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2020 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Container Recycling Institute

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Environment, Recycling

Mission: CRI's mission is to make North America a global model for the collection and quality recycling of packaging materials. We envision a world where no material is wasted, and the environment is protected. We succeed because companies and people collaborate to create a strong, sustainable domestic economy.

Geographic areas served: global, with emphasis on United States

Programs: CRI focuses on two broad program areas: public education/outreach; and research/technical assistance. WIthin the former category, CRI maintains two websites and a listserv; distributes via e-mail a "Weekly Headlines"; distributes numerous reports, fact sheets, Powerpoints and other publications; publishes a periodic newsletter covering national and state news and features about container recycling and deposit legislation; offers periodic webinars and serves as a panelist in webinars hosted by others; gives frequent media interviews; answers queries from citizens, the media, organizations, governments and businesses; provides expert testimony before state and federal lawmakers; presents at recycling conferences; organizes special recycling summits; contributes articles to professional journals and trade publications; and responds as needed to articles and reports by others. Under the category of research and technical assistance, CRI produces the Beverage Market Data Analysis (BMDA), a definitive compiling and analysis of container consumption and recycling trends in all 50 states and the U.S. as a whole; produces fact sheets and other documents for state coalitions; and produces special reports, including "The 10ยข Incentive to Recycle," "Trashed Cans: The Global Environmental Effects of Aluminum Can Wasting in America," "Beverage Container Deposit Systems in the United States" and "Returning to Work: Understanding the Domestic Jobs Impacts from Different Methods of Recycling Beverage Containers."

Community Stories

76 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I first became aware of the Container Recycling Institute when I enrolled in a state certificate program for resource management and recycling. I was so impressed with CRI's mission that I pursued a volunteer opportunity with them. I am now happy to say that I am gainfully employed with the organization. It is such a rewarding experience to be working every day to reduce the amount of waste being sent to landfills and to educate others on the importance of closed loop recycling systems that decrease our dependence on virgin materials. I'm grateful for the opportunity to be doing something that I am passionate about!


Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As an environmental engineer specializing in water quality issues, I'm grateful to the CRI for its efforts to reduce the type of nonpoint source water pollution caused by hundreds of thousands of littered beverage containers. Stuff flows downhill. And the best proof of that comes after any major storm event in any major city, when plastic bottles, aluminum cans and other forms of litter get washed into storm drains and out into the public waterway. It's a serious and expensive issue, bad for the public image, and potentially harmful to wildlife. I've heard the argument that deposits aren't necessary because bottles and cans are a "minor portion" of the litter stream. Anyone who really believes that needs to join me in a stream or lakeshore cleanup.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Eight years ago, frustrated by low recycling rates and our appalling volume of litter (roughly half of it bottles and cans), I decided to renew the oft-defeated effort to make Tennessee the first Southern state with a refundable-deposit law. My husband, friends and numerous lawmakers said I was crazy: Pigs would fly before entrenched special interests would allow a "bottle bill" in the Volunteer State. Fortunately, that's not how the folks at CRI reacted. They said, "Great! Let us help. If you'll provide the grassroots organizing, local communications and legislative liaising, we'll provide the data, the comparative studies, the economic analyses, the stakeholder testimony and the national/global networking you'll need to pass your bill. " Today, eight years later, we're a getting closer to having a bill, and CRI is still arming us grassroots Davids with the information and guidance we need to eventually prevail against special-interest Goliaths. So that's why I'm a CRI fan: Not because they've won us a bottle bill (not yet, anyway); but because they've never stopped believing we'll get one eventually.