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Groups say Closed Loop Fund better off investing in existing projects

By: Jim Johnson

June 6, 2014

A self-described group of public interest organizations is going after the newly created $100 million Closed Loop Fund established to boost recycling.

The fund, recently announced at a Wal-Mart sustainable product expo, plans to invest in recycling infrastructure and “spur private and public finding for transforming the recycling system in the United States,” Wal-Mart has said.

Aside from the nation’s largest retailer, Closed Loop Fund backers include Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Johnson & Johnson, Keurig Green Mountain Coffee and Goldman Sachs.

But the group of public interest organizations wants those companies backing the fund to “support proven policies to boost recycling instead, like extended producer responsibility.”

Matt Prindiville is associate director of Upstream, formerly known as the Product Policy Institute. He said $100 million seems like a lot of cash, but it should not be seen as a “game-changer.”

“It’s really just a drop in the bucket — both in terms of what it actually costs the companies, and the amount that’s actually needed to significantly boost recycling in the U.S.,” he said in a statement.

Athens, Ga.-based Upstream is joined by 5 Gyres, Eureka Recycling, Green America, Story of Stuff Project, and Texas Campaign for the Environment in calling for EPR consideration in a letter to Wal-Mart CEO Doug McMillon.