By Keefe Harrison
When the world moves through this terrible coronavirus pandemic, the economy is going to need help. That’s why The Recycling Partnership is working hard, every day, to ensure that the economy that rebounds is a circular one that serves people and the planet.
I grew up in a family of environmentalists. Educators, artists, entrepreneurs, civil servants – concerned citizens all. My mom still reminds me it was she who taught me how to recycle, and my late grandmothers taught me the lessons of reuse and doing with less than The Great Depression taught them. This background drives my dedication to my career – I come to work each day committed to making the world a better place.
As shared in this video, the staff at The Partnership share that commitment. We come to our nonprofit from backgrounds in both the public and private sectors with a shared vision: making measurable change, together. The change we lead is rooted in collaboration. Collaboration seems like a “kumbaya” word but, in fact, it’s very difficult. It requires you to drop the “us v. them” mentality and instead work toward a greater good. Protecting the planet by activating a circular economy is our greater good.
Since day one we’ve committed ourselves to working across the entire value chain – from communities to corporations to citizens. From companies that extract natural resources to the NGOs who, like us, work to save them. We’re as fiercely committed to our mission as we are to measurement. Being able to measure the work to date, and the needed work ahead is critical for using our funding to drive as much change as possible.
We are mission-driven, not member-driven. Our role is to serve communities by insisting and assisting companies in upholding their sustainability commitments. When we invite funding partners to join us, we ask them to answer three important questions:
- Do you believe in our mission?
- Are you willing to fund it?
- Will you play well with others?
Citizens are calling on brands and companies to be stronger global protectors, but they’ll never achieve that alone. To succeed, companies need to be both held accountable and supported by trustworthy entities that protect the public good.
Protecting the planet is going to take serious investment of effort, ingenuity, and cash. And that investment must come from companies and government alike. Corporate dollars behind greenwashing is never okay. Corporate dollars behind a dedicated, transparent effort is not only very okay, it’s a must. The Partnership is proud to be a change agent and a leader in the movement to transform the U.S. recycling system. We need change and we need it now – there’s no time to be timid.
Addressing only short-term targets, or concentrating on plastics alone, will not create a viable platform for a truly circular economy. As outlined in the Bridge to Circularity Report and The Partnership’s 2020 State of Curbside Recycling report, the momentum around plastics waste should address the broader question of how to build a circular economy for all consumer packaging in the U.S.—one of the largest markets for plastics production and waste in the world.
There’s a lot to get done and a short amount of time to do it. We applaud all the “doers” working hard on behalf of our planet and its people. Partnership is part of our name for a reason and it’s just one of the core values that reflect the organization and the people who work here – our collective commitment to making the world better than we found it.
What are we wasting for?