Closed Loop Partners 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 a 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 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.
The 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.