US Chamber Foundation selects Orlando, Florida, for regional recycling project

US Chamber Foundation selects Orlando, Florida, for regional recycling project

Beyond 34: Recycling and Recovery for A New Economy is designed to foster sustainable economic development in businesses and communities.

September 27, 2017

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and its partners have announced that the city of Orlando, Florida, will serve as the location for its multistakeholder pilot project, Beyond 34: Recycling and Recovery for A New Economy.

The project aims to increase the current 34 percent 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, says the foundation.

“Orlando is an ideal city to begin the Beyond 34 project,” says Marc DeCourcey, senior vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. “Its strong private sector engagement, innovative culture and robust sustainability goals were all factors that contributed to its selection. We look forward to engaging with local leaders throughout the project, and we are confident that Beyond 34 will help support the Orlando area’s mission to advance sustainability and economic growth.”

Factors contributing to the selection of the city of Orlando as the pilot city location included its high degree of readiness for recycling and reuse system development, community engagement, project partners and key relationships, according to the foundation.

“Orlando is committed to reducing our environmental impact, and as a result we have a goal to become a zero waste community by 2040,” says 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.”

The project will be implemented as a private-public partnership between the U.S. Chamber Foundation; sustainability and recycling consultancy RRS (Resource Recycling Systems), headquartered in Ann Arbor, Michigan; 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 also will identify greater economic reuse opportunities material generated in from commercial, industrial and residential sources.

“As the fastest growing region in the country, Orlando has a unique opportunity to show the world how large-scale sustainable growth can be achieved,” says Jim Thomas, executive director of the Orlando Regional Chamber of Commerce. “Orlando is already paving the way in sustainability initiatives on a number of fronts including infrastructure, neighborhoods, recreation, transportation and energy. Business and community leaders here are committed to planning for a sustainable future; we are excited to support the Beyond 34 project in order to equip these business leaders with the tools and resources they need to achieve their sustainability goals.”

The project is made possible through support from the Dow Chemical Co., Republic Services, Target, Walgreens Boots Alliance and the Walmart Foundation. More information on Beyond 34: Recycling and Recovery for A New Economy is available here.