It’s always good to have a mission and The Recycling Partnership has a big one! Its mission—transform our nation’s curbside recycling system. Originally operating as Curbside Value Partnership (CVP), familiar to many of us since the early 2000’s, the 501(c)(3) organization is expanding its role within the industry to bring about needed change.
With funding from its industry and organization partners, the Recycling Partnership works to match public investments in community recycling programs in order to advance recycling. The Partnership is focusing its attention on bridging the “material supply/demand gap.” Working in communities where the processing infrastructure is relatively strong and in need of material, but where the collection infrastructure is underdeveloped, the Partnership puts its funds and assistance to work to improve and expand recycling.
The Recycling Partnership offers communities technical and financial assistance in four key arenas:
- Access: Ensuring all households with curbside recycling are served by large roll carts.
- Champion Building: Building support from industry leaders, and local and state elected officials
- Program Coordination: Promoting best management practices to create a strategy that works across the entire supply chain.
- Education and Outreach: Focusing on increasing participation and reducing contamination through operationally integrated social marketing campaigns.
Working in these four key areas, the Partnership builds program improvements that are effective and sustainable.
The Recycling Partnership Difference
By concentrating on residential curbside programs, the Partnership’s strategic assistance helps maximize every community’s potential and impacts the entire chain. This systemic approach addresses common issues— low participation rates and rising contamination.
Curbside recycling is the easiest way for Americans to recycle. Across the nation, more than half of the communities have access to curbside recycling yet participation averages at less than 50 percent. Fostering recycling at home helps to energize recycling at work, in public places, and at special events. American consumers generate a lot of recyclables at their homes— clean resources which are easily captured through the curbside recycling.
Increasing participation and reducing contamination diverts more quality material, providing environmental benefits and helping to build the economy. This improvement through public-private partnerships helps budget-strapped local governments to get the most out of their recycling program.
Putting Partnerships to Work
The Recycling Partnership builds on its success and history by helping focus communities on the importance of promoting recycling and training recycling coordinators to become competent educators. This in turn contributes to program sustainability.
By building strong partnerships through its relationship with its sponsors and funders, and leveraging this to bring together local governments and their citizens—the material generators, the Recycling Partnership has become adept at connecting all stakeholders in the material supply chain.
Practical and Tactical Tools
Recycling Partnership’s TOOLS site contains practical and tactical information to assist communities with planning, evaluating and implementation in operations and community engagement. Its tools are data-directed based upon their extensive research and well-founded success in building community partnerships.
Its Common Suite of Materials provides practical tips for educating residents
Passing Plateaus offers strategies for going beyond existing program participation rates.
Practical strategies for improving material quality are offered in Reducing Contamination.
The Recycling Partnership's comprehensive Community Access = Recycling Tonnage (CART) resource module provides communities with technical support to switch from bins to carts.
The future is bright for the Recycling Partnership and our nation’s curbside recycling efforts as focus on improving participation and quality continues to grow. As Keefe Harrison, Executive Director for the Partnership states, “A systems solution is needed for a systems problem. The Recycling Partnership works with its sponsors and local communities to comprehensively build a strong reverse supply chain—increasing the recovery of clean materials through promotion of curbside recycling best management practices.”
The Recycling Partnership became a NERC Advisory Member is 2014. Indeed, building partnerships and increasing collaboration can help move materials management into a new era as we all work together to improve material quality, build strong secondary materials markets, and grow the recycling mindset.