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Putting the “Partner” in The Recycling Partnership with Keefe Harrison

Episode 27: A conversation with Keefe Harrison, CEO of The Recycling Partnership.

In the latest episode of our NothingWasted! Podcast, we chat with Keefe Harrison, CEO of The Recycling Partnership. The Recycling Partnership is a leading national force for improving recycling, which puts private dollars to work in communities. It believes in the power of investing in systems to protect resources, empower sustainable action and unlock opportunity.

We spoke with Harrison about human capital, building accessible and customized recycling programs, what it means to truly partner, the use of technology and more!

Here’s a sneak peek into the discussion:

Waste360: How do you ensure that the investments in your partnerships go where you want them to go and where your partners want them to go?

Keefe Harrison: I’m getting that question more and more, and I think it’s something that everyone should ask. As companies are making their commitments to the environment and setting some goals, how are they backing them? One way to measure that is the number of dollars they are putting behind their commitment; another is who their partners are. They need action agents, they need subject matter experts, they need groups that are trusted in getting stuff done—and that’s what The Partnership does.

Waste360: Can you tell us more about how The Recycling Partnership works?

Keefe Harrison: When a company joins us, like PepsiCo recently did, we say, “We’d love to have you work with us, but first you have to agree to our mission because we are fiercely mission-driven. And second, you have to fund it. Third, you have to be willing to play well with others.” Collaboration is sometimes hard, but we take it very seriously. We only work with partners who want to advance our mission.

Waste360: What in particular should we be paying attention to in the world of recycling today?

Keefe Harrison: There’s a lot to be said for personal interest. What do citizens think? People want to know that recycling is worth their effort and that positive things are happening. They are increasingly concerned about the oceans, and you see a public who is worked up and calling for action, but they’re not always sure their individual action is enough to make a difference. For those of us in the waste industry, we have a real opportunity to make sure consumers understand that every bottle, can, carton, box … it all matters. And every decision about recycling makes a difference. We need to keep everyone engaged.

Listen to more episodes here. Read transcript here.

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