: PET, HDPE, and PP.” December 2018.
For further information,
Contact: Jason Dorow
Nation’s Largest Project to Modernize Recycling Collection Launched in Baltimore
September 30, 2021
Funded by a groundbreaking public-private partnership, the project advances safer, more efficient, and equitable recycling access for nearly 200,000 Baltimore households
BALTIMORE (Sept. 30, 2021) – The City of Baltimore today launched delivery of nearly 200,000 curbside recycling carts, a $10 million-plus project estimated to increase recycling output per household by 80% and generate as much as 40 million pounds of new recyclables each year. The initiative to bring equitable curbside recycling access to the City’s 609,000 residents was made possible by a groundbreaking collaboration brought together by The Recycling Partnership, with the American Beverage Association’s Every Bottle Back initiative, Closed Loop Partners, Dow, the Baltimore Civic Fund, and Rehrig Pacific. The program will also help collect and recycle nearly 30 million new pounds of plastic over 10 years, including 16 million new pounds of polyethylene terephthalate (PET), commonly found in beverage bottles, that might otherwise have gone to waste.
This innovative public-private partnership includes a $3.6 million investment from The Recycling Partnership, consisting of $1.65 million from the beverage industry, a plastic resin donation for recycling carts from Dow, and large, lidded rollout recycling carts manufactured by Rehrig Pacific. This is bolstered by a $3 million investment from Closed Loop Partners’ Infrastructure Fund, which finances projects that grow and strengthen recycling and circular economy infrastructure in the United States. This first of its kind collaboration will help Baltimore provide free, larger recycling carts to nearly 200,000 households to collect and process more recyclable materials, including beverage bottles and cans. As part of the effort, the city will launch a recycling education campaign to inform the public about the new recycling carts and what can and cannot be recycled.
“Making Baltimore more sustainable through diverting waste from our landfills and incineration is key as we lay the groundwork for future generations,” said Mayor Brandon M. Scott. “By providing our residents with the proper resources and education thanks to this partnership, I know that more Baltimore households will do their part to reduce waste and recycle.”
“This unique public-private partnership has culminated in The Recycling Partnership’s largest recycling grant to date, providing an innovative solution that will meaningfully increase recycling rates and serve as a model for other cities,” said Cody Marshall, Chief of Community Strategy at The Recycling Partnership. “Cart-based recycling collection is a foundational element to any community’s recycling and sustainability program. Providing curbside recycling carts to all households makes waste diversion convenient for all while streamlining program operations – the definition of resiliency and sustainability.”
“The beverage industry’s Every Bottle Back initative seeks to achieve a truly circular economy for our 100% recyclable bottles through innovative public-private partnerships that improve recycling infrastructure and education in key regions of the country,” said Katherine Lugar, president and chief executive officer of the American Beverage Association. “Our collaboration in Baltimore ensures equitable access to recycling and that valuable materials, like our beverage bottles, are collected and remade into new bottles as intended keeping plastic out of the environment.”
Launched in 2019 by the American Beverage Association, Every Bottle Back is an unprecedented initiative to reduce the beverage industry’s plastic footprint by increasing the number of bottles collected and remade into new ones. Every Bottle Back brings together The Coca-Cola Company, Keurig Dr. Pepper, and PepsiCo with leading environmental and sustainability organizations – World Wildlife Fund, Closed Loop Partners, and The Recycling Partnership – to support the circular plastics economy.
“This marks a significant milestone in our collective work with the City of Baltimore and other key stakeholders ––proving what is made possible through meaningful collaboration. Strengthening the City’s local recycling system lays the groundwork for improved recycling rates, and ultimately, reduces the amount of valuable materials going to landfill or into nature,” says Ron Gonen, Founder & CEO of Closed Loop Partners. “We are proud to be a part of this groudbreaking partnership, and look forward to our continued work to advance more resilient and accessible recycling infrastructure across the United States.”
The City’s transition to automated recycling collection, a process that does not require collection staff to leave the truck’s cab, with larger, lidded recycling carts enables safer and more efficient collection, reduces the amount of manual labor needed, helps to prevent injury to collection staff, and ensures continuity of service during labor shortages, while minimizing waste in waterways and providing residents with increased storage capacity for their recyclables at the same time.
Baltimore’s Department of Public Works has called it a game-changer for the City’s waste diversion plan and the foundation for a brighter, cleaner Baltimore for generations to come. The delivery of free recycling carts is one of the key recommendations in the city’s Less Waste, Better Baltimore Plan, which identified options for improving solid waste diversion, recycling, and disposal.
“The Department of Public Works is excited to support this new initiative to increase recycling and waste diversion in Baltimore City,”said Baltimore City Department of Public Works Director Jason W. Mitchell. “We are grateful for the Mayor’s vision of a cleaner and more equitable Baltimore and the collaboration between Baltimore Civic Fund, The Recycling Partnership and Closed Loop Partners to make this a reality for the residents of our city. Essential to this critical partnership is the education component, which provides residents with helpful tips on proper recycling.”
As the new recycling carts are made from plastic resin, the roll-out of recycling carts to all Baltimore households would not have been possible without the generous donation of plastic resin from Dow or cart production by Rehrig Pacific, contributions that reduced the city’s infrastructure investment needs.
The Recycling Partnership’s recent Paying It Forward report shows that 40% of Americans don’t have equitable access to recycling and this project’s collaborative solution accelerates closing that gap for the eighth-largest city in the United States without universal cart recycling access, a key driver in the city launching its ambitious zero-waste goal.
“This collaboration will be a critical step in creating a more sustainable and circular community in Baltimore,” said Diego Donoso, president, Dow Packaging & Specialty Plastics. “I hope this project is just the beginning of future collaborations to bring improved recycling infrastructure across this country.”
“It’s exciting when our expertise and a city’s need align so perfectly,” said Marc Scott, Vice President of Environmental at Rehrig Pacific. “Sustainability is truly at the core of this company, and our ability to manufacture these carts from post-consumer content was an ideal solution to help the City of Baltimore continue as a leader in sustainability and innovation. Making a difference in communities while bringing sustainable manufacturing solutions to our partners is what brings real value in our line of work.”
Baltimore expects the delivery of recycling carts to be completed in early 2022.
About The Recycling Partnership
The Recycling Partnership is the action agent transforming the U.S. residential recycling system for good. Our team operates at every level of the recycling value chain and works on the ground with thousands of communities to transform underperforming recycling programs and tackle circular economy challenges. As the leading organization in the country that engages the full recycling supply chain, from working with companies to make their packaging more circular and help them meet climate and sustainability goals, to working with government to develop policy solutions to address the systemic needs of the U.S. recycling system, The Recycling Partnership positively impacts recycling at every step in the process. Since 2014, the nonprofit change agent diverted 230 million pounds of new recyclables from landfills, saved 465 million gallons of water, avoided more than 250,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases, and drove significant reductions in targeted contamination rates. Learn more at recyclingpartnership.org.
About the American Beverage Associations’ Every Bottle Back initiative:
The Every Bottle Back initiative is an integrated and comprehensive initiative by The Coca-Cola Company, Keurig Dr Pepper and PepsiCo, alongside sustainability leaders Closed Loop Partners, The Recycling Partnership and World Wildlife Fund, designed to improve plastics circularity.These efforts support individual sustainability commitments undertaken by The Coca-Cola Company, Keurig Dr Pepper and PepsiCo.
Learn more about Every Bottle Back at www.EveryBottleBack.
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. 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. Learn more at www.closedlooppartners.com
Dow (NYSE: DOW) combines global breadth, asset integration and scale, focused innovation and leading business positions to achieve profitable growth. The Company’s ambition is to become the most innovative, customer centric, inclusive and sustainable materials science company, with a purpose to deliver a sustainable future for the world through our materials science expertise and collaboration with our partners. Dow’s portfolio of plastics, industrial intermediates, coatings and silicones businesses delivers a broad range of differentiated science-based products and solutions for its customers in high-growth market segments, such as packaging, infrastructure, mobility and consumer care. Dow operates 106 manufacturing sites in 31 countries and employs approximately 35,700 people. Dow delivered sales of approximately $39 billion in 2020. References to Dow or the Company mean Dow Inc. and its subsidiaries. For more information, please visit www.dow.com or follow @
About Rehrig Pacific
Founded in 1913, Rehrig Pacific’s products and solutions create value for their customers’ products and ideas as they move throughout the global supply chain. The company’s proven success comes from focusing on the needs of its customers’ customer, integrating technology to eliminate waste, enhancing the consumer experience, continually delivering solutions that are simple and easy to implement, and providing ideas that are driven by a relentless commitment to sustainability. Learn more at www.RehrigPacific.com.
About The Baltimore Civic Fund
As the fiscal sponsor for the City of Baltimore, the Baltimore Civic Fund serves as the financial backbone for public-private partnerships between innovative City programs and the philanthropic community. In this role, the Civic Fund manages $12 million annually for more than 125 City programs that promote business and economic development, culture and the creative economy, job growth, and more. Working alongside the Mayor of Baltimore and City leadership, the Civic Fund strives to serve as a hub for connection and coordination between the City of Baltimore and the philanthropic community, helping to realize a vision of an inclusive city where all Baltimore residents prosper.
Featured Photo: Mayor Brandon M. Scott delivering recycling carts in Baltimore. Photographer: Danielle Smotkin, American Beverage Association
Fortune 500 Brands & Corporate Foundations Extend Over $54 Million in Capital Commitments with Closed Loop Partners
June 30, 2020
Investment will support urgent need for additional recycling infrastructure and the development of end markets, keeping valuable materials in circulation across the U.S.
New York, NY — Closed Loop Partners today announced that some of the world’s largest consumer brands and corporate foundations are extending more than $54 million in capital commitments with the Closed Loop Infrastructure Fund (CLIF). This extension is testament to the progress CLIF has made over the last five years toward building a more circular economy and the sense of urgency from these brands to accelerate their circular economy goals and support the transformation of the recycling system.
Today, the original nine investors in the fund – 3M, Coca-Cola, Colgate Palmolive, Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health, Keurig Dr. Pepper, PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, Unilever and The Walmart Foundation – are extending their capital commitments, strengthening their investment in the infrastructure needed to build a more circular economy. Amazon, Danone North America, Danone Waters of America, Nestlé Waters North America and Starbucks have since joined the fund. Together, these companies’ major investments support additional recycling infrastructure and spur growth and technological innovation around end markets for post-consumer materials across North America. No company will be able to address the issue of plastic waste alone, and we need the industry to collectively work together to accelerate circular supply chains and keep materials in play.
With a global pandemic, growing climate risks and increasingly tighter municipal budgets, continued investment is critical to build our recovery infrastructure and economy back in a way that builds good job opportunities and safe and robust recovery systems to manage the critical inputs to product and packaging supply chains. And today, these brands show their shared commitment toward building back better and creating more efficient and effective systems to turn their product and packaging waste back into the inputs to future manufacturing.
The corporate investors in the Closed Loop Infrastructure Fund have proven the value created from investing in the circular economy. We invite other companies, brands and investors to join these industry leaders by investing with us in the infrastructure and technology needed to keep materials in manufacturing supply chains and out of landfills and marine environments – Ron Gonen, CEO of Closed Loop Partners.
The initial investment from these brands has already leveraged more than $200 million in co-investment, supporting the development of domestic recycling infrastructure, local jobs and new markets in cities across the country, including:
- Eureka Recycling, Minneapolis, Minnesota: A locally operated nonprofit social enterprise, Eureka recovers nearly 100,000 tons of primarily residential recycling per year. This diverts valuable material from the incinerator or landfill and protects the health and environment of the local community. Eureka prides itself on its best-in-class operation, producing high quality material; the facility has one of the lowest contamination rates in the country. Eighty percent of the facility’s material stays in Minnesota and ninety percent in the Midwest, further spurring local growth. Eureka Recycling works everyday to demonstrate that waste is preventable not inevitable.
- Emerald Coast Utilities Authority (ECUA), Florida: Since building its own state-of-the-art single stream facility, the ECUA materials recovery facility has become an asset for a region that had not previously had a long-term or reliable solution for processing recyclables. The facility generates economic benefits in the form of avoided tipping fees and revenue from commodity sales. For the 21-month period starting in January 2017, the facility generated $4.2 million in economic benefits. To date, the facility has operated at a profit margin between 10% and 30%, which gives ECUA capital to invest in other critical water, sewage, and solid waste infrastructure and programs.
- TemperPack, Virginia: On the forefront of materials science innovation, TemperPack manufactures proprietary plant and fiber-based insulated packaging solutions for cold chain shipments, perishable food and pharmaceuticals. Their products replace the need for styrofoam, a type of plastic that contaminates recycling facilities. Instead, TemperPack’s solutions are certified curbside recyclable, bringing value to recovery systems across the U.S. as their materials are kept in circulation.
Today’s reinvestment announcement builds on the success of these projects and will fund similar projects to accelerate and build circular supply chains. Thirty-seven of the world’s largest consumer brands and retailers, including many of those fueling this investment, have made public commitments to use recycled plastics in their packaging within the next ten years. This signals the opportunity to shift billions of dollars from the “take, make, waste” linear supply chain to circular supply chains. Current projections indicate new real demand of 5 million to 7.5 million metric tons of recycled content by 2030, requiring an increase of supply of 200-300%. It will only be possible to meet this need through greater collective investment from brands to move technology along faster.
Brands and investors interested in learning more about CLIF or getting involved should contact [email protected]
Quotes from Our Investors
By connecting the dots across the entire value chain, Closed Loop Partners is committed to keeping valuable materials in play. With our ambitious goals around recyclability in practice and at scale, as well as the use of recycled content in our products, we need companies like Closed Loop Partners to continue to increase the efficiency of supply chains so that we can access more recycled content. The demand is there, but the supply side needs investment and that’s why we’re reinvesting our capital with Closed Loop Partners. Let’s continue the good work! – Ann Tracy, CSO, Colgate Palmolive
Keurig Dr Pepper’s business is fueled by the power of partnerships which we use to drive positive impact. We signed on as original investors in Closed Loop Partners’ Infrastructure Fund to address waste and pollution in North America. As the waste system and potential solutions continue to evolve, there is still work to be done. Today we are recommitting to the important work being done by CLP and our co-investors by reinvesting in the Infrastructure Fund and continuing to strengthen domestic recycling capacity and technology across the country – Monique Oxender, Chief Sustainability Officer, Keurig Dr Pepper
We joined the Closed Loop Investment Fund as a founding member because it is an innovative impact investment opportunity that we believe will increase access to recycling infrastructure across the U.S. Based on the rigorous performance criteria for the Fund, it has been a wise investment decision for our company and we have decided to reinvest for another five-year term. The Fund has shown how industry leaders can come together to advance the circular economy and create a more sustainable future – Paulette Frank, VP, Environmental Health, Safety & Sustainability, Johnson & Johnson
At 3M, Science for Circular is one of our top sustainability priorities and we are committed to advancing design solutions that do more with less material. To reach our targets and promote a global circular economy, we need to ensure recycled materials are widely available. Closed Loop Partners is on the front lines of this work and their investment in recycling facilities across the country has driven much needed growth. We are proud of our continued collaboration and aim to build on the momentum we are seeing in the recycling sector to create a better future – Gayle Schueller, Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer, 3M
At Coca-Cola we care about the environment and the natural resources we all share. That’s why we set a global goal to collect and recycle the equivalent of every bottle or can we sell globally by 2030. We know we can’t reach this goal without significant partners like the Closed Loop Fund who are helping to address the gaps in the domestic recycling system. We’re excited to continue our investment in the Closed Loop Fund and support their meaningful progress to optimize and upgrade recycling infrastructure as we work to realize our vision for a World Without Waste – Bruce Karas, Vice President, Safety and Sustainability, Coca-Cola North America
At PepsiCo, we’re striving to build a world where plastic need never become waste by reducing, recycling and reinventing our packaging. But we know we can’t do it alone. Through our investment in Closed Loop Partners’ Infrastructure Fund, recycling facilities across the country are being improved, helping give new life to materials and driving sustainable change. We are committed to building a circular future for packaging and know that impact at scale requires partnerships like this – Tim Carey, Vice President of Sustainability, PepsiCo Beverages North America
Now more than ever we are committed to making a positive impact on society and the environment. Strengthening and developing recycling infrastructure across North America is a critical part of this. Closed Loop Partners’ investment track record proves that investing in the development of the circular economy is not only environmentally beneficial but also good for the economic recovery. Increased access to recycling creates thriving communities, spurring innovation in end markets, getting materials back into supply chains for reuse and creating a healthier environment – Virginie Helias, Chief Sustainability Officer, Procter & Gamble
Our plastics commitments include halving our use of virgin plastic and collecting and processing more plastic than we sell by 2025. Investing in recycling infrastructure is key to both of these goals, and Closed Loop Partners helps make it possible to support a circular economy for plastics. Our vision is a world where everyone works together to keep plastic within the circular economy and out of the environment – Viviana Alvarez, Head of Sustainability for Unilever North America
The plastics value chain needs to be rewired for circularity, and innovation and infrastructure investments are needed to seriously address the plastic waste issue in the United States. We are proud to be a lead investor in the Closed Loop Infrastructure Fund to continue to advance waste reduction solutions in communities across the country – Chelsea Scantlan, Senior Program Officer, The Walmart Foundation
About Closed Loop Partners
Closed Loop Partners is a New York based investment firm comprised of venture capital, growth equity, private equity, project finance and an innovation center. The firm invests in the circular economy, a new economic model focused on a profitable and sustainable future. In 2014, Closed Loop Partners established the Closed Loop Infrastructure Fund (CLIF) that provides zero interest and below market rate loans to companies and municipalities building recycling and circular economy infrastructure in North America. Investors in CLIF include Amazon, 3M, Coca-Cola, Colgate Palmolive, Danone North America, Danone Waters of America, Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health, Keurig Dr. Pepper, Nestlé Waters North America, PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, Starbucks, Unilever and The Walmart Foundation. Learn more at www.closedlooppartners.com.