INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Recycling Coalition (IRC) announced its partnership with Knauf Insulation in the Indianapolis Circular Economy Initiative (ICEI) Tuesday, as part of its month-long celebration of Earth Day.

Knauf Insulation is the first major funding partner for the Circular Economy Initiative, a multi-stakeholder, multiyear collaborative effort – in partnership with the City of Indianapolis and many other stakeholders – whose initial priority is to address Indianapolis’ recycling challenges and achieve the Thrive Indianapolis Plan goals for waste and recycling. Backed by extensive research that began in early 2019, the initiative ultimately seeks to:

Generate good and promising jobs;

Foster innovation, ideas, and investments; and

Capture the economic, social, and environmental benefits of a thriving circular economy in Indiana.

The initiative, launched in the fall of 2020 by the statewide nonprofit organization, will leverage IRC’s 32-year track record of coordinating partners from all sectors in Indiana with aligned interests to achieve education and policy objectives that advance recycling for statewide economic, social, and environmental impact.

Knauf Insulation has committed to provide funding to support the IRC in the implementation of the program’s objectives, which will utilize the organization’s new and existing education and advocacy programs to engage individuals, neighborhood groups, and partnering advocacy groups.

Allyson Mitchell, Executive Director of the Indiana Recycling Coalition, states, “As an employer in central Indiana that relies on recycled materials as a critical raw material for its manufacturing process, Knauf Insulation is emblematic of the kind of stakeholder that will directly benefit from this initiative. Their support underscores the value of recyclable materials in Indiana that are currently being landfilled or incinerated and the frustration of knowing Indiana has both the infrastructure to capture and demand for these recycled materials today. The missing ingredient is political will to move beyond the status quo, and this initiative seeks to inform the public and influence elected officials to take action.”

Brett Welch, Director of Sustainability for Knauf Insulation, states, “Knauf Insulation employs over 800 people at our two manufacturing facilities and corporate headquarters in Shelbyville, IN producing insulation products that help homeowners and business owners save energy. Although recycled glass is the primary raw material for manufacturing our products, the vast majority is sourced from outside of Indiana. There are several aspects of creating a circular economy that will need to be addressed, but a viable end market for the materials generated is a big component. Knauf Insulation not only financially supports the Indianapolis Circular Economy Initiative but is committed to using all of the glass bottle and other glass packaging waste that is collected by such an ambitious program. We look forward to working with the IRC to help achieve their bold vision to make Indianapolis a leader in sustainable business investment.”

The initiative gained early momentum by convening leaders from corporate, institutional, educational, and community organizations in Indianapolis and beyond eager to work together to fix recycling in Indianapolis; a response to the City’s current recycling rate of 7 percent as compared to the national average of 35 percent. It quickly evolved to a broader vision of embracing the circular economy in Indianapolis to benefit the city and entire state.

Other partners in the initiative include Berry Global, Bohlsen Group, Brightmark, the City of Indianapolis, Cummins, GHD, Guidon Design, Indy Chamber, MIBOR, Mundell & Associates, Newfields, Pratt Recycling, Salesforce, and Schott Design, among others.

The announcement coincides with the Indiana Recycling Coalition’s celebration of Earth Month, which includes a fundraising campaign, a free Earth Day webinar on the topic of preventing and managing food waste, and a social media education campaign on the same topic.