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Remembering Pat Franklin


In case you missed the news on our website or email newsletter (or elsewhere), Pat Franklin, the founder (retired) of the Container Recycling Institute (CRI) (www.container-recycling.org) based in Culver City, California, died on Sunday, October 14.
She died in a tragic incident in which she was struck by a truck while walking.
This is very sad news indeed for those of us in the waste and recycling business and particularly those (like me) who believe that used beverage containers should be managed via deposit-refund systems.
Pat transformed her early experience as a community activist into a career as head of the organization she founded that concerned itself with diverting beverage containers from disposal (mostly in landfills). She recognized more than most just how many billions of these end up in American landfills each year. It’s a classic case of “cumulative effects” — none us individually throw out all that many containers, but taken together, the amount is astounding. Pat was always reliable for good information about things like how many times the Earth would be circled or how many trips to the Sun and back the soft drink bottles and beer cans would make stacked end to end.
In fact, the CRI website, in addition to having lots of media-friendly facts about containers, offers a real-time counter that tracks how many containers have been discarded so far in a given year. (As I write this, the counter has just passed 104 BILLION.)
Pat also created another site focused more on policy and legal issues: www.bottlebill.org that also features the real-time counter.
Over the past two decades or so, Pat and I occasionally corresponded, often as the result of my calls to her confirming certain statistics whenever I wrote about container diversion issues. Sometimes she dashed off a short note to compliment me on an article championing bottle bills or product stewardship/EPR for these or other materials. There was always a slight conspiratorial vibe to these interactions: people who favor such solutions tend to learn about one another and feel a sense of camaraderie, outgunned and outspent as we are by corporate interests and their proxies who have a different agenda (i.e., keeping the containers in the curbside recycling programs managed at taxpayer expense).
As the formal news release (reproduced below) states, although Pat retired as Executive Director of CRI in 2007, her work lives on in the passage of a bottle bill in Hawaii and in bottle bill expansions in Connecticut, New York, and Oregon.
I was interested to learn that a month before her untimely death, Pat was the oldest participant the 2012 SavageMan Triathlon at Deep Creek Lake State Park. Riding the 40k bicycle segment, she finished eleven minutes faster than she did in 2011.
On Saturday, October 13, Pat was in downtown Oakland, Maryland during the Autumn Glory Festival and Parade. Apparently she had left the farmers’ market and was crossing the street when a truck pulled out and turned across her right-of-way. Her head struck the pavement with she suffered a severe head injury. She was medi-flighted from a local hospital to Ruby Memorial Trauma Center in Morgantown, West Virginia where she passed away in the presence of her family the following morning. 

So, Pat, I will say a sad goodbye. God bless you and may you rest in peace. And I promise to do my best to continue spreading your message about environmental protection and better recycling and product stewardship practices.
For those who are interested in learning more, here’s the relevant contact information for the CRI and websites that Pat Franklin founded. (And, again, I’ve reproduced the full obituary below.)
Container Recycling Institute

4361 Keystone Ave.

Culver City, CA
90232

Tel. 310-559-7451
www.container-recycling.org
http://www.bottlebill.org
A Tribute to Pat Franklin
Patricia Farrell Franklin — a well-known person in the recycling industry — passed away October 14, 2012 at Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown, West Virginia. She was critically injured the day before when struck by a pickup truck while crossing an intersection in Oakland, Maryland.
Pat was born May 11, 1941 in Washington, DC where she grew up, graduating from Falls Church (VA) High School in 1959 and William and Mary College in 1963. She is survived by her husband of 48 years, Jay D. Franklin, children, Kimberly (Steve) Trundle of Falls Church, and Devin (Michelle Apland) Franklin, Lebanon, NY. Her first child, Dennis Franklin, passed away in 2008. She had four grandchildren: Claire, Scott and Wyatt Trundle, and Cedar Franklin.
In addition to being a schoolteacher while her children were young, Pat was active in northern VA politics and community matters, including the League of Women Voters. Drawing on her passion as a civic activist, from her basement in 1991 founded the Container Recycling Institute (CRI), a non-profit organization that supports beverage-container deposit laws and recycling programs.
Pat worked tirelessly to grow CRI from a shoestring operation to an internationally-recognized source of original information and analysis on beverage-container recycling in the United States and Canada. She spearheaded a series of Bottle Bill Summits, spoke at scores of recycling conferences, and gave hundred of media interviews. Pat was instrumental in getting then-Senator Jim Jeffords of Vermont to sponsor a National Bottle Bill initiative, testifying before the Committee on the Environment and Public Works on Capitol Hill.  She wrote important policy papers and founded two significant recycling websites.
Although Pat retired as Executive Director of CRI in 2007, her work lives on in the passage of a bottle bill in Hawaii and in bottle bill expansions in Connecticut, New York, and Oregon.
A month before her death, Pat was the oldest participant the 2012 SavageMan Triathlon at Deep Creek Lake State Park. Riding the 40k bicycle segment, she finished eleven minutes faster than she did in 2011.
Contributions in Pat Franklin’s memory may be made to either the Flying Deer Nature Center, http://flyingdeernaturecenter.org/contact.html, the Joanna M. Nicolay Melanoma Foundation, Oakland, MD, http://www.melanomaresource.org/index.php/site/content/donatetothefoundation/ or to the Container Recycling Institute, Culver City, CA, http://www.container-recycling.org/


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