Circular economy-focused investment firm Closed Loop Partners, announced a $10 million commitment from Next Gen Consortium’s Founding partners, Starbucks and McDonald’s to support the Consortium’s efforts to accelerate circularity of foodservice packaging solutions.

The NextGen Consortium is a multi-year, global consortium that addresses single-use food packaging waste. The consortium is managed by Closed Loop Partners’ Center for the Circular Economy, with food and beverage giants Starbucks and McDonalds as founding partners, the Coca-Cola Company as sector lead partner, and JDE Peet’s Wendy’s and Yum! as supporting partners.

Since 2018, the consortium has focused on advancing sustainable packaging innovation and recycling infrastructure to eliminate food service waste, initially targeting a redesign of the single-use hot and cold fiber cup.

With the added funding, the Consortium plans to expand its efforts, including and beyond the fiber cup, to strengthen the sustainable packaging ecosystem. Additionally, Next Gen Consortium plans to deepen its customer research and testing of reusable packaging systems, explore the circularity of additional packaging materials such as polypropylene (PP), and accelerate the development of fiber-based packaging solutions.

Kate Daly, Managing Director of the Center for the Circular Economy at Closed Loop Partners, said:

“Through NextGen, we’ve made great progress in growing more sustainable packaging solutions, and there is a lot more work to be done. Faced with increasing climate risks, eco-conscious customers, and a resource-constrained world, the foodservice industry must double down on its efforts and band together to strategically tackle the mounting waste challenge.”

According to Closed Loop Partners, waste mitigation initiatives by Starbucks and McDonald’s further bolster the Consortium’s work. Earlier this year, Starbucks announced the launch of a trial of the Borrow a Cup program, a waste reduction initiative part of the company’s commitment to reduce waste by 50% by 2030, one of the company’s key sustainability goals announced last year. Earlier last year, McDonald’s partnered with Terra Cycle’s circular packaging service, Loop, on a new reusable packaging initiative.

Michael Kobori, Chief Sustainability Officer at Starbucks, said:

“Starbucks’ work with the NextGen Consortium has been an important part of our ongoing efforts to reduce single use cup waste, part of our larger goal to reduce waste sent to landfills by 50% by 2030. There has never been a more critical time for industry collaboration to shift away from single-use packaging, promote reusability, and champion recyclability. We are thrilled to continue our work with the NextGen Consortium to drive sustainable solutions for our planet.”

Looking forward, the multi-year collaboration aims to continue its work across the value chain with global brands, municipalities, NGOs, recyclers, and manufacturers to advance viable market solutions.

Marion Gross, Senior Vice President and Chief Supply Chain Officer at McDonald’s North America, said:

“Over the last three years, the NextGen Consortium has demonstrated that working together as an industry helps accelerate sustainable change, and is paving a clear pathway forward for the industry to scale packaging solutions that can benefit the planet and the communities we serve. Knowing that industry-wide collaboration is essential to creating lasting, scalable impact, we invite others to join us in this important work to advance solutions and eliminate packaging waste.”

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