Recycling Partnership Selects First Three Partner Cities

National initiative welcomes newest member Amcor

Curbside Value Partnership (CVP) is pleased to announce that the Recycling Partnership selected initial cities for activity and welcomed Amcor as the newest contributing Partner. “After last week’s official launch of The Recycling Partnership, we continue to gain steam with this week’s addition of Amcor. We are very pleased to gain their experienced voice to the growing group of Recycling Partners,” said CVP executive director, Keefe Harrison. Founded on July 1, 2014, the Recycling Partnership, in only week two, selected initial partner cities for the first round of work. “Once the contract ink has dried, we’ll be eager to announce these cities,” explains Harrison.

Partners companies and organizations include: Alcoa Foundation, Amcor, American Chemistry Council, American Forest & Paper Association, the Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers, Ball Corporation, Carton Council, Coca-Cola, SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association, and Sonoco.

CVP has a long track record of increasing the recovery of recyclables and is confident that this collaboration will contribute even more results. As CVP’s board chair and Alcoa global manager for sustainability and recycling Beth Schmitt explains, “We believe the Recycling Partnership is one of the most innovative and solution-based programs happening in the country. The public/private investment strategy has the potential to change the game in the Southeast and potentially the U.S.” Alcoa Foundation was first to announce financial support of the Partnership.

“Savvy companies understand that supporting strong local recycling programs will help them meet their sustainability and business goals; and drive recycled feedstock into hungry mills and processing facilities. That’s why CVP has launched The Recycling Partnership,” explains CVP project director Karen Bandhauer. The national project will target Partner contributions to utilize outreach, technical assistance, and infrastructure improvements to increase programmatic health and boost recycling rates. “The approach: seed private dollars to unlock public investments and improvements, and ultimately new material supply.”

Loosely connected yet highly dependent, the network of public and private sectors that make up the collective recycling industry require a different set of repairs, investments, and updates from one step along that reverse supply chain to the next. However with a little system-solution finesse, CVP projects successful responses in the United States’ recyclable-hungry market place. While growth does happen on its own, strategic investments can ensure that change comes faster and will sustain, generating clean recyclables for the long haul.

There’s currently a smart and welcomed national discussion questioning the true nature of investments in recycling. What’s the difference between altruism and funding change? How do we know that projects create systematic improvements, not just one-time bumps in recovery? CVP thinks the difference between philanthropy and increasing the marketplace pull for materials has to do with strategy. As Carton Council representative and Recycling Partnership member Elisabeth Comere explains, “Smart investments of well-placed dollars should see lasting improvements that continue to deliver more, good recyclable materials into the marketplace long after the contributions have been made.”

Community recycling programs are the start of a reverse supply chain. CVP stresses that it is important to keep in mind that these community officials are first and foremost service providers for their citizens. Worker safety, community satisfaction and success on a shoestring are often the leading focuses of local officials. While solid approaches for program success, they do not always equally register the material demands of the industry.

“Our members, like many other recyclable commodities, are hungry for more good recyclables – they have the capacity, they have the demand. They just need the supply,” explains Steve Alexander, president of the Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers. The trade association understands it needs a better way to get the materials from the thousands of local governments who start the material supply chain APR members depend upon. “Local recycling program coordinators know how to do their job – generally we see that they’re good at it. But many of them have to struggle for the funding and staff to be able to meet their goals. It’s not a matter of can, it’s a matter of how. The industry needed to come up with a better ‘how.’ We think the Partnership is it.”

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