Amazon is investing $10 million in Closed Loop Fund, a project finance fund that invests in sustainable manufacturing technologies and recycling infrastructure.
Founded in 2014, Closed Loop Fund constitutes part of the broader Closed Loop Partners initiative, which includes an R&D center, a venture capital fund, and a private equity fund. The Closed Loop Fund, specifically, focuses on social impact investments in cities and companies that are looking to build recycling programs. The fund’s goal is to invest $100 million by 2020 and to increase recycling rates across the U.S. A previous example investment includes GreenMantra Technologies, a “clean tech” company that produces “commercial quality waxes and fuels” through recycling plastic.
As one of the world’s largest ecommerce companies, Amazon is responsible for a lot of waste, including cardboard packaging, and this investment is designed to show that it is doing its part to help consumers recycle at home — not just cardboard packaging, but all aspects of their household waste. Indeed, the company said its investment will be specifically used to increase the availability of curbside recycling for 3 million homes in the U.S.
“This investment will help build the local capabilities needed to make it easier for our customers and their communities to recycle and to increase the amount of material recycled across the country,” said Amazon’s senior VP of worldwide operations, Dave Clark. “We are investing in Closed Loop Fund’s work because we think everyone should have access to easy, convenient curbside recycling. The more we are all able to recycle, the more we can reduce our collective energy, carbon, and water footprint.”
With planet Earth’s plight looking increasingly perilous, we have seen an uptick in efforts designed to cut down on waste, with numerous startups raising big VC bucks to help companies eliminate disposable goods and improve their overall efficiencies.
Elsewhere, Seattle recently became the first major U.S. city to ban single-use disposable straws, while Starbucks will phase out plastic straws across all its stores globally by 2020. And this is a trend we’re seeing across the spectrum — people are concerned about the state of the planet, and Amazon wants to align itself with those concerns.
Over the next decade, Closed Loop Fund said it wants to divert more than 8 million cumulative tons of waste from landfills and eliminate more than 16 million tons of greenhouse gas.
“Amazon’s investment in Closed Loop Fund is another example of how recycling is good business in America,” added Closed Loop Fund CEO Ron Gonen. “Companies are seeing that they can meet consumer demand and reduce costs while supporting a more sustainable future and growing good jobs across the country.”
In related news, Amazon also announced today that it plans to generate renewable energy and cut its carbon footprint by installing solar panels at its U.K. fulfillment centers. This follows a similar initiative announced for its U.S. fulfillment hubs last year.