A Message from the Executive Director February 19, 2024

Modernizing Rockford’s Curbside Recycling

Rockford, Illinois, is known as the City of Gardens, thanks to its vast green spaces and tree-lined riverside trail. The city is proud of its beautiful natural landscapes and public gardens that bring visitors from near and far. None of us want to see our parks and trails defiled by waste items that can and should be recycled. The Illinois Beverage Association committed to finding workable solutions to help keep our cities clean and green.

The simplest way to prevent valuable, recyclable materials from being wasted in the environment is to create accessible, effective systems for recycling. According to a 2023 report, Illinois ranks 24th among states with the highest recycling rates, placing us in the middle of the pack. We know our state is anything but average. That’s why we are joining with leaders to take bold steps to improve recycling infrastructure.

Soon, households in Rockford will benefit from an investment to improve the community’s recycling rates, reduce waste and keep recyclable materials out of landfills or nature where they don’t belong. The Illinois Beverage Association is proud to partner with leaders in Rockford to improve recycling rates as part of the beverage industry’s Every Bottle Back initiative. Launched in 2019 by The Coca-Cola Company, PepsiCo and Keurig Dr Pepper in partnership with sustainability leaders The Recycling Partnership, Closed Loop Partners, and the World Wildlife Fund, Every Bottle Back investments provide communities with more efficient and effective recycling through investments in infrastructure and education the goal is to get more of our 100% recyclable plastic bottles and cans back to be remade, as intended.

Currently, Rockford residents have 32-gallon recycling bins, which do not have wheels and can fill up quickly. This new investment will deliver standardized 64-gallon recycling carts with wheels, allowing households to recycle more materials in a more convenient manner. And for even more capacity, the city is also investing in 96-gallon trash carts, ensuring the entire curbside collection process is streamlined.

This investment is more than just upgraded carts. Part of our collaboration includes direct educational outreach to residents to help demystify recycling. Raising awareness of good recycling habits will maximize benefits and drive recycling rates even higher. Over the next 10 years these efforts are projected to yield more than 46 million pounds of recyclables, including more than 1.8 million pounds of PET plastic, the most recyclable and recycled plastic used to make our beverage industry bottles.

Rockford’s Every Bottle Back investment is the latest in a series of commitments from the Illinois Beverage Association to improve recycling. Similar investments have been made recently in LaSalleVilla Park and Chicago, all part of beverage industry’s broader commitment to driving sustainability solutions across Illinois.

The Illinois Beverage Association takes pride in supporting innovative Every Bottle Back investments that will have a lasting impact. Together we can create a better and more sustainable future.

Madeline Norris
Executive Director, Illinois Beverage Association