The 2016 Pat Franklin Courageous Spirit Award

patfranklinThe Container Recycling Institute (CRI) is pleased to announce it is accepting nominations for its second annual Pat Franklin Courageous Spirit Award. Created to recognize and encourage leadership in advancing meaningful recycling of beverage containers and other consumer materials in the U.S. and Canada, the award seeks nominees whose work exemplifies the spirit, goals and achievements of CRI’s late founder and longtime executive director, Pat Franklin.


Who Was Pat Franklin?

Patricia Farrell Franklin was a shining light in the recycling movement. She founded the Container Recycling Institute in 1992, growing it from a shoestring operation in her basement to an internationally recognized source of original research, objective analysis and responsible advocacy. A generous mentor and tireless networker, she nurtured alliances between activists and legislators, found common ground with regulators and policy makers and unstintingly shared information critical to campaigns promoting deposit legislation. She established one of the nation’s first environmental listservs (the Bottle Bill Action Network), founded two information-packed websites ( and and spearheaded a series of Bottle Bill Summits that continue to attract recycling experts from around the world.

A disciple of producer responsibility long before that term gained widespread use, Pat spoke at scores of conferences, was sought after for interviews by reporters in both the mainstream media and the recycling trade press, and was routinely invited to contribute articles, op-eds, position papers and legislative testimony. She was instrumental in getting then-Senator Jim Jeffords of Vermont to sponsor a National Bottle Bill initiative, and she testified before the Committee on the Environment and Public Works on Capitol Hill. A diligent researcher and astute analyst, Pat led her small but talented CRI team in producing a number of groundbreaking reports on recycling, and she launched CRI’s comprehensive Beverage Market Data Analysis, a periodic review of container recycling and wasting that has become a vital management and forecasting tool not only for state and municipal officials but for leaders in the manufacturing and secondary-processing sectors. A number of industry executives, impressed by Pat’s understanding of their issues as well as her fairness, tenacity and absolute allegiance to facts, accepted her invitation to join CRI’s governing board. This unusual model—an environmental organization in which corporate representatives work side by side with citizen activists and grassroots leaders to further their mutual goal of economic and environmental sustainability—is one of Pat’s most important legacies.

Though Pat’s visibility made her a target for powerful opponents, especially members of the beverage and grocery industries, she never failed to meet their attacks with polite determination, feisty counter-arguments and an unapologetic belief in the justness of her cause. Such perseverance, professionalism and dedication were compelling, and when Pat died suddenly in 2012, even critics acknowledged that she had been a worthy adversary. We invite your help in continuing Pat’s legacy of courage and conviction.

Award Criteria

In making its selection(s), the award committee will give preference to nominees who:
    •    Have worked to advance recycling of beverage containers or other packaging or printed material.
    •    Have shown a willingness to build consensus and work with coalitions.
    •    Have challenged entrenched policies and/or ways of thinking.
    •    Can communicate complex information effectively and persuasively to a wide variety of audiences.
    •    Are generous with their time, ideas, strategies and encouragement.
    •    Have demonstrated an ability to inspire, encourage and empower people to take action.
    •    Are committed to the long term, even when the challenges are daunting.

Instructions for Submitting a Nomination

Using this form, please include the following information for both the nominator and the nominee:

Please e-mail all nomination materials to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The deadline for submitting nominations is August 15, 2016.

Selection and Notification

The CRI Board of Directors will appoint an awards committee to solicit and review nominations for the Pat Franklin Courageous Spirit Award. The award is nonmonetary, but will be accompanied by an appropriate plaque. CRI will announce the recipient(s) in Fall 2016 through its website, newsletter and other communications channels, and may schedule an in-person presentation at an appropriate location.

2015 Award Recipients

The award committee, which includes CRI board members as well as Pat’s close friend and CRI’s first research director Jenny Gitlitz, agreed on several Pat-worthy criteria. In addition to working to advance the quality recovery of beverage containers or other packaging or printed material, nominees must demonstrate an ability to build consensus and work with coalitions; a willingness to challenge entrenched policies or ways of thinking; generosity with time, ideas, strategies and encouragement; a gift for communicating effectively and persuasively to varied audiences; an ability to inspire, encourage and empower people to take action; and a commitment to the long term, even when the challenges are daunting.

Just before Thanksgiving 2015, CRI Chairman Tex Corley announced that two individuals will receive the inaugural Pat Franklin Courageous Spirit Award: Mike Garver of Houston, Texas, and Marge Davis of Nashville, founder of the Tennessee Bottle Bill Project. Learn more about Mr. Garver and Ms. Davis here.

For More Information

If you have questions, please contact CRI at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (310) 559-7451. For more information about the Container Recycling Institute, please visit our website at



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