The organization’s dedication to communities, MRFs, material makers, brands, retailers, and people is covered in the report.
The Recycling Partnership, based in Falls Church, Virginia, has published its “2022 Impact Report,” which describes its interactions with local governments, material recovery facilities (MRFs), manufacturers of raw materials, brands and retailers, and individuals. The report shows a potential system in which:
-Every household is able to recycle,
-everyone is aware of the benefits of recycling,
-MRFs are fully modernized,
-stakeholders collaborate to remove material-specific barriers to recycling,
-packaging that enters the system is made to be recyclable or is on the road to being recyclable,
-recycling has a reliable public-private funding source based on wise policy.
The Recycling Partnership has invested $95 million to date, generating $241 million in overall value creation, which includes the following:
-$163 million in capital investments,
-$19 million in technical support provided to cities and states,
-$24 million in new recyclables collected,
-$16 million in carbon savings,
-$13 million in averted disposal expenses,
-$6 million in member consulting were all made in the recycling sector.
The Partnership is providing support to the state of Michigan, which set the target of raising its overall recycling rate from 14 percent in 2019 to 45 percent in 2030. In order to increase the quantity and quality of waste collected, the Partnership has offered assistance through donations such recycling carts for curbside collection, improved drop-off recycling, improved MRF operations, and the Feet on the Street initiative. In the first year of this partnership, pollution in curbside collection programs was decreased by 35%, contamination in drop-off programs by 26%, and participation increased by 10% in the majority of the affected areas.
The Partnership concentrated their efforts in Orlando, Florida, on improving recycling accessibility for multifamily buildings, which according to the group are among the most underserved in the country. A full-time city staffer was hired to supervise the multifamily recycling project thanks to a grant given to the city by the Partnership. In the first year of this four-year programme, 21,500 multifamily units received recycling services from the city. In the first year of the initiative, more recyclables were diverted from landfills than ever before because to increased participation in the city’s recycling program.
Nearly 200,000 free curbside recycling carts were given to city residents as part of a $10 million public-private partnership between Baltimore and The Recycling Partnership. According to the research, this is the largest alliance to date to modernize recycling, enabling safer and more effective collection while lowering waste in waterways. More than 40 million new value recyclables will be produced each year as a result of a projected 80 percent increase in recovered recyclables.
The Recycling Inclusion Fund, a special funding source established by The Partnership, is mentioned in the report. This fund is focused on transforming the recycling sector through research, infrastructure development, and leadership opportunities for the Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) community.
Using MRFs to solve
To combat aluminum can sorting challenges, The Partnership developed an aluminum beverage can capture MRF grant program to invest in eddy-current separators, robotic sorters, other equipment and process enhancements to collect more cans throughout the sortation process. In 2021, five grants total were given to MRFs around the country.
The research estimates that 71 million aluminum cans will be recycled annually as a result of the equipment installed at MRFs from the five 2021 can capture awards. The Can Manufacturers Institute’s impact calculator estimates that this will result in energy savings that could power more than 28 million American households for an hour and an additional $1.15 million in revenue for the country’s recycling system.
Since its establishment in July 2020, the Partnership’s Polypropylene Recycling Coalition has awarded more than $6 million in grants for community outreach initiatives and activities aimed at educating consumers. These funding, the paper claims, will touch approximately 18 million Americans and boost curbside polypropylene recycling access for roughly 7 percent of U.S. households.
Cooperating with suppliers of materials
Three coalitions focused on recycling certain materials are led by the Partnership: the PET (polyethylene terephthalate) Recycling Coalition, founded in 2022, the Film and Flexibles Recycling Coalition, and the Polypropylene Recycling Coalition. According to the organization, enhancing the recyclability of one type of material benefits the entire system by increasing the amount of material recovered and lowering contamination.
Due to a contamination rate of almost 40% in its curbside recycling program, Orange County, Florida, started working with The Partnership. The program produced 40 million pounds of recyclables yearly, increased material value by 23%, and reduced contamination by 29%. From 2020 to 2021, the county’s MRFs processed 10 times as much material. According to the research, when implemented countywide, the program with the county has the potential to recover $3.6 million in recycled material value.
Problem-solving with merchants and brands
In August 2021, The Partnership began the public comment period for The Residential Recyclability Framework, a component of The Partnership’s Pathway to Circularity for Packaging that offers users a step-by-step procedure to assess packaging recyclability. More than 750 individual comments from 70 organizations were sent to the Partnership, and they were combined to create the Circular Packaging Assessment Tool, an interactive version of the framework.
Plastic IQ, a free digital strategy-building tool that enables American businesses to find methods to make their packaging more circular, is another technology included in the report. Plastic IQ rates the efficacy of business tactics and gives users a thorough explanation of the findings. In its first year, Plastic IQ reportedly attracted 1,000 new users.
Collaborating with others to find solutions
The Center for Sustainable Behavior & Impact is being established by the Partnership. The Center will concentrate on extending research on recycling-related barriers and attitudes, testing improvements to recycling behavior, and developing a playbook and accompanying online platform to make key findings and best practices publicly accessible.
The paper ends with a three-year plan aimed at advancing future circular packaging solutions and modernizing the American recycling system.
Other objectives are:
-collection and recovery of more than 1 billion pounds of new recyclables annually;
-enhanced customer participation and trust in recycling, as well as improved claims about recyclability and labeling;
-novel, systematic, scalable methods for making currently difficult-to-recycle materials recyclable;
-the implementation of sensible and effective policies that enhance the functionality of the recycling system; and
-thousands of packages being made recyclable and tens of millions of pounds of packaging being reduced thanks to better designs.