I spent all day Thursday learning about sustainability here in Portland. There were so many interesting things (tour of the airport, a panel of experts including the owners of HotLips and the Rebuilding Center, local government people); great topics for future posts.
One of the most interesting things I learned was that very soon the curbside recycling program in Portland is going to kick up a notch. This is called the "Portland Recycles! Plan" From my perspective, the recycling options in Portland are already pretty amazing....but they are about to take things to a new level. I think the changes will start this summer, just in time for green BabyF.
The goal is to minimize actual trash by increasing the recycle options for various household things. We already recycle paper, plastic and glass - this will continue (although they are increasing the types of plastic they will take and there will be a few other positive changes). We already dispose of yard debris separate from trash, this will continue but I think it may increase to weekly instead of every other week. And also, they are going to add a service to pick up compost-able waste (food, etc.) every week. With these changes, they will only haul garbage every other week - which should be just fine since none of us should have much actual garbage anymore after we recycle and compost everything.
The changes will be rolled out by neighborhood along with education and new bins (no more yellow bins). They expect these changes will increase curbside recycling by 33%!
There are 4 main goals for the changes:
1. Zero growth in the waste stream.
2. Increase recycling rate to 75 percent by 2015.
3. Make the whole system more sustainable: safer for garbage haulers and neighborhoods.
4. Reduce toxics and greenhouse gases.
The office of sustainable development website does a much better (probably more accurate) job articulating all of these coming changes than I am doing so check it out!
What an amazing city. Go Portland. This is why I am here!