What is Beyond 34: Recycling and Recovery for a New Economy?

Beyond 34: Recycling and Recovery for a New Economy is a multi-stakeholder initiative aimed at increasing the current 34% recycling rate in the United States by providing a scalable model to increase and improve recycling and recovery rates.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation leads the Beyond 34 initiative. A coalition of partners and supporters make the initiative possible, provide valuable feedback on initiative activities, and actively engage with local communities involved in Beyond 34.

The Beyond 34 model has three phases: engage and convene stakeholders from a community’s recycling supply chain; provide the community with a detailed analysis of its waste management system, which includes projects that most effectively increase and improve recycling; and implement the identified projects with seed funding from Beyond 34 and other funds.

The U.S. Chamber Foundation first applied the model in the Orlando region as part of a pilot to test the model and gain learnings. The result was a number of local stakeholder meetings discussing how to optimize the local recycling system and how they can work better together; a gap analysis and other research to identify the implementation projects that would most effectively increase and improve recycling; and an investment of more than $100,000 to conduct and measure the results of certain implementation projects. More information on the Orlando region pilot can be found in the Beyond 34 Case Study Report

In February 2019, the U.S. Chamber Foundation announced an expansion effort that includes applying the Beyond 34 model in a second region and developing a new suite of online tools that allows any community to implement the model. The U.S. Chamber Foundation selected the City of Cincinnati as the second region in which it would apply its model.

The Beyond 34 initiative is made possible through support from The Coca-Cola Company, The Dow Chemical Company, The Plastics Industry Association, P&G Family Care, Republic Services, Target, Walgreens Boots Alliance, and the Walmart Foundation.

Learn how to get involved in the initiative here.

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For more than 25 years, Cincinnati residents have diverted more than 350,000 tons of material from the waste stream,” said Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley. “This diversion is due to our significant recycling efforts including every other week collection of recyclables, data initiatives via the RFID technology in city-issued bins, and engaging residents on recycling non-traditional materials such as textiles, e-waste, and housewares. Beyond 34 will help our city identify the highest impact projects to build on our existing recycling efforts and get closer to our zero waste goal.

Orlando is committed to reducing our environmental impact and as a result, we have a goal to become a zero-waste community by 2040,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. “We’re making significant strides toward that commitment by providing our residents and businesses with the tools and strategies necessary to divert more waste from our landfills, including offering weekly recycling collection, quarterly e-waste drives, free backyard composters to residents, and a commercial food waste collection program that is diverting millions of pounds of organic waste per year.