Talking Physics, Recycling, and Impact Investing With Kids
January 12, 2017
I love it when I can relate my own work to something relevant to what my kids are learning in school. It gives me great material for dinner table conversation and a teaching opportunity. This year both of my kids are learning physics, so it was music to my ears when the Co-President of Eureka Recycling, Kate Davenport explained, “It’s really all about physics”, as we walked alongside the series of conveyor belts, reverse magnets, and optical sorters that is Eureka’s Materials Recycling Facility in Minneapolis, MN.
She was explaining how the agitator worked, separating heavy materials from lighter ones, as we watched the mass of bottles, paper, cans, and other materials bouncing at different heights on top of a long panel of what looked like paddles. What came in as massive truckloads of combined recycling worked its way through the maze of machinery in this Minneapolis warehouse and ended up neatly sorted into bales of aluminum, paper, and plastics, and massive mounds of color specific piles of crushed glass.
Calvert Foundation is a co-participant, alongside Closed Loop Fund, in a large-scale equipment financing facility for Eureka, led by RSF Social Finance. Together, we three lenders are providing Eureka Recycling with more than $9 million in financing, which will enable them, with a new truck fleet and improvements to their Material Recovery Facility (MRF), to increase their collection and processing capacity and divert an estimated additional 40,000 tons of material from landfills annually – that’s equivalent to 115,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions avoided annually, or removing 23,000 cars from the road annually!
Even better, that positive environmental impact is only part of what’s great about this deal. Eureka Recycling’s mission extends beyond the environment, to the social justice and economic development it aims to advance through its employer practices, buyer contracts, and educational outreach in the community. All this additional impact makes this loan a terrific alignment with the Ours To Own Twin Cities local investing initiative.
Alongside all of this important impact, we get to support the work of fantastic peer lenders. RSF Social Finance, a long-standing social enterprise lender, was able to meet Eureka Recycling’s growing financing needs thanks to the participation of Closed Loop Fund and us. And Closed Loop Fund, a specialized fund focused on expanding the recycling capacity in the U.S., who is an educator and partner for us and others, about the investable opportunities in the circular economy.
Like so many of our deals, the impact of Eureka Recycling extends beyond its primary mission, and has a positive knock-on effect for its local community and our own work. The added bonus is I also get to talk about it with my kids!
To learn more about our loan to Eureka Recycling, visit: http://rsfsocialfinance.org/2016/12/13/zeroing-in-on-recycling/