How a South Carolina paper mill started recycling your paper coffee cups: A spotlight on Sonoco and its recycling tests with the NextGen Consortium
September 26, 2023
In July 2022, Sonoco announced it would accept paper cups in bales of mixed paper at its paper mill in Hartsville, South Carolina. The NextGen Consortium supported cup trials with Sonoco. Below, we discuss with Scott Byrne, Director, Global Sustainability Services at Sonoco how the organization made this decision and what considerations companies might want to take when exploring the recyclability of different types of packaging.
This work represents part of a forthcoming report on paper cup recovery in the United States intended for release in late fall.
Scott Byrne, Director, Global Sustainability Services at Sonoco
1. Who is Sonoco and what are you focused on?
Sonoco is a South Carolina-based global packaging company with more than 20 mills worldwide. Among our packaging products, we manufacture rigid paper cans, steel cans, thermoformed plastics and other packaging formats. Sonoco is uniquely positioned as a leading recycler, paper mill operator and paper packaging converter, in addition to other formats, to help push the industry to look towards future innovations and grow end-of-life solutions across the entire paper value chain.
2. How do you typically approach recycling of new products at your mills?
After validating that our mills could recycle rigid paper cans in residential mixed paper, we decided to further demonstrate the ability to recycle other similar polycoated fiber-based containers through the post-consumer mixed paper stream.
3. Where do you currently accept paper cups?
Hartsville, South Carolina. and we are exploring other Sonoco mills as well that use residential mixed paper.
4. What are some of the steps you took to determine that accepting cups wouldn’t create new challenges for your mill?
With support from the NextGen Consortium, we conducted two main activities to assess how cups might behave. First, we conducted lab-based testing of both single- and double-sided poly-coated fiber cups. Second, and after we were confident that the cups would not pose any issues to our equipment, we ran a large-scale trial whereby we dosed in nearly 20 tons of cupstock and cups into our pulper alongside other mixed paper, increasing the volume relative to other materials to test the system and upper bounds of materials we’d anticipate receiving if we accepted cups. Based on those results we felt confident that cups could be included in our accepted materials list and we were thrilled to have the mill listed alongside others on Foodservice Packaging Institute’s end market map of mills that accept cups.
5. What about your other paper mills?
Before we broadly accept cups at more of our mills, we’d want to distill our findings from the Hartsville location and consider any additional steps those mills would need to take to feel confident in accepting cups. This might include additional lab-and mill-based trials.
6. Any advice you’d give to other mills considering including cups?
Every mill is slightly different, from their equipment to operating conditions to inbound material mix. Testing to those conditions is a key proof point in determining what might work best in that location.
7. What’s next for Sonoco in its efforts to improve polycoated paper recycling?
Sonoco is a founding member of the Polycoated Paper Alliance that kicked-off in March 2023, which aims to increase widespread end-market acceptance of polycoated paper packaging products. We are collaborating with like-minded member brands and industry leaders on developing improved and harmonized data, updated design guidelines, expanded end market acceptance and upgraded mill specifications, among other initiatives.
How AI Could Change the Way We Think About Recycling
September 11, 2023
Closed Loop Partners’ Center for the Circular Economy and the NextGen Consortium launch a new study with AI technology company Greyparrot to analyze the composition of polypropylene in recycling streams
Behind the walls of recycling facilities across the U.S., a sea of materials moves through hands and machines working hard to get them to the end of the line––and the beginning of their next life. A critical balance of manual labor and automation enables the sorting and recovery of these materials in a closed loop system. Yet despite a multi-step sortation process, it is difficult to track what flows through the system at all times. It’s a challenge that results in many recycled materials losing potential value, in addition to millions of dollars worth of valuable material being sent to landfill unintentionally.
Among the diverse materials flowing through the recycling system are the yogurt containers, and iced coffee and fountain beverage cups many of us use on a regular basis. These are just a few examples of products made of one of the most commonly used resins in foodservice packaging today: polypropylene (PP). PP is a valuable material that should be kept in circulation to reduce waste and meet corporate commitments to use more recycled content in foodservice packaging. With that said, very little mechanically recycled food-grade PP actually cycles back into food-grade applications. Most end up in nonfood-grade applications that limit their value and the number of times they can be reused. To create a more circular path for food-grade PP, we must first answer the question: what is in the PP stream today, and how much of it is food-grade or clear food-grade PP?
The NextGen Consortium is a multi-year industry collaboration addressing single-use foodservice packaging waste by advancing solutions across material innovation, reuse and recovery infrastructure––and it’s working to answer that question. In the fall of 2022, the Consortium partnered with Resource Recycling Systems to examine PP bales in two materials recovery facilities (MRFs) to learn what was inside. While only a snapshot in time, the results were enlightening.
On average, nearly half of the PP bales (48%) were presumed food-grade, and more than a quarter of the bales were clear food-grade (26%). Clear beverage cups represented 14% of the bale on average. The high percentage of food-grade PP suggested that there is untapped value in the PP stream. A better system is required to ensure food-grade and/or clear food-grade PP is properly sorted into a separate bale at some point in the value chain if we are to retain its highest potential value.
This year, the NextGen Consortium is diving even deeper, launching a first-of-its-kind study leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) to analyze the composition of the PP material stream well before it ends up in a bale. Together with its managing partner––Closed Loop Partners’ Center for the Circular Economy––the NextGen Consortium is working with Greyparrot, a leading AI waste analytics platform for the circular economy. The collaboration aims to track and categorize objects in the PP stream, and determine the volume of valuable food-grade material passing through the system. AI is on the rise as one potential means of increasing visibility into the recycling process. Today, more technologies are needed to handle an increasingly mixed stream of collected materials, including plastics, electronics, textiles and food scraps––and to enable the recovery of clean, high-quality materials.
“Ensuring that recovery infrastructure can keep pace with a rapidly growing and diverse material stream is critical to advancing the circular economy, alongside solutions such as material innovation, reduction and reuse,” said Kate Daly, Managing Director and Head of the Center for the Circular Economy at Closed Loop Partners. “An important part of our work in the NextGen Consortium is identifying opportunities for data collection and analysis that can advance the circularity of foodservice packaging, and drive greater value for stakeholders across the system, including brands, innovators, infrastructure operators and consumers.”
As part of this project, the Greyparrot Analyser units will be installed above the PP recovery conveyor belts at four leading U.S. MRFs: Balcones Recycling, TX; Cougles Recycling, PA; Rumpke Recycling, OH; and Eureka Recycling, MN. Greyparrot’s AI-powered computer vision system uses cameras to capture images of objects in the PP stream, aiming to quantify and qualify the materials flowing through the MRFs. Their AI model will look to categorize each object based on material, format, financial value and brand, as well as distinguish food- and nonfood-grade material, using those images. Their units will then send that data to an analytics dashboard in real-time. Through machine learning, the flexible vision systems can help improve their package recognition and classification over time.
“We use artificial intelligence to gain continuous and reliable visibility into recycling streams,” said Ambarish Mitra, Co-founder and CPO of Greyparrot. “This helps us improve recycling operations by placing waste intelligence into the hands of the people who are recovering, redesigning and remanufacturing the objects we throw away. We are thrilled to work with our U.S. partners towards our vision of a future where every piece of waste is valued as a resource.”
The collaborative project––a first of its kind in North America––will run for more than six months. During that period, it will gather data on the composition of PP bales over time, while accounting for seasonality. That insight can help determine the potential untapped value in these streams, and identify other materials that might be coming through unintentionally. This data can also help shed light on the presumed volume of food-grade material being captured in the system, along with opportunities for recovery and separation into distinct value chains. More broadly, this can advance a circular economy for valuable materials, improve material quality delivered to recycling facilities, and enhance the value of recyclable commodities shipped to U.S. end markets.
“A lot is unknown about the curbside polypropylene stream today. Filling these knowledge gaps can increase the pace of development for material recovery. Understanding the composition of the stream in a large-scale study highlights potential, reduces risk for pioneers and accelerates better design implementation. This study will be the catalyst to developing much larger-scale recycling of polypropylene,” said Curt Cozart, President of Common Sense Solutions and Technical Advisor to the project.
PP cup recovery––alongside material innovation, reuse and fiber cup recovery––is a critical focus for the NextGen Consortium. According to The Recycling Partnership, more than 2 billion pounds of PP are generated every year by single-family households in the U.S. If just 30% of this material were recovered, it would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 300,000 metric tons, providing over 600 million pounds of valuable raw material to companies with recycled content commitments for their foodservice packaging, both voluntary and mandated.
The NextGen Consortium has been actively involved in PP recovery since 2021, when it joined The Recycling Partnership’s Polypropylene Recycling Coalition as a Steering Committee member. Through this initiative, the group helps to fund equipment grants for MRFs so that they can effectively capture PP packaging, and improve community recycling access rates. In addition to improving recycling access, the NextGen Consortium is committed to driving recycling rates by supporting the recovery of post-consumer recycled content (PCR) that can be re-incorporated into packaging.
This collaboration with Greyparrot and MRFs across the U.S. is one critical step toward achieving the NextGen Consortium’s goals. As more data about the PP material stream is captured over the next six months, the Consortium will analyze the new data, identifying opportunities to improve PP sortation and recovery into higher value, new food-grade applications and areas where more research is needed. The NextGen Consortium continues to invite additional MRFs to participate in the project, to gain a better understanding into what is flowing through their material streams and identify ways to drive more value to the system.
About the NextGen Consortium
The NextGen Consortium is a multi-year 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, with The Coca-Cola Company and PepsiCo as sector lead partners. JDE Peet’s, Wendy’s and Yum! Brands are supporting partners. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is the environmental advisory partner. Learn more at www.nextgenconsortium.com.
About the Center for the Circular Economy at Closed Loop Partners
Closed Loop Partners is a New York-based investment firm comprised of venture capital, private equity, project-based finance and an innovation center. In 2018, Closed Loop Partners launched its innovation center, the Center for the Circular Economy, which unites competitors to tackle complex material challenges and to implement systemic change that advances the circular economy. Closed Loop Partners brings together designers, manufacturers, recovery systems operators, trade organizations, municipalities, policymakers and NGOs to create, invest in, and support scalable innovations that target big system problems. Learn more about the Center’s work here.
Upstream and Closed Loop Partners Announce Finalists of The Reusies® 2022
June 15, 2022
Making Throw Away Go Away
The Reusies: “The Oscars of the Reuse Movement” celebrates heroes championing a world without waste
NEW YORK June 15, 2022 – Upstream, a non-profit sparking innovative solutions to plastic pollution, today announced the finalists of the Second Annual Reuse Awards, The Reusies® 2022. The Reusies is a groundbreaking awards program honoring changemakers developing a better way than throw-away, advancing systemic change and co-creating a world where we can get what we need and want without all the waste. In 2021, the inaugural Reusies received nominations and submissions from over 1,200 leading startups, environmental activists and community leaders in the United States that are growing the reuse movement. This year, with the growing momentum behind reuse, The Reusies is expanding upon that reach and furthering their mission of celebrating the heroes of the reuse movement across the United States and Canada.
The second annual Reusies awards ceremony will be livestreamed on September 29, 2022 and presented in partnership with circular economy-focused investment firm and innovation center, Closed Loop Partners.
“The 2022 Reusies continues the momentum and excitement from last year’s event and will celebrate the pioneers and innovators of the new reuse economy,” said Matt Prindiville, CEO and Chief Solutioneer at Upstream. “Our goal is to highlight the individuals and organizations who recognize the urgency of the moment, and are working on the systemic changes we need to drastically reduce plastic pollution not in five or ten years, but right now.”
Honors to be awarded during the show include Most innovative Reuse Company, Corporate Initiative of the Year, Activist of the Year, and Reuse Community of the Year. Free tickets and VIP passes are available now at www.TheReusies.org. The final winners will be announced during the show.
“We face an urgent and growing global waste challenge,” said Bridget Croke, Managing Director at Closed Loop Partners. “We are proud to partner with Upstream on the annual Reusies to drive forward the reuse trailblazers and incredible ecosystem of innovators paving the way to a waste-free future. This is critical to our work to research, test and scale solutions that keep valuable materials in play and accelerate the transition to a circular economy.”
Upstream and Closed Loop Partners received hundreds of nominations from across the U.S. and Canada and the top finalists – selected by committees composed of The Reusies partners, experts and thought leaders across the industry – are all great examples of organizations and individuals who are advancing reuse from within their local communities to the biggest brands in the world .
The finalists for Most Innovative Reuse Company – expanded to four categories this year considering the exponential growth of the reuse movement since 2021 – are:
The finalists for the remaining three categories are:
Activist of the Year: Alejandra Warren, Jacqueline Omania, Yayoi Koizumi
Similar to last year, award winners will be selected by a combined panel of judges and public voting. Judges include:
Cam Pascual, Senior Program Officer, Plastic and Waste, World Wildlife Fund
Chris Dickerson, former MLB player/Co-Founder, Players for the Planet
Doreen Wong, Entrepreneurship Lead, Sustainable Ocean Alliance
Dr. Manasa Mantravadi, Pediatrician, Founder/CEO at AHIMSA®
Michelle Tulac, Senior Project Manager – North America at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation
Suz Okie, Director of Design Strategy & Senior Analyst, Circular Economy at GreenBiz Group
Poonam Watine, Knowledge Specialist, World Economic Forum
William McDonough, Chief Executive, McDonough Innovation and Co-author, Cradle to Cradle: Remaking The Way We Make Things
The event will be broadcast on September 29, 2022 at 4:00 PM PT / 7:00 PM ET and will include profiles on the finalists, award presentations and special guest appearances.
General admission is free and opens today at www.TheReusies.org. All ticket holders are automatically entered to win a Gibson Hummingbird Guitar valued at $3,999 and generously donated by Gibson Gives.
VIP group packages which include a virtual watch party in a branded suite (10 screens), opportunity to host an in-person watch party (1 screen) with inclusion in the live broadcast and other perks are available for purchase ($2,500 for an individual host, $3,000 for a corporate host). Individual VIP tickets are also available at $250 each. Category-exclusive sponsorship, advertising opportunities and brand integrations are also available. For more information, email [email protected]. For press inquiries, contact [email protected]; social: #TheReusies @Upstream_org @LoopFund.
Promotional partners of The Reusies 2022 include:
Upstream is an environmental non-profit sparking innovative solutions to plastic pollution by helping people, businesses and communities shift from single-use to reuse. The organization’s second annual National Reuse Awards (aka The Reusies), will take place virtually on September 29, 2022. To learn more about all Upstream programs, visit www.upstreamsolutions.org and follow on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube.
About Closed Loop Partners:
Closed Loop Partners is a New York-based investment firm comprised of venture capital, growth equity, private equity and catalytic capital, as well as an innovation center focused on building the circular economy. 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 at closedlooppartners.com.
Starbucks and McDonald’s Deploy Additional $10 Million with NextGen Consortium to Accelerate the Circularity of Foodservice Packaging & Address Urgent Waste Challenge
October 20, 2021
The Consortium expands its work to advance reusable packaging systems, strengthen recycling and composting infrastructure and scale foodservice packaging innovation
NEW YORK, Oct. 20, 2021 — Today, Closed Loop Partners announced an additional $10 million commitment from the NextGen Consortium‘s Founding Partners, Starbucks and McDonald’s, to continue the Consortium’s work: identifying, accelerating and scaling commercially viable, circular foodservice packaging solutions. The Coca-Cola Company increased its commitment to now participate as a Sector Lead Partner, paving the way for sustainable packaging solutions for its broad customer base. JDE Peet’s, Wendy’s and Yum! Brands will continue their participation as Supporting Partners in the Consortium, and the Consortium continues to invite other brands to join the effort.
Since 2018, the NextGen Consortium has made significant headway in advancing sustainable packaging innovation and recycling infrastructure to help end foodservice packaging waste, with an initial focus on redesigning the single-use hot and cold fiber cup. The Consortium’s NextGen Cup Challenge sourced 480 solutions globally to redesign the cup, selecting 12 winning solutions across three areas: innovative cup & cup liners, new materials, and reusable cup service models. Following the Challenge, the Consortium has continued to advance the development of innovative cup and cup liner innovations, and the Consortium’s Circular Business Accelerator supported six early-stage teams to help test and refine their solutions.
In 2019 and 2020, Accelerator teams executed on-the-ground tests at a large tech company’s campus with four solutions, including two reusable systems, moving to the pilot phase across 14 local, independent cafes in the San Francisco Bay area. These solutions received valuable feedback from customers, restaurants and other key stakeholders. Drawing on insights from those pilots, the Consortium released a first-of-its-kind report, Bringing Reusable Packaging Systems to Life, sharing a blueprint and open-source resource to encourage collaboration and the growth of reuse models. The Consortium also continued its work across the broader foodservice packaging value chain, conducting dozens of lab- and commercial-scale tests with recyclers, material test labs and paper mills to evaluate the performance, recyclability and recoverability of the fiber cup solutions. As part of this work, the Consortium collaborates with paper mills, recycling facilities and municipalities to expand recycling access and recovery of fiber cups as well as NextGen cups.
“Through NextGen, we’ve made great progress in growing more sustainable packaging solutions, and there is a lot more work to be done. Faced with increasing climate risks, eco-conscious customers and a resource-constrained world, the foodservice industry must double down on its efforts and band together to strategically tackle the mounting waste challenge,” said Kate Daly, Managing Director of the Center for the Circular Economy at Closed Loop Partners. “Starbucks, McDonald’s and other partners in the Consortium make clear their commitment to collaboratively accelerate more circular foodservice packaging solutions, and we encourage stakeholders––from packaging manufacturers to recyclers to designers––to join us in advancing NextGen solutions.”
With the additional $10 million in funding, the Consortium will expand its efforts, including and beyond the fiber cup, to strengthen the sustainable packaging ecosystem. The Consortium will deepen its customer research and testing of reusable packaging systems, explore the circularity of additional packaging materials such as polypropylene (PP), and accelerate the development of more widely recyclable and compostable fiber-based packaging solutions, as well as the infrastructure pathways needed for their recovery. The Consortium’s increased focus on PP is driven by the growing demand for recycled PP in foodservice packaging, and the need to optimize recycling infrastructure to capture the material. With its additional focus on polypropylene, in 2020, the Consortium joined The Recycling Partnership’s Polypropylene Recycling Coalition as a Steering Committee member, collaborating to allocate millions of dollars in grants to recycling facilities to improve polypropylene recycling.
“Starbucks’ work with the NextGen Consortium has been an important part of our ongoing efforts to reduce single use cup waste, part of our larger goal to reduce waste sent to landfills by 50% by 2030,” said Michael Kobori, Chief Sustainability Officer at Starbucks. “There has never been a more critical time for industry collaboration to shift away from single-use packaging, promote reusability, and champion recyclability. We are thrilled to continue our work with the NextGen Consortium to drive sustainable solutions for our planet.”
“Over the last three years, the NextGen Consortium has demonstrated that working together as an industry helps accelerate sustainable change, and is paving a clear pathway forward for the industry to scale packaging solutions that can benefit the planet and the communities we serve,” said Marion Gross, Senior Vice President and Chief Supply Chain Officer at McDonald’s North America. “Knowing that industry-wide collaboration is essential to creating lasting, scalable impact, we invite others to join us in this important work to advance solutions and eliminate packaging waste.”
Individual waste mitigation efforts by Founding Partners Starbucks and McDonald’s further bolster the Consortium’s work to accelerate sustainable packaging innovation, foster more robust recovery opportunities for packaging, and develop, enhance and optimize emerging reuse models. Starbucks continues to innovate to encourage the use of personal reusable cups in stores, most recently in partnership with Ocean Conservancy, and will continue to test and learn from programs geared toward reducing single-use cups around the world. McDonald’s has also made strides toward reuse, partnering with TerraCycle’s Loop platform to pilot reusable cups in the brand’s UK stores, and continues to make tremendous progress in ensuring its packaging comes from renewable, recycled or certified sources.
“Getting to a circular economy will require every community, organization and industry to be involved in making it a reality. The food & beverage industry touches all people, and so the need for more sustainable packaging for our customers is a top priority,” said Alpa Sutaria, General Manager, Sustainability, North America Operating Unit, The Coca-Cola Company. “We are proud not only to continue our work with the NextGen Consortium, but to increase our commitment, now as a Sector Lead Partner. We invite others to join us in this effort to strengthen and scale circular solutions for packaging.”
“With approximately 11 million metric tons of plastic waste ending up in our oceans every year, we need to bring circular packaging solutions to the table. We know that to tackle this massive, shared challenge, all stakeholders have to be involved,” said Erin Simon, Head of Plastic Waste + Business at the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). WWF is an environmental advisory partner for the Consortium. “The NextGen Consortium can play an important role in catalyzing the collaboration we need by enabling cross-sector partnerships and open-source insight sharing, and we are proud to be a partner in this important work.”
Moving forward, even greater collaboration among businesses, industry groups, nonprofits and others will be needed to solve systemic waste challenges. Through the expanded commitment of the NextGen Consortium, the multi-year collaboration will continue to work across the value chain––with global brands, municipalities, NGOs, recyclers and manufacturers––to advance viable market solutions that scale throughout the supply chain and bring value to recovery systems.
About the NextGen Consortium
The NextGen Consortium is a multi-year 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, with The Coca-Cola Company joining as a sector lead partner. JDE Peet’s, Wendy’s and Yum! Brands are supporting partners. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is the environmental advisory partner. Learn more at www.nextgenconsortium.com.
About the Center for the Circular Economy at 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. In 2018, Closed Loop Partners launched its innovation center, the Center for the Circular Economy, which unites competitors to tackle complex material challenges and to implement systemic change that advances the circular economy. Closed Loop Partners brings together designers, manufacturers, recovery systems operators, trade organizations, municipalities, policymakers and NGOs to create, invest in, and support scalable innovations that target big system problems. Learn more about the Center’s work here.
The Recycling Partnership Announces Three Grants to Improve Polypropylene Curbside Recycling for Millions of Americans
March 31, 2021
Polypropylene Recycling Coalition brings total awards to nearly $3 million in grants, impacting 7.2 million people nationally
FALLS CHURCH, Va., March 31, 2021 — The Recycling Partnership today announced a second round of grant funding through its Polypropylene Recycling Coalition, distributing nearly $1 million in catalytic grants to advance polypropylene recycling in the U.S. Launched in July 2020, the Polypropylene Recycling Coalition (Coalition) is a cross-industry collaboration supported by steering committee members Keurig Dr Pepper, Braskem, NextGen Consortium, and the Walmart Foundation, along with other members of the polypropylene value chain. Polypropylene, sometimes referred to as No. 5 plastic, is used in an array of food and non-food packaging and is in strong demand as a recycled material.
Through its second round of grant funding, the Coalition will provide an additional three grants to Materials Recovery Facilities (MRFs) across the United States to boost sortation of polypropylene and support targeted consumer education efforts. To date, the Coalition has awarded grants for seven MRFs across the U.S. These investments aim to improve curbside polypropylene recycling access for an additional 3% of all U.S. households, impacting a total of 7.2 million people nationally. This aims to increase the recovery of polypropylene by an estimated 4,300 tons annually to be made into new products, such as consumer packaging and automotive parts, rather than being sent to landfills or incineration.
“The Polypropylene Recycling Coalition is leading the effort to rapidly drive meaningful, measurable change that will improve and increase the capture of polypropylene in U.S. curbside recycling. We continue to encourage all companies that use polypropylene to join us in being part of the solution to ensure greater and better capture of this recyclable material,” said Sarah Dearman, Vice President of Circular Ventures, The Recycling Partnership. “This fast, meaningful, and collaborative work will support jobs, preserve natural resources, and help support the transition to a circular economy in the United States.”
The Coalition awards grants to MRF candidates that face significant challenges in their ability to effectively sort and recycle polypropylene. With these strategic investments, polypropylene will now be accepted curbside in more communities and sent to established end markets, encouraging the shift to a circular economy. Further supporting the shift, community members in these areas will also be educated as to what is and isn’t accepted in their curbside recycling.
The three newest grantees include:
- American Recycling in Candler, North Carolina
- DEM-CON in Shakopee, Minnesota
- Independent Texas Recyclers in Houston, Texas
The combined geographic reach of the first two rounds of grantees includes MRFs across the Northern, Southern, Eastern, and Western regions of the U.S. The widespread interest and commitment from MRFs across the U.S. to growing the collection and sortation of recyclable polypropylene clearly demonstrates the market strength for this material nationwide.
The Coalition received a strong response to both the first and second rounds of requests for proposals and continues to accept grant applications to further its efforts to advance polypropylene curbside recycling. The next grant proposal request is due June 30, 2021. MRFs interested in sorting and recycling polypropylene are encouraged to apply.
The mission-driven work of the Coalition is supported by contributions from organizations representing all segments of the material’s value chain, including the Coalition’s newest member, Sabert Corporation. In addition to the aforementioned steering committee members, other members of the Coalition include American Chemistry Council, Campbell Soup Company, Danone North America, EFS-plastics, The Kroger Co. Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation, KW Plastics, LyondellBasell, Merlin Plastics, Milliken & Company, Nestlé, PolyQuest, Procter & Gamble, St. Joseph Plastics, and Winpak. The Polypropylene Recycling Coalition is advised by industry leaders including: Association of Plastic Recyclers, former EPA Administrator Carol Browner, Closed Loop Partners, Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners, Sustainable Packaging Coalition, and World Wildlife Fund.
The Coalition is part of The Recycling Partnership’s Pathway to Circularity, an initiative creating scalable solutions to packaging and system challenges to accelerate the shift to a circular economy that uses fewer finite resources.
To learn more about the Polypropylene Recycling Coalition, its members, and how to get involved in supporting its goals, visit recyclingpartnership.org/polypropylene-coalition. For MRFs interested in applying for a grant, the application is available on our website.
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 work 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 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, Wendy’s and Jacobs Douwe Egberts are supporting partners. World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is the advisory partner and IDEO is the innovation partner. Learn more at www.nextgenconsortium.com.
SOURCE The Recycling Partnership