Projections show that on average these cities could increase recovery of recyclable materials by more than 200%, according to the Recycling Partnership.

Launched in July 2014 by the Curbside Value Partnership, the Recycling Partnership's goal is to increase the amount of clean feedstock coming from public solid waste departments.

"Contaminated materials contribute to unsafe working conditions, increased disposal costs, and a reduction in the quality of end-market material," says Sonoco Recycling Procurement Director Mike Pope. "We believe that the collective need to raise recovery rates must also incorporate a strong focus on quality as this is one of the greatest threats faced by the recycling industry."

In addition to Sonoco, partner companies and organizations include the Alcoa Foundation, Amcor, American Chemistry Council, American Forest & Paper Association, the Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers, Ball Corp., Carton Council, Coca-Cola, and SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association.

“Our city has focused on strong recycling education and excellent customer service for years, but we believe this opportunity will take us to the next level,” says John Hooks, Solid Waste Superintendent with the City of Columbia, which is converting from bin-based recycling collection to a 96-gal. cart-based program. “We can leverage this to deliver a world-class recovery program.”

Applications for the next round of grants will be due in January or February 2015. To make sure you're notified, join the organization's mailing list at