Michigan city receives funding to reopen MRF
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Michigan city receives funding to reopen MRF

Closed Loop Partners and the American Beverage Association invest $800,000 to reopen, rebuild and modernize Ann Arbor, Michigan, MRF.

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November 18, 2020

The American Beverage Association (ABA), Washington, says it has selected Michigan’s Recycle Ann Arbor (RAA) to receive an investment under its Every Bottle Back initiative. The investment will help rebuild and reopen the city’s material recovery facility (MRF), which has been closed since 2016. 

The targeted investment of $800,000, deployed in partnership with New York City-based Closed Loop Partners, will help create a MRF that allows for enhanced sorting of recyclables, including polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles. The project also leverages capital from additional stakeholders, including $800,000 from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE). 

“Our investment in Ann Arbor will help restore the region’s critical recycling infrastructure, create jobs and showcase effective strategies to build a more circular economy,” Katherine Lugar, president and chief executive officer of the ABA says. She adds that the Ann Arbor investment is one in a series of investments the beverage industry is making alongside environmental partners and community leaders under the Every Bottle Back initiative.

The ABA describes Every Bottle Back as “an integrated and comprehensive initiative by The Coca-Cola Company, Keurig Dr Pepper and PepsiCo to reduce the industry’s plastic footprint.”

“The rebuild of Ann Arbor’s materials recovery facility comes at a critical moment for recycling infrastructure in the United States, amidst a global pandemic that has disrupted supply chains and highlighted the need to keep valuable recycled materials in circulation in local manufacturing supply chains." - Ron Gonen, CEO, Closed Loop Partners

The investment in Ann Arbor is the fourth of 11 initial projects that are being funding under Every Bottle Back. Previously announced investments have included Balcones Resources’ Dallas MRF.

“Rebuilding Ann Arbor’s materials recovery facility with modernized, state-of-the-art equipment will boost efficiency, increase recycling rates and help keep our valuable fully recyclable PET bottles in-state to help sustain local recycling systems,” says Derek Bajema, president and CEO of Michigan Soft Drink Association. 

According to the ABA, the investment will allow more recyclables to be efficiently captured via curbside, yielding an estimated 284 million new pounds of material collected over 10 years, including 7 million pounds of PET and 740,000 pounds of aluminum.  

“The rebuild of Ann Arbor’s materials recovery facility comes at a critical moment for recycling infrastructure in the United States, amidst a global pandemic that has disrupted supply chains and highlighted the need to keep valuable recycled materials in circulation in local manufacturing supply chains,” Ron Gonen, CEO of Closed Loop Partners, an investment firm focused on the development of the circular economy, says.

“Together, the American Beverage Association, Closed Loop Partners, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy and Recycle Ann Arbor have pooled key resources to bring this project to fruition, underscoring the importance of working across the public and private sectors to score a victory for future generations," he adds. 

“We are pleased to see our Recycling Infrastructure Grant of $800,000 leverage industry financial support for the exciting regional recycling solutions that RAA and others across the state are helping to make happen," says Liz Browne, acting director of the Materials Management Division at EGLE.

"Local processing of recyclables brings a range of environmental, economic and social benefits, creating a regional hub that will allow recycling to flourish," Bryan Ukena, CEO of Recycle Ann Arbor, adds. "Recycle Ann Arbor's project to rebuild the materials recovery facility in the area establishes an amazing partnership with the community, local banks, industry funders, government agencies, nonpofits and manufacturers.”