- The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation (USCCF) is partnering with Resource Recycling Systems (RRS), Walmart Foundation, Target, Walgreens and Republic Services on a "circular economy pilot" project, as reported by Environmental Leader.
- RRS is leading the scoping phase, which includes selecting a U.S. city to conduct the pilot and deciding which high-value materials to focus on. Details will be announced at the USCCF's 2016 Corporate Citizenship Conference next week.
- The USCCF will also be releasing a free online circular economy toolbox in early 2017, in partnership with the Retail Industry Leaders Association and The Sustainability Consortium, to assist corporations.
The USCCF has been working on circular economy projects for multiple years, including a recent report on the potential for companies to save money by more closely managing their waste streams. At a forum hosted by the foundation this spring the $4.5 trillion in potential benefits from moving toward a closed loop system were discussed and opportunities for all types of businesses were highlighted.
Research by Nielsen has found that consumers are increasingly drawn to companies that are talking about these ideas and major retailers are taking note. Wal-Mart has made commitments to use standardized recycling labels and improve packaging design, Target recently joined The Recycling Partnership, and Adidas will be making sneakers out of recycled ocean plastic.
Though as recently discussed by TerraCycle's CEO, increased recycling alone won't solve the problem. Reducing consumption, increasing the durability of products and changing sourcing practices are the only way to truly create a circular economy system. While the concept has become a popular topic of discussion for environmental advocates, government officials and corporations alike it will require a more fundamental shift to actually make it happen.