Investment associate at Closed Loop Partners
Recycling-related careers weren’t on Allison Sellers’ radar when she graduated from the University of Minnesota with a bachelor’s degree in finance in 2012. She spent the first five years of her career working in credit risk management roles at J.P. Morgan. But, about four years ago, she says she started to consider work opportunities in impact investing—firms that invest in companies, organizations and funds with the intention of generating social and environmental impact along with a financial return. She eventually learned about New York-based Closed Loop Partners—an impact investment firm in the recycling industry.
Sellers joined Closed Loop Partners as an investment associate in the beginning of 2019. That investment firm launched in 2014 and has been helping to make investments across the recycling industry and the circular economy supply chain.
Although Sellers has only been in the recycling industry for one year, she says she’s been able to learn a lot from her colleagues at Closed Loop Partners.
“I think if chemical recycling is scalable and able to be used in a variety of applications, it also could revolutionize the recycling industry.”
“All of [Closed Loop Partners’] managing directors with the exception of one have come from the recycling industry,” she says. “They are a wealth of knowledge. Any time I have a question, I know one of them will be able to answer it. I’ve learned a lot through our due diligence process for the investments we make as well.”
Recycling Today connected with Sellers to learn more about her entry into the recycling industry and the projects she’s helping with at Closed Loop Partners.
Recycling Today (RT): What’s the company culture like at Closed Loop?
Allison Sellers (AS): We have the mentality of we just need to get the job done while working together—that permeates the day-to-day work here at Closed Loop. We’re a team of 25 people, but I would say one-third of those people are actually in the office on a given day. We’re always traveling to conferences and to visit portfolio companies and prospective investments and fundraising at the same time.
RT: How does Closed Loop Partners pick which communities or material recovery facilities (MRFs) it invests in?
AS: We work really hard to find investments that will result in the most impact. We look at areas that have insufficient or no recycling infrastructure today and then work hand in hand with the municipalities and the MRF operators to make sure that the infrastructure being built that we’re financing will best serve the communities. We also look holistically to see where we can make the most impact as a result of our capital.
RT: Are there any new technologies you hope to see more recyclers invest in?
AS: [Closed Loop Partners] has a venture fund, and out of that fund, we’re an investor in Amp Robotics. They are exploding right now in growth and are really leading the charge in robotics and [artificial intelligence] applications within recycling. This technology is exciting to me because of its potential to create better data, more transparency and a cleaner end product.
I also think that chemical recycling has extremely powerful applications. I think if chemical recycling is scalable and able to be used in a variety of applications, it also could revolutionize the recycling industry. That’s a little bit more long term—I don’t think [chemical recycling] solutions are available right now, but once more widely available, I think they will be a key area of investment.