New Orleans — The people behind the Closed Loop Fund are launching a new grant and loan program aimed specifically at improving film recycling.
Bridget Croke, who leads investor partnerships and communications at the fund, unveiled the effort Feb. 2 at the Plastics Recycling 2016 conference in New Orleans.
The new approach is actually being started by a separate non-profit foundation associated with the fund that has about $350,000 earmarked toward possible grants and loans regarding film recycling.
Closed Loop calls itself a social impact investment fund that expects to provide $100 million in low-interest loans to municipalities and companies to boost recycling efforts around the country. The fund is backed by several companies, including Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Coca-Cola Co. and Procter & Gamble Co., and has specific investment criteria as a limited liability corporation.
Projects targeted by the new Closed Loop Foundation will be more “nascent” than those considered by the larger fund, Croke said.
“We've created a non-profit arm that allows us to do a different kind of funding to do research on things we aren't quite ready to fund, but that would be both helpful for our investment strategy [and] also good for the world at large in some of the trickier recycling areas,” Croke said.
“This gives us some flexibility to do some earlier investments and grants that we can't do through the fund,” she said.
Film recycling is the first area that the foundation will seek to fund, but future projects could involve organics recycling and multifamily housing recycling.
The goal is to unlock solutions to post-consumer film recycling that will be economically viable and scalable. Funded projects also must be measureable.
Applications are due March 4 and the new program will announce awards in June. Investment categories include collection, sortation and processing and end markets, Croke said.
This non-profit approach through the foundation is relatively new as Croke said her group has only been working on the idea for about four months.
Applications for funding between $25,000 and $200,000 will be considered. Croke anticipates successful applicants will receive either a grant or a fund for their project and not both.
“We left the [funding] ceiling pretty high because if we see one or two projects that have so much potential, we'd rather fund just a couple of projects,” she said, rather than only be able to commit to many more smaller projects. “We wanted to have some funding flexibility.”
Information about the new program is available at www.closedloopfund.com/apply.
“We feel there is a need to seed research and development and some earlier stage startups,” Croke said.