- Closed Loop Fund is partnering with the nonprofit Pennsylvania Recycling Markets Center (RMC) on a $5 million infrastructure investment throughout the state. This is the fund's first such formal partnership with a nonprofit.
- The funding will be set aside for projects that go through RMC, in the form of 0% loans for municipalities and below-market loans for private companies with substantial operations in Pennsylvania.
- RMC will help find potential applicants and conduct the initial due diligence. The Closed Loop team will then make its own final evaluation before deciding to fund a project.
RMC points out that the funding comes at an opportune time. "In unprecedented volatility of recycled materials markets, we need to aggressively pursue recycling infrastructure and recycled content product manufacturing in Pennsylvania," RMC Executive Director Robert Bylone said in a statement.
Recycling operations tend not to invest as heavily in upgrades or expansion during times of market weakness or uncertainty, as is the current state of the recycling industry. But this funding infusion will allow RMC to continue its work to identify and expand recycling markets in Pennsylvania and stimulate demand for products manufactured with recycled content.
One of the initiatives RMC has been working on is helping Pennsylvania recyclers understand the intricacies of China's National Sword policy and finding workarounds to minimize the impact of the restrictions on the state's recycled materials streams. Earlier this year, it laid out recommended focal points such as material quality and educational campaigns. A number of Pennsylvania municipalities have had to scale back recycling programs as a result of the current market conditions, as haulers and processors raise rates and/or alter their lists of accepted materials. The Closed Loop Fund's investment could allow RMC to assist these recyclers with creative solutions.
For example, the Closed Loop-funded AeroAggregates in Philadelphia fills a huge need for processing recovered glass. If the RMC and Closed Loop can identify and invest in more types of companies like this, it could help breathe new life into certain recycling sectors in Pennsylvania.
The partnership is Closed Loop's second agreement with a state, following a similar announcement with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection back in March. The Closed Loop Fund's latest progress report showed it had invested $43 million as of July, working toward an overall goal of $100 million by 2020. Statewide partnerships are seen as a new way to help accelerate that pace, as compared to what can be a slower process at the local level.