On April 30th at the Walmart Sustainability Expo, the Southeast Recycling Development Council (SERDC, serdc.org), along with the Curbside Value Partnership (CVP, recyclecurbside.org), proudly announced the launch of The Recycling Partnership, a public-private recycling initiative resulting from the SERDC 120 efforts. CVP will handle the administrative functions for the Partnership, while SERDC will remain an integral part of the initiative.

After an intense, fast-paced effort over the past four months, SERDC executive director Will Sagar attributes SERDC 120’s major success to the combined efforts of many, in particular with Resource Recycling Systems (RRS). He states that “our combined efforts proved to not only reach SERDC’s ambitious goals but go beyond what the industry could have expected. This is an exciting time for recycling and packaging recovery.” While the goal was ambitious, the work was organized, moved quickly, and engaged many of the leading packaging and recycling experts in the United States.

The Recycling Partnership will work to boost recycling rates in the southeastern U.S. through outreach and infrastructure improvements. Designated timelines, budgets, and potential partnerships for each specific location are expected to begin on July 1, continuing through 2015 and beyond. Progress updates will be posted on the SERDC 120 website.

Convened by SERDC at the Paper and Packaging Symposium last December, the goal of SERDC 120 was: “Engage industry in voluntary public/private partnerships to make strategic, one-time, leveraged investments that sustain higher levels of recovery through the adoption of proven best practices in municipal recycling programs.” EPA Region 4 contributed to the support and planning of the project.

Through SERDC 120, interested companies and associations began the early stages of pooling funds to increase recycling efforts for cities that have been identified as viable partners. “We are excited with the initial verbal and fiscal support of this fast-paced, action-focused public-private partnership,” says Keefe Harrison, CVP executive director.  

A SERDC 120 participant says, “we are very excited about the Recycling Partnership – this has been well designed. We are confident we will be a funding partner.”

The Alcoa Foundation, Coca Cola, and the Carton Council have already joined the Partnership and several more are expected by July 1. 

Cody Marshall, RRS project manager for SERDC 120 commented, “the cities know they need these improvements but often can’t pull the trigger because of competing priorities within their local government. If the private sector is able to work with the selected cities and offer a portion of the funding they requested, it will most likely unlock the other funds needed from the local level and leverage possible state grants to purchase important infrastructure that will inevitably increase supply.”

“It has been exciting to engage with the leading recycling and packaging experts in the Unites States, and SERDC looks forward to The Recycling Partnership’s continued progress. This project has momentum,” says Sagar.