Beverage industry invests $800K to revive Ann Arbor recycling facility

ANN ARBOR – Recycle Ann Arbor was selected by the American Beverage Association to receive an $800,000 investment under its Every Bottle Back initiative to rebuild and reopen the city’s shuttered recycling facility.

The closure of the city’s Materials Recovery Facility in 2016 subsequently diverted the processing of recyclable materials -- including the industry’s 100% recyclable polyethylene terephthalate plastic bottles --across state lines.

“Our investment in Ann Arbor will help restore the region’s critical recycling infrastructure, create jobs and showcase effective strategies to build a more circular economy,” Katherine Lugar, president and CEO of the American Beverage Association said in a statement.

“This exciting new project is one in a series of investments the beverage industry is making alongside our environmental partners and community leaders under the Every Bottle Back initiative to boost the collection of our 100% recyclable bottles and cans so they can be remade, as intended.”

The targeted investment, in partnership with Closed Loop Partners, will see the creation of a state-of-the-art recyclable materials sorting facility. The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy will also invest $800,000 in the project.

“Local processing of recyclables brings a range of environmental, economic, and social benefits, creating a regional hub that will allow recycling to flourish,” Bryan Ukena, CEO of Recycle Ann Arbor said in a statement.

“Recycle Ann Arbor’s project to rebuild the materials recovery facility in the area establishes an amazing partnership with the community, local banks, industry funders, government agencies, non-profits, and manufacturers. Recycle Ann Arbor looks forward to bringing its 42 years of experience as a mission-based community recycler to the collaboration.”

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Overall, the beverage industry has committed to funding 11 initial projects like the reopening of the Ann Arbor recycling facility under Every Bottle Back to ensure its bottles are properly remade instead of polluting beaches, lakes or ending up in landfills.

The group projects that 284 million new pounds of materials will be collected curbside as a result of the project, including 7 million pounds of PET.

The Coca Cola Company, Keurig Dr Pepper and PepsiCo launched the Every Bottle Back initiative to reduce the beverage industry’s global plastic footprint.

CEO of Closed Loop Partners, Ron Gonen, said that the investment comes at a crucial moment since the COVID-19 pandemic has wrought havoc on recycling infrastructure and supply chains.

“The rebuild of Ann Arbor’s materials recovery facility comes at a critical moment for recycling infrastructure in the United States, amidst a global pandemic that has disrupted supply chains and highlighted the need to keep valuable recycled materials in circulation in local manufacturing supply chains,” Gonen said in a statement.

The announcement comes during America Recycles Week.

About the Author:

Meredith has worked for WDIV since August 2017 and was voted one of Washtenaw County's best journalists in 2019 by eCurrent's readers. She covers the community of Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in International Broadcast Journalism from City University London, UK.