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.”