About the Project

Beyond 34: Recycling and Recovery for A New Economy is a first-of-its kind multi-stakeholder pilot project aimed at increasing the current 34% recycling rate in the United States by providing a scalable model for improving recycling and recovery rates. The goal of the project is to help communities, cities and businesses across the country create a more sustainable future. The City of Orlando has been chosen to serve as the pilot city.

The project will be implemented as a private-public partnership between the U.S. Chamber Foundation, RRS, the Orlando Regional Chamber of Commerce, and the City of Orlando. RRS will facilitate development of a recycling business plan for the Orlando region and its stakeholders that keeps high-value recyclable material out of landfills. The plan will also identify greater economic reuse opportunities material generated in from commercial, industrial, and residential sources.

The project is made possible through support from the Dow Chemical Company, Republic Services, Target, Walgreens Boots Alliance, and the Walmart Foundation.  Learn how to get involved in the project here.

Why is Beyond 34 Important?

The current linear “take-make-waste” economy, which has been highly successful in delivering economic development throughout the 20th century, is no longer viable for continuing progress in the 21st century. Our current systems of commerce and production processes largely follow the linear model, in which very little attention is paid to how product—and its components—will be used and reused. The result is most resources are used merely once or for a single purpose and then discarded as waste.

The concept of eradicating waste from the system, which underpins a concept called the circular economy, has been picking up momentum as a viable alternative to the linear economy that decouples economic growth from resource constraints. It is a restorative or regenerative economic model in which resources are endlessly cycled back into supply chains.

The circular economy represents tremendous opportunity for business and the global economy. Shifting to the circular economy could unlock an estimated $4.5 trillion in additional economic growth by 2030 by turning current waste into wealth, according to research from Accenture, and could be the biggest economic revolution in 250 years.

Beyond 34 is part of the Chamber Foundation's broader commitment to help companies shift to the circular economy. Learn more about our programming here

Project Timeline

After announcing Orlando as the pilot city location in September 2017, the Beyond 34 partners will work together to build a strong foundation that will help Orlando become more sustainable.

On October 19, 2017, Beyond 34 hosted Orlando Region Waste Impact Workshop: How Public and Private Sectors Collaborate for Recycling System Optimization. This invite-only event will brought together business leaders, recycling planners, and key stakeholders in the City of Orlando and Orange County to collaborate around a sustainable system that positively impacts the local area’s recycling rate. 

Additionally, we will be hosting a second workshop in Orlando on Tuesday, June 26. At this workshop, we will discuss, plan, and prioritize potential implementation projects that will increase the local recycling rate and will create systems change that will minimize waste and stimulate local economies. Click here to learn more.

The pilot project also developed a blueprint for optimization, recycling materials mapping research, and a business plan for future innovation and growth. The long-term goal being to scale the project nationally—using research and case studies from the pilot to help other cities and municipalities implement circular economy best practices. Access the recycling blueprint and materials mapping research in the Beyond 34 Case Study: The Development of a Recycling Public-Private Partnership