U.S. Chamber Foundation Launches New Project: “Beyond 34: Recycling and Recovery for A New Economy”

November 16, 2016

Aims to Foster Circular Economy Practices in Businesses and Communities

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation today launched a new project, “Beyond 34: Recycling and Recovery for A New Economy.” Focused on breaking through the current 34 percent recycling barrier in the United States, the project will provide a scalable model for improving recycling and recovery rates in order to help communities, cities, and businesses achieve their circular economy and sustainability goals. 

Initially funded by the Walmart Foundation, Target, Republic Services, and Walgreens, in collaboration with Resource Recycling Systems (RRS), and with participation from state and local chambers, city officials, and other civic stakeholders, the project aims to demonstrate how to optimize recycling and recovery of high value materials generated from commercial, industrial, and residential sources.

“The circular economy is a huge opportunity for the business community and for the American economy,” said Marc DeCourcey, senior vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. “ ‘Beyond 34’ will help accelerate recycling and recovery solutions that enhance business performance, competitiveness, and innovation while stimulating sustainable economic growth and development at the local level.”

The project will be conducted in a phased approach beginning in January 2017. A U.S. city-region that demonstrates a high degree of readiness for recycling and reuse system development will be identified, along with the specific products and materials that will be included in the pilot. The U.S. Chamber Foundation is encouraging stakeholders to share data and information as part of this process.

In a circular economy, products, components, and materials are designed and manufactured for reuse, remanufacturing, and recycling. Shifting to the circular economy could unlock an estimated $4.5 trillion in additional economic growth by 2030, according to research from Accenture, and could be the biggest economic revolution in 250 years. The U.S. ranks 18th in the recycling race globally among OECD countries, with $11.2 billion in recyclables sent to landfills annually.

“Our hope is that this project can provide a blueprint for companies and communities to successfully recycle and reuse materials that will drive positive economic, environmental, and social outcomes,” said Jennifer Gerholdt, senior director of the environment program for the U.S. Chamber Foundation’s Corporate Citizenship Center. “Together, we can achieve a circular economy by putting more recovered valuable material back into global supply chains.”

More information on “Beyond 34: Recycling and Recovery for A New Economy,” is available here.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is dedicated to strengthening America’s long-term competitiveness. We educate the public on the conditions necessary for business and communities to thrive, how business positively impacts communities, and emerging issues and creative solutions that will shape the future.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.