Pat Franklin, founder of the Container Recycling Institute, has died.
According to an email from lifelong friend and former CRI research director Jenny Gitlitz, Franklin died Oct. 14, 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 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 bills, wrote reports, secured grants, spoke at recycling events, helped organize summits and served as a spokeswoman for recycling in hundreds of interviews. She was instrumental in passing Hawaii's bottle bill and expanding bottle bills in Oregon, Connecticut and New York. She wrote letters to the editor of Plastics News and guest columns for Waste & Recycling News.
“Pat was a jack-of-all-trades at CRI,” Gitlitz said. “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 ... 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.
Last month, Franklin, 71, was the oldest participant the SavageMan Triathlon, Gitlitz said. “She finished 11 minutes faster than she did in 2011.”