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Need to Know

10 U.S. Cities Receive Leadership Grants to Increase Quality Recyclables

recycling facility

FALLS CHURCH, Va.  – Just one year after hosting its inaugural Leadership Summit, which saw a select 50 cities invited for a two-day recycling transformation and circular economy summit, The Recycling Partnership is partnering with 10 of those attending communities. Our collaborations will impact 1.3 million households by significantly reducing contamination (trash and other non-recyclables in the recycling bin) and capturing more than 37 million new pounds of quality recyclables. 

“At a time when many cities are stressed financially due to the pandemic, we are beyond thrilled  these communities who are leading and driving a more circular economy can utilize our best-in-class resources and grant dollars to build stronger, more resilient recycling systems across the country,” said Cody Marshall, Chief Community Strategy Officer at The Recycling Partnership

The June 2019 summit, sponsored in part by the PepsiCo Foundation, the Walmart Foundation and Target, featured “how-to” workshops and showcased best management practices for implementing new recycling infrastructure, fighting contamination, and creating messaging to drive behavior change. Participants were equipped with a comprehensive set of ready-to-use tools and resources to drive recycling transformation locally.

Summit attendees represented 50 of the largest U.S. communities focused on improving curbside recycling programs and recycling at multifamily properties. Combined, these cities include more than 45 million Americans or 14% of the U.S. population. Funded in part by Target and the Walmart Foundation, post-workshop grants were available for participating communities that submitted a response to a request for information to implement recycling infrastructure and anti-contamination programs aimed at improving the quality and quantity of recyclables in their communities. 

“The Walmart Foundation supports strategic efforts aimed at reducing impacts of plastic waste on the environment,” said Chelsea Scantlan, Sustainability Program Officer for Walmart.org. “Improving recycling infrastructure and educating and engaging consumers are key elements to achieving a cleaner, circular future — and The Recycling Partnership is focused on both in communities across the U.S.”

To date, 10 of the Leadership Summit participants have applied for and received post-workshop awards representing recycling infrastructure and education grants totaling more than $2.7 million.  Grantees are geographically dispersed throughout the U.S. and represent many of the largest and most diverse communities across America. These cities will utilize grant funding to drive behavior change, educate residents on what is and is not recyclable, and expand recycling to more than 195,000 households by providing new, lidded recycling carts.

“The Recycling Partnership’s recent Leadership Grant is an important next investment to achieve a Zero Waste DC and we are excited to be a recipient," said Department of Public Works Director Chris Geldart. “When our residents recycle properly, it saves our taxpayers money and gives our community the opportunity to help combat climate change.”

The Leadership Grantees are actively working to improve their recycling streams by educating their residents on what is and is not recyclable and others are providing new, lidded, rolling recycling carts to give free access to recycling to more members of their communities. Leadership grantees include: Baltimore, Md., Detroit, Mich., Houston, Texas, Omaha, Neb., Philadelphia, Pa., Portland, Ore., San Diego, Calif., Tacoma, Wash., Tucson, Ariz., and Washington, D.C.

We are incredibly grateful to collaborate with The Recycling Partnership. With our grant dollars, we are able to fund focus groups that will help us adapt and grow our current program to be accountable to the needs of our diverse community,” said Sam Lake, Waste Reduction Project Specialist, City of Tacoma. “The Partnership has also provided experts to walk us through the application process and grant duration, and has networked us with cities across the country working on the same topic. And, more recently, this grant ensures that we will continue to keep our commitment to increase access to recycling education and services to multifamily and multilingual residents as the City of Tacoma considers the devastating financial impacts of COVID-19.”

Now, more than ever, Americans view recycling as an essential public service. And during a time of social distancing, where many non-essential employers are remote and commercial recycling is near an all-time low, producers see residential recycling programs as a critical feedstock and supply chain for much-needed materials aiding in the fight against COVID-19. Recycled plastics, paper, metals, and glass can become staples that people depend on, all that rely on healthy supplies of recycled materials.

"U.S. cities are not alone in their challenges to implement a more sustainable recycling program, Marshall said. "This unique, systematic approach to grant making allows participating cities to implement, evaluate, and socialize creative approaches and solutions for some of recycling’s biggest challenges. By bringing together some of the largest cities in the U.S., we are gaining valuable insights required to build a more connected and sustainable U.S. recycling system, one that transforms recycling across cities, states, and communities nationwide."

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About The Recycling Partnership 

The Recycling Partnership is a national nonprofit organization that leverages corporate partner funding to transform recycling for good in states, cities, and communities nationwide. As the leading organization in the country that engages the full recycling supply chain from the corporations that manufacture products and packaging to local governments charged with recycling to industry end markets, haulers, material recovery facilities, and converters, The Recycling Partnership positively impacts recycling at every step in the process. Since 2014, the nonprofit change agent diverted 230 million pounds of new recyclables from landfills, saved 465 million gallons of water, avoided more than 250,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases, and drove significant reductions in targeted contamination rates. Learn more at www.recyclingpartnership.org

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