Beyond 34, a project by the U.S. Chamber Foundation, aims to increase the current 34% recycling rate in the U.S. by providing a collaborative, scalable model through private-public partnerships. Locally, it will involve the city of Cincinnati, Hamilton County and the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber.
“Cincinnati rose to the top after our analysis of several U.S. cities using criteria important to successful recycling programs such as local policies, recycling education, and data collection,” Marc DeCourcey, senior vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, said in a news release about the program.
The U.S. recycling rate has stalled at around 34% for the past decade. The U.S. Chamber Foundation notes that some of the challenges to increasing that rate include the education and motivation of consumers to recycle correctly; the cost and time required to modernize and build new recycling and sorting infrastructure; and the lack of consistently strong markets for certain materials.
Cincinnati has already committed to a goal of achieving zero waste by 2035 as part of its Green Cincinnati Plan. “For more than 25 years, Cincinnati residents have diverted more than 350,000 tons of material from the waste stream,” Mayor John Cranley said in a statement “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 nontraditional 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.”