Inside Closed Loop's mission to get US recycling back on track

22 Oct 2018

From Waste Today by Adam Redling

When Ron Gonen co-founded New York City-based Closed Loop Partners in 2014, his goal was simple: help reform the way companies and municipalities recycle.

Gonen, who served as the New York Department of Sanitation’s deputy commissioner of sanitation, recycling and sustainability under Mayor Michael Bloomberg, saw an opportunity to streamline and improve recycling operations across the country through smarter investments. Along with co-founder Rob Kaplan, a former director of sustainability at Walmart, Bentonville, Arkansas, Gonen created Closed Loop Partners to serve as an investment platform that could help companies and municipalities fund projects aimed at improving recycling rates, reducing contamination and increasing participation that might otherwise have difficulty getting financed.

Through the organization’s Closed Loop Fund, Closed Loop Partners deploys no-interest and low-interest loans to help vetted third parties finance their specific initiatives. For their efforts, the company takes a small management fee, while investors expect their principal investment to be returned with a little additional interest.

The organization’s fund, which has attracted more than $100 million in co- investment to date thanks to participation of high-profile corporations such as Coca-ColaProcter & Gamble3M and PepsiCo., has been deployed to help bankroll 38 projects. Last year, the company invested more than $40 million for 17 projects across the U.S. and Canada.