A Closed Loop Partners Managed Investment Fund Leads a Consortium of Investors in Acquiring Sims Municipal Recycling

March 2, 2022

10 Min Read
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NEW YORK — The Closed Loop Leadership Fund, L.P., a private investment fund managed by Closed Loop Partners (CLP), has led a consortium of investors, including the Partnership Fund for New York City, in acquiring a majority stake in Sims Municipal Recycling (SMR). The acquisition is expected to further modernize circular economy infrastructure and service in the New York-New Jersey Metro region and Florida, as well as expand SMR’s best-in-class operations into new markets. SMR currently operates four recycling facilities across the New York–New Jersey metro region and Florida, including its Brooklyn materials recovery facility (MRF), which is the largest dual stream recycling facility in North America. SMR also manages the long-term New York City residential recycling contract, which is the largest municipal recycling contract in North America. The investment in SMR is expected to accelerate the recovery of valuable commodities, including plastics, paper, metal and glass, diverting them from landfills and returning them to manufacturing supply chains. In the coming years, SMR’s expansion is expected to create additional local jobs in the recycling and manufacturing sectors.

SMR’s board will become one of the first majority female-led boards in the industry, with Jessica Long, Managing Director at Closed Loop Partners, as Chairperson of the Board. Long says, “Closed Loop Partners’ ecosystem of investors––including strategic corporate partners like Nestlé, PepsiCo Beverages North America, Microsoft and Unilever, pension funds, family offices and foundations––are all interested in developing sustainable business models and markets for recycled content, keeping valuable materials out of landfill. This investment, coupled with the existing portfolio of Closed Loop Partners’ managed investment funds, will enable SMR to expand its services, accelerating the development of circular economy infrastructure in the United States.”

“SMR will continue to provide important recycling services to New Yorkers and communities across the NY-NJ metro region and Florida. We now have an exciting opportunity to combine our strong operating history with Closed Loop Partners’ extensive resources to strengthen circularity for the post-consumer municipal waste stream,” says Tom Outerbridge, President of SMR. “Together, we can accelerate the modernization of recycling across the United States to close the loop on valuable materials and build a truly circular economy.”

SMR produces hundreds of thousands of tons of recycled metals, plastics, paper and glass for sale to mills, smelters, refiners, re-claimers and secondary material processors. Since winning the contract to service the City of New York, SMR has grown to handle more than 600,000 tons of municipal curbside material annually that is collected from more than 10 million people.

“Every year, New Yorkers put hundreds of thousands of tons of valuable materials like plastic, glass, metal and paper into their recycling bins, and Sims Municipal Recycling plays a critical role in processing these to make sure they re-enter manufacturing supply chains, rather than turn into waste,” says Bridget Anderson, Deputy Commissioner, Recycling and Sustainability at NYC Department of Sanitation (DSNY).

In cities across North America, including New York, zero-waste goals are becoming a top priority with the growing urgency of climate risks and increasing landfill costs. According to the Circularity Gap Reporting Initiative, 70% of all global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are related to material handling and use, making circular economy infrastructure a critical part of the solution to our climate crisis. Expanding access to recycling services and enabling local circular economy manufacturing can help cities and businesses avoid the cost of landfilling products and packaging, while eliminating the GHG emissions associated with manufacturing using virgin materials, and helping to create thousands of local jobs and more resilient communities.

This investment is made possible by a group of investors, including investment funds managed by Closed Loop Partners, such as the Closed Loop Leadership Fund and the Closed Loop Circular Plastics Fund, as well as the Partnership Fund for New York City, among others. The Closed Loop Leadership Fund, Closed Loop Partners’ managed buyout fund, includes investors Microsoft Climate Innovation Fund, Nestlé, PepsiCo Beverages North America and Unilever, alongside family offices, pension funds and foundations. It also marks the first investment from the Closed Loop Circular Plastics Fund, Closed Loop Partners’ catalytic flexible financing fund that launched in 2021, and includes investors Dow, LyondellBasell, NOVA Chemicals, Sealed Air and SK Geo Centric Co., Ltd. Closed Loop Partners’ Circular Plastics Fund finances technologies, companies and infrastructure projects that increase the quality and quantity of recycled polyethylene and polypropylene. Together, these companies each have ambitious commitments to use recycled materials in their manufacturing supply chains, yet the current supply of recycled plastics meets only six percent of demand for the most commonly used plastics in the U.S. and Canada.

“Sims Municipal Recycling will play a critical role in powering an inclusive circular economy in New York City by reducing waste and supporting a sustainable supply chain for new products,” said Maria Gotsch, President and CEO of the Partnership Fund for New York City. “We are excited to support this acquisition which will help ensure that SMR has the resources and next-generation technology to expand its regional footprint at a time when New York is rethinking its recycling systems and transitioning to a greener economy.”

“Nestlé is committed to helping ensure that after our consumers enjoy the products we create, there is infrastructure in place that allows them to recycle and help keep those plastics out of landfills,” said Chastity McLeod, Director of Technical Packaging at Nestlé USA. “This acquisition is an important step towards making that type of true circular system a reality. We are proud of our investment and partnership with Closed Loop Partners and look forward to continued collaboration as we work together to advance our shared vision for a waste-free future.”

“The recycling landscape in America continues to be challenging, and as companies – including PepsiCo – set ambitious goals to use more recycled content in their packaging, there is more need than ever for partnerships and action to increase access to recycled material,” said Jason Blake, Chief Sustainability Officer and SVP at PepsiCo Beverages North America. “Through our partnership with Closed Loop Partners we are able to advance the necessary work that is being done to transform the recycling system and get access to more high-quality recycled material that will help us to make progress towards our PepsiCo Positive goals and transformation.”

“Investing in recycling infrastructure is central to Unilever’s goal to collect and process more plastic packaging than we sell by 2025,” said Niki King, Head of Sustainability for Unilever North America. “Sims Municipal Recycling already has one of the largest recycling facilities in North America, and we’re happy to see our investment going toward growing this company to unlock great capacity to keep materials in the circular economy.”

“When Dow joined the Circular Plastics Fund as an initial investor, we envisioned projects like the Sims Municipal Recycling acquisition,” said Diego Donoso, President of Dow Packaging & Specialty Plastics. “I know this is just the first of several significant projects that will grow and improve recycling infrastructure in the U.S. as a result of the Fund.”

“Removing plastic waste from the environment is an essential contribution to society and future generations. LyondellBasell is proud to be a founding partner of Closed Loop Partners’ Circular Plastics Fund and is very pleased the fund’s first investment is Sims Municipal Recycling,” said Ken Lane, Executive Vice President, Global Olefins and Polyolefins at LyondellBasell. “Through this investment, we are moving another step closer toward achieving a circular economy.”

“NOVA Chemicals is excited to participate in the Closed Loop Circular Plastics Fund’s first investment in Sims Municipal Recycling. Together, we are committed to enabling the circular economy by finding ways to reuse plastics again and again,” said Luis Sierra, President and CEO of NOVA Chemicals. “The Closed Loop Circular Plastics Fund plays a powerful role in catalyzing capital, attracting more investors, and aligning companies across the plastics value chain so that together we can create a circular, waste-free system for plastics.”

“At Sealed Air, we understand the circularity of packaging is critical for our sustainability purpose, and we are excited about the potential of this investment in partnership with Closed Loop Partners and its managed funds,” said Sergio Pupkin, Chief Growth & Strategy Officer at Sealed Air Corporation. “It’s critical that we grow recycling infrastructure so that we can recover more materials and loop them back into packaging supply chains.”

Investing in the growth and strengthening of recycling infrastructure across the United States will help recover the value of products and packaging, returning materials to manufacturing supply chains and enabling packaging circularity. To learn more about this work, visit www.closedlooppartners.com.

About Closed Loop Partners
Closed Loop Partners is a leading circular economy-focused investment firm and innovation center. The New York-based investment firm manages venture capital, growth equity, private equity and project-based finance funds. The firm’s business verticals build upon one another, bridging gaps and fostering synergies to scale the circular economy. Learn more here.

About the Closed Loop Leadership Fund at Closed Loop Partners
The Closed Loop Leadership Fund is Closed Loop Partners’ private equity fund, focused on investing in best-in-class circular business models that are fundamental to keeping plastics and packaging, food and organics, electronics and textiles out of landfills and within a circular system.

To learn about the Closed Loop Leadership Fund, visit Closed Loop Partners’ website.

About the Closed Loop Circular Plastics Fund at Closed Loop Partners
The Closed Loop Circular Plastics Fund provides catalytic financing to build circular economy infrastructure and improve the recovery of polypropylene and polyethylene plastic in the U.S. & Canada, returning plastics to more sustainable manufacturing supply chains for use as feedstock for future products and packaging. Learn more about the Fund’s investment criteria and apply for funding here.

The Fund’s goal of optimizing recovery infrastructure is one part of Closed Loop Partners’ broader initiative of Advancing Circular Systems for Plastics. This initiative prioritizes scaling reuse and refill models and reducing material usage in design, while bolstering the recovery infrastructure to address plastics waste.

To learn about the Closed Loop Circular Plastics Fund, visit Closed Loop Partners’ website.

About Sims Municipal Recycling
Sims Municipal Recycling (SMR), a leader in the municipal recycling industry, was established in 2003 as a wholly-owned division of Sims Limited, a global leader in recycling and sustainability. Since that time, SMR quickly became the cornerstone of the New York City curbside recycling program. Through its long-term contract with the New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY), SMR processes and markets 100% of the metal, glass and plastic, and 50% of the paper, collected by DSNY from all New Yorkers. SMR serves New York City and surrounding New Jersey municipalities through its facilities in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Jersey City, NJ. SMR manages the curbside recyclables of Palm Beach County, FL, through a long-term operating agreement with the Solid Waste Authority of Palm Beach County, and has been contracted to provide similar services to Lee County, FL. Sims Limited remains a minority stakeholder in SMR, and you can read more about the company’s sustainability goals at www.simsltd.com. Visit www.simsmunicipal.com to learn more about SMR and its commitment to sustainability.

About The Partnership Fund for New York
The Partnership Fund for New York City is the investment arm of the Partnership for New York City, New York’s leading business organization. Our mission is to mobilize our investors’ resources—their money, time and influence—to create jobs, spur new business creation and to expand opportunities for all of the city’s residents and neighborhoods. We invest in innovative nonprofit and for-profit companies to ensure a promising future for New York City. Our investment focus is to make New York City stronger and more inclusive. We prioritize initiatives that create jobs and support social entrepreneurship, particularly in disadvantaged neighborhoods. We facilitate the growth of emerging industries so that New York City is at the forefront of innovation, remains a hub for exceptional talent, and is positioned for the future.

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