- The International Bottled Water Association (IBWA), the industry information source for all bottled waters, has joined The Recycling Partnership to help improve recycling infrastructure, one of four new funding partners in recent months to join the pool that totals 22 members. Other new partners include product manufacturer Kimberly-Clark, The Consumer and Technology Association, and Heineken USA.
- In 2015, The Partnership leveraged $11 million to support new recycling infrastructure, providing 165,000 carts and helping service 1.2 million households, according to a company press release. For 2016 the committee pledged to work with MassDEP to strengthen service in Massachusetts, and to roll out carts to upgrade service in Santa Fe, NM.
- The Partnership has just opened its 2016 grant program to help counties, municipalities, tribes, and solid waste authorities, with 4,000 or more households implementing cart-based collection.
Plastic bottle recycling is on an upward climb as communities recognize the importance of recovering the single-use containers as an alternative to having them stockpile on landfills. Still, recyclers face financial challenges of shrinking values with most commodities, including many plastics, and plastics particularly present technical challenges.
"It’s a pretty simple equation. More funding partners equals more resources, which directly equates to the recovery of more high-quality recyclable material," said Keefe Harrison, the Recycling Partnership’s executive director, in a statement. "IBWA unifies the bottled water industry in much the same way that we unify the recycling industry, making them great strategy partners for squeezing every last drop of goodness out of our work."
The organization has its work cut out for it, especially when it comes to keying in on the exploding single-serve PET bottled water market, with recycling up more than twofold in the past decade, providing plenty to work with, but requiring labor, technology, and overall infrastructure while also hopefully turning a profit.
"The bottled water industry is actively working to build partnerships that will help increase recycling efforts, and the reliable, scalable results that The Recycling Partnership delivers are hitting the mark for us," said Chris Hogan, IBWA vice president of communications, in a statement.