(Feb. 24, 2022) – The Recycling Partnership recently marked the official launch of the Recycling Inclusion Fund, a unique funding stream to address racial disparities and systemic challenges in the U.S. waste and recycling industries.
According to The Partnership’s 2021 Paying It Forward report on the state of the U.S. recycling system, 4 in 10 single-family residents lack equitable recycling access – equating to more than 40 million people who do not have the same access to recycling as they have to their trash service. That number increases to 7 in 10 for those who live in a multifamily property or rural community. With awareness that Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) have historically been underserved and under-supported in their communities, the Recycling Inclusion Fund aims to provide the resources and tools residents need to live a more sustainable life.
“This work addresses a pressing need within the industry – using our robust data and research, we can transform the system to amplify the power we know exists in communities of color,” explains Jessica Levine, Diversity and Inclusion Manager and founder of the Recycling Inclusion Fund. “This initiative is changing the way we understand, approach, and address system inequalities in recycling.” The Recycling Inclusion Fund directs contributions from committed partners to three key focus areas:
- Research to identify the state of recycling access and participation, barriers, and needs in BIPOC communities across the U.S.
- Infrastructure and education improvements to reach and empower BIPOC populations with recycling access and resources that meet their needs.
- Leadership and training opportunities in the sustainability sector granted through The Recycling Partnership for recent BIPOC college graduates.
Since initial conception, seven funding partners have agreed to support Recycling Inclusion Fund initiatives – 3M, Arconic Foundation, The Coca Cola Company, Cox Enterprises, Kroger’s Zero Hunger Zero Waste Foundation, Procter & Gamble, and TAZO.
Multiple projects are already underway, including foundational research to determine barriers to access and community-specific needs in the U.S., as well as a multifamily recycling project in the City of Orlando that delivers multi-lingual, culturally appropriate education materials to the city’s BIPOC residents. The Partnership is also launching the Fellowship Through Partnership (“FTP”) program in 2022, providing career training opportunities to diverse candidates within the waste and recycling industry.
“Cox Enterprises is committed to ensuring that all people have the ability to contribute to sustainability efforts,” says Meredith Lindvall, Director of Recycling & Waste Diversion at Cox Enterprises.“This partnership helps us to continue to care for the BIPOC communities we serve, while providing access and education to the resources needed to create a sustainable and healthy lifestyle for all.”
The Recycling Inclusion Fund is a crucial component of The Recycling Partnership’s long-term strategic objectives to transform the U.S. recycling system and activate a circular economy. To learn more about the supporting the Recycling Inclusion Fund or other Partnership initiatives, visit recyclingpartnership.org.
At The Recycling Partnership, we are solving for circularity. We mobilize people, data, and solutions across the value chain to unlock the environmental and economic benefits of recycling and a circular economy. We work on the ground with thousands of communities to transform underperforming recycling programs; we partner with companies to achieve packing circularity, increase access to recycled materials, and meet sustainability commitments; and we work with government to develop policy solutions to address the systemic needs of our residential recycling system and advance a circular economy. We foster public-private partnerships and drive positive change at every step of the recycling and circularity process. Since 2014, we have diverted 500 million pounds of new recyclables from landfills, saved 968 million gallons of water, avoided more than 500,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases, and driven significant reductions in targeted contamination rates. Learn more at recyclingpartnership.org.