By: Katherine Lugar, president and CEO of the American Beverage Association, and Ron Gonen, CEO of Closed Loop Partners
As our country celebrates America Recycles Week, we’re reminded of the importance of collaboration across diverse stakeholders to develop innovative solutions that improve community recycling programs, achieve a truly circular economy and protect our environment for generations to come.
We are especially reminded of this as recycling systems across the country confront new challenges due to the current public health pandemic. Even during these times, our shared commitment of working together to foster healthy communities has not wavered.
At the American Beverage Association and Closed Loop Partners, we’re proud to work together to drive real change through substantial regional investments. We are upgrading and modernizing local recycling infrastructure to increase the collection and remaking of valuable recyclables, such as the beverage industry’s 100% recyclable plastic bottles. Increasing collection of valuable materials will ensure they stay in the manufacturing supply stream for future packaging.
Last year, our organizations teamed up with environmental leaders The Recycling Partnership and World Wildlife Fund to launch a breakthrough initiative called Every Bottle Back. Our cross-industry effort, spearheaded by America’s leading beverage companies, seeks to reduce the beverage industry’s use of new plastic and improve the collection of plastic bottles so they can be remade into new bottles as intended.
Coinciding with America Recycles Week, we are excited to announce that Michigan’s Recycle Ann Arbor was selected to receive an investment under Every Bottle Back to revitalize Ann Arbor’s recycling system.
Together, the American Beverage Association and Closed Loop Partners are working in collaboration with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), Recycle Ann Arbor and other partners to reopen, rebuild and modernize Ann Arbor’s Materials Recovery Facility (MRF). Collectively, we’re investing millions to help equip the facility with upgraded, state-of-the-art equipment to sort, clean and bale recyclable materials. This project will bring new jobs to the region, help reduce recycling costs and allow for more valuable recyclable materials to be efficiently captured through curbside pickup — which means less new plastic in the environment.
As the ongoing pandemic has disrupted supply chains across the country, the need for modernized recycling infrastructure has never been more critical. Every Bottle Back’s community investments will help local manufacturing supply chains gain access to valuable recyclable materials, like the beverage industry’s 100% recyclable bottles. This gets us closer to a circular economy for plastics.
This week and every week, it’s important to keep in mind that collaboration between industries, environmental partners and government leaders is critical to establishing efficient and tangible solutions to improve our nation’s recycling efforts and build a more circular economy.
We’re proud to celebrate America Recycles Week, and we hope you join us in celebration and work with us across the country to get Every Bottle Back.