In less than a decade, the Recycling Partnership has supported more than a third of community recycling programs in the United States, encouraged circular packaging, invested more than $23 million in recycling facilities, and diverted more than 770 million pounds of waste from landfills. The partnership has a three-year plan that includes a target of collecting more than 1 billion pounds of recyclables each year, improved systems for hard-to-recycle items, and improving the recyclability of packaging.
The Recycling Partnership outlined its efforts in its 2022 impact report.
The organization has also created a national recycling database and established the Circular Economy Accelerator, in which many top companies participate, that aims to create policy encouraging the reuse and recycling of packaging and products.
Recycling is seen as a key to sustainability goals for businesses and communities alike.
According to the EPA, in 2018 there was 292.4 of municipal solid waste generated in the US. Of that 69 million tons were recycled, most of it being paper and paperboard, which accounted for 67%. Plastics were less than 5%.
Companies such as Danone and Tyson Foods have pledged to achieve zero waste to landfills, and the United Nations made a resolution this year to end plastic waste altogether. Recyclability has also led to increased demand for post-consumer plastic as well as green packaging.
The Recycling Partnership began in 2014 and has invested $95 million in increasing recycling programs. Through the support of these programs, it has helped communities avoid 670,000 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent.
The Circular Economy Accelerator involves more than 30 companies, including Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Dow, Johnson & Johnson, and Walmart. Its goal is to advocate for policy and regulations to encourage a circular economy, the partnership says.
The national recycling database covers 97% of the US population, according to the partnership, and is a real-time source of information. The group hopes the database helps manufacturers, brands, and communities improve packaging and overall recycling systems.
Through the investments in recycling facilities, the partnership has sought to improve infrastructure and help make sure recyclable materials are properly processed and don’t end up in landfills. For example, it formed the Aluminum Beverage Can Capture MRF Grant Program to invest in equipment and improved processing, which has resulted in 71 million more cans a year being recycled.
The organization has also been significantly involved in communities throughout the country and helped with the implementation of programs in Baltimore, Maryland, and Orlando, Florida. In Baltimore, a $10 million public-private partnership is expected to increase the recycling rate by 80%. In Orlando, more than 2.2 million pounds of recyclables were diverted from landfills during the first year of that city’s program.
The Recycling Partnership also says it has increased polypropylene curbside access by 7%.