Monday, January 10, 2011

Portland Recycling Challenge

Love the laminated color copies inside each lid—very helpful, especially for guests. (Photo from LivingEtc)

This weekend, as I was reading one of Portland's awesome community papers, the SE Examiner, I was inspired by the families who completed the "One-Can-a-Month Recycling Challenge" program. These families switched from weekly to monthly (!) garbage service. Only 15 households participated, but in 6 months, they managed to keep a total of 7,836 gallons of trash out of the landfill. The average waste reduction per family was 76%. Amazing!

A confession: since the economy crashed and our local Master Recycler programs disappeared (Master Recyclers allowed you to recycle almost anything, from plastic hangers to lawn chairs, for free, once every couple of months), I'd stopped collecting non-curbside-recyclable plastics in crazy, messy, overflowing bins on my porch. But now my commitment has been renewed! I've set up two new bins on my porch, one for plastic bags (and bubble wrap and clean shrink wrap) and another for clamshell containers, plastic lids and caps, CDs and jewel cases. Turns out you can drop the bags by any Far West Fibers location—and there are a bunch—and drop them off for free. For a complete list of what can be recycled in Portland and the surrounding areas, click here.

I also have to add that most of these plastics can also be recycled locally at New Seasons stores. (A list of what New Seasons accepts is here.) This is a pretty fantastic service (among others) that New Seasons provides. If you're like me and there 4 times a week anyway to shop, recycling really doesn't get any easier. (Full disclosure: Plover is a very proud table top vendor at New Seasons now!)

So there's my recycling pep talk for the new year. I'm in the process of trying to sign my own family up for the "One-Can-a-Month" program, and when I do, I'll keep you posted.

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