City of Baltimore waste and recycling collection workers
City of Baltimore employees collecting waste and recycling on a route in the city.
City of Baltimore

Every Bottle Back invests $9.5M in Baltimore

The investment provides free recycling carts to 205,000 households in the city as well as funds to start a recycling education campaign.

American Beverage, Washington, has selected the city of Baltimore to receive a recycling investment as part of its Every Bottle Back initiative in order to expand and improve recycling collection and infrastructure in the city. Collaboration on the initiative will involve The Recycling Partnership, Closed Loop Partners, Dow Packing & Specialty Plastics, the Baltimore Civic Fund and Rehrig Pacific.

According to a news release from American Beverage, the public-private partnership supports a $9.5 million project, consisting of $3 million total investment from The Recycling Partnership, which includes $1.65 million from the beverage industry, a plastic resin donation for recycling carts from Dow and lidded rollout carts manufactured by Rehrig Pacific, as well as a $3 million investment from Closed Loop Partners’ Infrastructure Fund. This collaboration will help Baltimore provide free recycling carts to 205,000 households to collect and process more recyclable materials, including beverage bottles and cans. As part of the effort, the city will launch a recycling education campaign to inform the community about the new carts and what can and cannot be recycled.

The Recycling Partnership and Closed Loop Partners estimate that providing Baltimore households with new recycling carts has the potential to generate about 40 million new pounds of all recyclables per year—an 80 percent increase of recyclables per household in Baltimore. The program will also help collect and recycle about 30 million new pounds of plastic over 10 years, including 16 million pounds of polyethylene terephthalate (PET).

Baltimore is the eighth-largest city in the United States without universal cart recycling access, a key driver in the city launching its zero-waste goal. “The collaboration with The Recycling Partnership and Closed Loop Partners is essential for fostering a recycling culture in Baltimore,” says Baltimore Mayor Brandon M. Scott. 

“Delivering free recycling carts to Baltimore city households will simply be a game-changer for our waste diversion plan,” says Baltimore City Department of Public Works Acting Director Jason W. Mitchell. “By diverting waste from landfills, we not only decrease the workload on our routine services crews, who have been stellar throughout the pandemic, but we also lay the foundation to build a more sustainable and cleaner Baltimore for generations to come.”

Providing residents with a free recycling cart is one of the key recommendations in the city’s Less Waste, Better Baltimore Plan, which has identified options for improving solid waste diversion, recycling and disposal in the city. Previously, Baltimore households who participated in the city’s weekly recycling collections had to provide their own carts, American Beverage reports.

“This is The Recycling Partnership’s single largest recycling grant to date, and I’m thrilled that it’s in Baltimore. Building a multimillion-dollar grant like this one takes time and trust. We see a skilled and dedicated staff ready to ensure that Baltimore’s new, free recycling program reaches communitywide, serving the greater public with this key to protecting the environment,” says Keefe Harrison, CEO of The Recycling Partnership. “The Baltimore public can take pride in knowing that they’re part of one of the most unique public-private partnerships to improve recycling. This hybrid of grant, investments and donation of plastic resin to make the recycling carts themselves is the type of collaboration worthy of celebration.”

Launched in 2019 by American Beverage, Every Bottle Back is an initiative that aims to reduce the beverage industry’s plastic footprint by increasing the number of bottles that are collected and remade into new ones. Every Bottle Back brings together The Coca-Cola Co., Keurig Dr Pepper and PepsiCo with environmental and sustainability organizations World Wildlife Fund, Closed Loop Partners and The Recycling Partnership to support the circular plastics economy.

A move to larger capacity, lidded recycling carts enables safer and more efficient collection, reducing the amount of manual labor needed, helping to prevent injury to collection staff while providing residents with increased storage capacity for their recyclables at the same time, American Beverage reports.

The 205,000 donated carts are made from plastic resin, which was donated by Dow through its partnership with Rehrig Pacific.