FOOD SCRAP RECYCLING COMING TO YOUR CURBSIDE
How much of your garbage is composed of food scraps? According to analysis in the Portland Recycles! Plan the average Portland household disposes of 1,326 pounds of garbage per year of which 75% could be recycled or composted instead of winding up as landfill. We can reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions produced by our garbage by approximately one ton for each ton of food scraps diverted from landfill.
This week on Locus Focus we learn about what Portland is doing to change our garbage habits? We talk with Bruce Walker, the Solid Waste & Recycling Program Manager for the City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, and master recyler Heather Hawkins about the city's new pilot curbside food scrap collection program in four neighborhoods across Portland. For the next year, selected households will put food scraps along with yard debris into the green Portland Composts! roll cart, which will be collected every week. With the addition of weekly food scrap collection, the City will also test every-other-week garbage service to encourage participation in the food scrap collection program and to maintain the efficiency of the garbage and recycling collection system. Hopefully at the end of the year, Portland will join other major West Coast cities such as Seattle and San Francisco that have been offering successful city-wide residential curbside collection of food scraps for several years.
Bruce Walker is the Solid Waste & Recycling Program Manager for the City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS). BPS promotes integrated land use planning and development based on sustainability principles and practices. BPS also develops and implements policies and programs that provide environmental, economic and social benefits to residents, businesses and government, which strengthen Portland's position as an international model of sustainable practices and commerce. Portland has been nationally recognized for its residential and commercial recycling programs and the resulting 67 percent recycling rate. Bruce has worked in the recycling field longer than he wants to admit but prior to joining the City of Portland’s staff in 1987, he worked for a non-profit community recycling depot, a small local government and a recycling consulting firm. Bruce is a former Chair of the Association of Oregon Recyclers, former National Recycling Coalition Board Member and currently serves on the State of Oregon Product Stewardship Stakeholder Group.
After completing the Master Recycler course offered through Portland's regional government, Heather Hawkins helped launch EnviroMom and formed GreenGroup -- a group of moms who meet monthly and exchange ideas on green living with children. They are not experts -- not by a long shot -- but they are trying to raise their kids to care about the environment and manage healthy households. Heather grew up in Minnesota and Indiana, and then hightailed it Portland after graduating from the Indiana University School of Journalism in 1992. After a career in orchestra management and public relations, she left the workforce in 2004 to raise her two kids. Aside from blogging and environmental pursuits, Heather enjoys good fiction, winning at Scrabble, red wine, Jon Stewart and date nights with her husband, David. She dreams of raising goats and making cheese.