Recycling advocate Franklin killed in traffic accident

Published: October 16, 2012 6:00 am ET

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Topics Sustainability, Recycling

OAKLAND, MD.(Oct. 16, 12:45 p.m. ET) — Pat Franklin, founder of the Container Recycling Institute, has died.

According to an email from lifelong friend and the former CRI research director Jenny Gitlitz, Franklin died Sunday, a day after she was struck by a pickup truck while crossing the street near a farmer's market in Oakland. Franklin was preparing to make a drop-off at a recycling center.

"In a fitting final act of recycling, her organs were donated to give others life," wrote Gitlitz. "She did not suffer."

Franklin started the Container Recycling Institute in her basement in 1991 and was recognized as one of the preeminent experts on container recycling and bottle bills.

"[She] grew CRI from a shoestring operation to an internationally recognized source of original information and analysis on beverage container recycling," wrote Gitlitz. "Pat was a shining light in the recycling movement."

Franklin promoted bottle-bill legislation, wrote industry reports, secured grants, spoke at recycling events, helped organize bottle bill summits and served as a spokeswoman for recycling in literally hundreds of interviews. She was instrumental in the passage of the Hawaii bottle bill and the expansion of bottle bills in Oregon, Connecticut and New York.

She also wrote letters to the editor of Plastics News, and at least a half-dozen guest columns for Waste & Recycling News.

"Pat was a jack-of-all-trades at CRI," wrote Gitlitz in her email. "Yes, she could speak to reporters and members of Congress, debate beverage industry lobbyists and secure prestigious grants, but she also stuffed envelopes late into the night, schlepped boxes to and from Kinko's, prepared food for board meetings, hosted out-of-town colleagues in her own home, found ingenious ways to keep old computer equipment going and kept her cats — and sometimes her husband — fed. When money was tight, she refused to take a paycheck so that her staff could be paid

Franklin retired as executive director in 2007, but remained with CRI as a consultant and continued to advocate for container recycling

Last month, Franklin, 71, was the oldest participant the 2012 SavageMan Triathlon, according to Gitlitz. "She finished 11 minutes faster than she did in 2011."

A funeral is planned for Friday in Falls Church, Va.

Contributions in Pat Franklin's memory can be made to the Joanna M. Nicolay Melanoma Foundation in Oakland; the Container Recycling Institute in Culver City, Calif.; or to the Flying Deer Nature Center in New Lebanon, N.Y.


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Recycling advocate Franklin killed in traffic accident

Published: October 16, 2012 6:00 am ET

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