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Recycling Smackdown: Closed Loop Fund vs. John Tierney

recyclingJohn Tierney’s now infamous opinion piece that argues recycling it too costly and isn’t benefiting the environment, published in last week’s New York Times, has been fact checked by the Closed Loop Fund team — and the recycling group says it’s bunk.

In “The Reign of Recycling,” Tierney writes “it’s still typically more expensive for municipalities to recycle household waste than to send it to a landfill.”

The Closed Loop Fund team responds: “Cities pay to send waste to landfills — if they send to a recycling facility it costs $0…For instance, New York City pays over $100 per ton to landfills in Pennsylvania, Ohio and South Carolina. Or the 150K tons of paper recycled by New York City resident, annually, New York City is paid a minimum of $10 per ton as part of a long term contract.” It cites a pricing chart for all landfills and transfer stations where New York City sends waste; the average price is over $100.

Read the rest of the Closed Loop Fund’s rebuttal here.

Rob Kaplan, who used to be Walmart’s sustainability director before leaving the retailer to become managing director of the Closed Loop Fund, posted the fact check piece Friday afternoon.

The Closed Loop Fund — founding members include Coca-Cola, Colgate-Palmolive, Johnson & Johnson, Keurig Green Mountain, PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Walmart and Goldman Sachs — plans to invest more than $500 million in US recycling projects over the next five years. The fund invests in the form of zero-interest loans to cities and low interest loans to recycling companies.

Last month the fund announced its first three recycling investments, totaling $24 million.


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