Pat Franklin, who founded the Container Recycling Institute in Washington in 1991, has decided to retire.
She founded the group to call attention to vast amounts of unrecycled beverage containers and the need for producers to take responsibility for their packaging because of its impact on the environment, has decided to retire.
``It's time,'' said Franklin, who will be replaced as executive director by Elizabeth McLaughlin, environmental affairs director of the Connecticut Audubon Society. For the time being, McLaughlin will run Washington-based CRI from her office outside Hartford.
``I certainly hope that I can find a way to stay somewhat involved in these issues because I have a passion for container recycling,'' Franklin said in an April 25 telephone interview. ``It is hard to leave because there is a lot left to be done. But I need more time for family, friends and fun.''
According to CRI data, almost two-thirds of the beverage containers sold in the United States in 2005 - or 134.1 billion beverage containers - were not recycled, including 43.6 billion PET bottles and 6.8 billion HDPE bottles. ``This wasting trend must be reversed.''
The biggest thing CRI has accomplished is keeping attention on the environmental impact of beverage container waste, Franklin said. And she called it encouraging to see the legislative initiatives in Oregon and Connecticut - and possibly New York - that are likely to lead to the expansion of bottle-deposit bills in those states to include water bottles.
``We have kept the issue of bottle container deposits alive by providing technical assistance and having a clearinghouse of information available to activists and policymakers,'' she said. ``We have provided information that is very credible, very reliable. It has proven to be a valuable resource for people trying to get a handle on issues related to container recycling and container deposits.''
Franklin said McLaughlin brings ``a lot of energy and new ideas that will give the organization a boost and hopefully boost container recycling. She has very good leadership skills. She will bring new life into CRI.''
In a statement, McLaughlin said it is a watershed time for recycling in the United States.
``As leaders look for solutions to the global challenges of climate change, energy consumption and resources depletion, the economic and societal benefits of recycling are being rediscovered,'' she said. ``For those of us who have always been advocates of less waste and more producer responsibility, this renewed interest in recycling is certainly welcome news.''