Curbside Value Partnership is pleased to announce that the Recycling Partnership is executing agreements with three cities, with a fourth city expected to be announced by the end of 2014. Columbia, South Carolina; Florence, AL and Richmond, VA have been selected as the inaugural 2014-2015 partner communities; contracts are expected to be finalized shortly. CVP is proud of the quick and decisive action taken by the Recycling Partnership funders in selecting this first set of communities. “Within a week of launching on July 1, 2014, our inaugural funders had narrowed down the pool, dedicated a budget, and empowered CVP to begin contract negotiations. We appreciate their swift decision-making and belief in our goal of leveraging grants and technical assistance to transform the US curbside recycling system,” says Keefe Harrison, CVP Executive Director.
Unique in the industry, the Recycling Partnership is coupling financial and technical assistance to create system-wide improvements for healthier recovery. Projections show that on average these first cities could realistically increase recovery of recyclable materials by more than 200%, bringing them on par with some of the top performing programs in the country. Charlie Schwarze, Global Sustainability Manager at Amcor Rigid Plastics explains why The Recycling Partnership is an important pathway to reaching corporate sustainability goals, “From a packaging perspective, sustainability and recycling go hand in hand. Increasing availability of recycled feedstock through an investment in the Recycling Partnership is one major way to help decouple our profitable growth from constrained natural resources.”
The first round of community partners demonstrate a strong willingness to collaborate in creating the best possible recycling program for their citizens. “Our city has focused on strong recycling education and excellent customer service for years, but we believe this opportunity will take us to the next level,” says John Hooks, Solid Waste Superintendent with the City of Columbia. “We can leverage this funding and technical expertise to deliver a world-class recovery program to our citizens, and we’re eager to get started.”
One of the key features of the city negotiations over the past few months has been determining what the optimal private/public funding mix will be to stretch the Recycling Partnership funding the farthest and unlock public investment. This approach creates value for the city and the private funders; it ensures that all players have a financial stake in implementing the best possible program. “We believe the Partnership has a smart approach to delivering measurable improvements in recovery,” notes Jeff Meyers, Manager of Sustainable Packaging at Coca-Cola. “Despite having just launched, The Recycling Partnership is already unlocking additional sources of funding and catalyzing curbside recycling projects. We are very pleased to be a funding partner and welcome others to join us.”
The Recycling Partnership understands that there needs to be a systems solution to the system-wide challenge. Engaged companies and organizations 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. This mutual benefit fuels the collaboration. In addition, emphasis is placed not just on driving more recycled material, but clean recycled material, a benefit felt across the supply chain. As Mike Pope, Director of Procurement at Sonoco Recycling notes, “We believe that the collective need to raise recovery rates must also incorporate a strong focus on quality as this is one of the greatest threats faced by the recycling industry. Contaminated materials contribute to unsafe working conditions, increased disposal costs and a reduction in the quality of end-market material. Overcoming this triple-threat is a key focus of our educational efforts and is one that needs to be front and center with the public, municipalities and recyclers alike”
According to Keefe Harrison, Executive Director of CVP, “Just a 10 percent increase in our national recycling rate would result in 24 million tons diverted from landfills, saving 55 million metric tons of CO2 and 104 billion gallons of water. As we partner with Columbia, Florence, Richmond and other cities to build infrastructure and support education and outreach, we are collaboratively making those results a reality. This is a great beginning and we look forward to welcoming future Partners.”