After operating within the framework of “take, make, dispose” for so long, can major corporations, retailers and consumers acclimate to a circular economy?
A new pilot project spearheaded by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation — and financially backed by the Walmart Foundation, Target, Republic Services and Dow — aims to find out.
The project, called “Beyond 34: Recycling and recovery for a new economy,” wants to use principles of the circular economy to eradicate waste from the stream and lift the nation’s recycling rate, which has hovered around 34 percent for several years.
The Chamber of Commerce believes circular models are good for both the environment and business. According to the chamber, shifting to a circular economy could spur $4.5 trillion in economic growth by 2030.
Starting in January, a city or region will be picked to demonstrate a scalable process for improving recycling and recovery rates. The project also hopes to provide a blueprint on how to optimize recovery of high value materials and develop ways to shift to circular models.
Resource Recycling Systems (RRS), a sustainability and recycling consultancy firm, is helping by mapping out major residential and commercial recycling streams and identifying ways they can be optimized.