Closed Loop Fund (CLF), an investment fund that finances recycling infrastructure and sustainable manufacturing technologies to advance the circular economy, has announced its requesting for proposals (RFPs) for projects that collect, sort and/or process postconsumer polypropylene (PP) plastic.
CLF says recovery of PP could be increased with the proper infrastructure, driving cost savings for municipalities, increasing revenue for material recovery facilities (MRFs) and supplying greater volumes of high-value material into the manufacturing stream.
“Research indicates that MRFs can profitably sort PP by upgrading or expanding sorting equipment, as well as by leveraging innovative technologies. In addition, plastic recovery facilities (PRFs) and secondary MRFs can drive value to MRFs by purchasing ‘mixed’ bales of plastic and further sorting for value,” CLF says. “The profitability and applicability of solutions can vary depending on the local context, including volumes, collection programs, population and end-market proximity. CLF is interested in any project that addresses the above situation.”
Examples of candidate projects include:
- MRFs servicing large municipalities that receive enough volume to justify the addition of conveyers and optical sorters to sort and bale PP;
- advanced image recognition and robotics that could be applied to enhance the efficiency and capture rate of sorting multiple plastic types, including PP;
- by adding or updating star screens to a smaller gauge, some MRFs can sort nonbottle rigid and small format plastics into a mixed bale (i.e., Nos. 3-7 plastics) and reduce contamination to other streams; and
- projects that improve the quality (color, grade, etc.) of postconsumer-recycled PP.
CLF support includes:
- providing municipalities, MRF operators, PRF operators and/or other entities with flexible, below market financing and technical assistance to update their facilities and equipment in order to increase PP recycling;
- up to $5 million per project with loan terms ranging from three to eight years and aid in arranging additional financing, if needed; and
- equipment purchase, lease financing, working capital and real estate or facility loans for refinancing or expansion.
The borrower, or a sponsor of the borrower, should be able to contribute 10 percent of the project’s total funding in equity.
CLF says preference will be afforded to applicants who:
- are experienced MRF or PRF operators or recycling professionals with existing operations;
- do not explicitly accept all size/format PP packages today but could do so profitably with the successful implementation of the proposed project, equipment or technology;
- will be able to sort small format items (3 inches or less) and estimate and track the cost/benefits;
- can begin processing material within 18 months of closing on financing;
- have applicable projects that will fund upgrades at multiple facility sites or upgrades that form part of a larger MRF capital expenditure project; and
- have identified co-investors or are able to attract co-investors (preference for two times or greater co-investment).
To apply, complete the standard CLF application, which is available online at www.closedlooppartners.com/apply, and submit to firstname.lastname@example.org.
CLF asks applicants to address the items above in their applications as well as to describe the current acceptance of PP at their facilities and (if known) at the communities that provide feedstock, indicating:
- PP container explicit acceptance;
- PP container implicit acceptance;
- PP not accepted but not explicitly prohibited;
- PP containers explicitly prohibited;or
- no recycling program.