Recycling, more or less: Metro touts reuse pilot
By Andy Giegerich
Sustainable Business Oregon editor
Metro hopes to encourage reuse of more types of materials, including, when possible, electronic goods.
Portland's regional government agency has launched a pilot program to boost recycling and encourage better reuse behavior.
The “Recycle more. Recycle less.” campaign will initially target residents in Southeast Portland and Gresham. The campaign hopes to build on the region's already-stout recycling rates by encouraging more reuse of items.
"We're in the process of shifting from what we call a traditional waste management perspective to a more holistic way of looking at all impacts in the product cycle," explained Andy Sloop, Metro's resource conservation and recycling manager. "We refer to that as 'materials management.' When you look at that, you want to go upstream in the product's life cycle."
Businesses are participating in the program through providing discounts on rechargeable batteries, among other means. Batteries Plus Bulbs in Gresham and Hankins Hardware True Value in the Buckman neighborhood have each offered coupons on Metro's website.
Sloop said businesses can also participate by embracing the fledgling shared economy.
"You have businesses like Car2Go along with repair cafes and tool libraries," he said. "When you reuse, you're avoiding the manufacturing of a new product and all the resources that go into that, which may or may not be renewable. Plus, there's associated pollution associated with refining raw materials."
Metro is spending about $110,000 to test the program.
Sloop said the pilot ties into efforts espoused by such companies as Bettery, which is setting up rechargeable battery exchange kiosks at Whole Foods and, soon, other retailers.
Metro will explore whether to roll out the program elsewhere after analyzing how well Greshamites and Southeast Portlanders take to it.
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