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Microsoft, Business Giants Fund E-Waste Recycling Firm Circular Services

March 20, 2023 by Joe Panettieri

Microsoft and five other corporate giants -- Nestlé, PepsiCo, SK Group, Starbucks and Unilever -- have agreed to invest in Circular Services, a startup that's building and expanding recycling infrastructure across the United States.

Closed Loop Partners and Brookfield Renewable announced the establishment of Circular Services in late 2022. Initial investors and backers included Brookfield, Closed Loop Circular Plastics Fund and the Partnership Fund for New York City. Total financial backing reached nearly $1 billion by March 2023, though actual dollar figures from each company and organization have not been disclosed.

Circular Services positions itself as the largest privately held recycling company in the United States. The company has 12 recycling facilities that focus on packaging, organics, textiles and electronics (aka e-waste).

Circular Economy and E-Waste Recycling Priorities

Brandon Middaugh, senior director, Climate Innovation Fund, Microsoft

On the e-waste front, less than 20% of electronics broadly are collected, refurbished or recycled worldwide––translating to a lost value of more than $50 billion each year, Circular Services asserts. To change that, the company seeks to "help municipalities and businesses eliminate the hundreds of billions of dollars spent annually on landfill disposal costs by ensuring that valuable commodities are recycled and reused in domestic supply chains," Circular Services said.

In a prepared statement about the investment, Brandon Middaugh, senior director, Climate Innovation Fund at Microsoft, said: “With our third investment in the Closed Loop Partners ecosystem we look forward to being part of this new venture to build circular systems that can help our industry achieve our sustainability goals. We have begun testing e-waste recycling in Denver with Circular Services and look forward to exploring additional areas of potential collaboration.”

Jessica Long, chief strategy officer, Closed Loop Partners

Concluded Jessica Long, chief strategy officer at Closed Loop Partners: “Expanding access to recycling and reuse services will enable cities and businesses to avoid the cost of landfilling products and packaging and achieve their sustainability goals. Circular Services continues its work to accelerate a circular economy, an economic system that invests in the continual use of materials, reduces the reliance on natural resource extraction and landfills, and advances a waste-free future.”

Closed Loop Partners: About the Business

Closed Loop Partners, based in New York, had 65 employees listed on LinkedIn as of March 2023. The company has an investment firm, an innovation center and an operating group.

  • The investment firm invests in venture, growth equity, buyout and catalytic private credit strategies on behalf of global institutions, corporations and family offices.
  • The innovation center, known as the Center for the Circular Economy, unites competitors and partners to tackle complex material challenges and implement systemic change to advance circularity.
  • The operating group, Circular Services, has twelve recycling facilities in operation today, and provides holistic, circular materials management to close the loop on valuable materials for municipalities and businesses throughout the United States.

Executives from Nestlé, PepsiCo, SK Group, Starbucks and Unilever also described their deep commitment to Circular Services in prepared statements.

Related: See Microsoft's complete sustainability strategy and timeline here.

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