Innovative Waste Reduction Efforts

Today, Portland recycles nearly 60 percent of its total waste, while the U.S. as a whole recycles just 34 percent and the European Union, 39 percent. Landfill waste pounds per person, per day are just 3.65, whereas in the U.S. as a whole, it's 4.38.

Portland’s waste reduction efforts cannot be pinned on one site. In 2006, the City Council passed a resolution directing city staff to prepare a solid waste management plan. The Portland Recycles! plan was passed in 2007, and included ambitious goals and recommendations to reduce waste for both residential and commercial sectors. These include increasing the citywide recycling rate to 75 percent by 2015, achieving zero growth in the waste stream, and making the waste management system as a whole more sustainable. The plan also requires mandatory paper and container recycling for all businesses and 75 percent recycling of construction and demolition debris for construction and deconstruction projects.

Examples here highlight a few of the programs, non-profit groups, and sites providing innovative solutions to reduce waste. You can visit the ReBuilding Center or Oregon Zoo to see for yourself. The St. John's Prairie will be open to the public in 2016.

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