The Portland Initiative: Conservation as a LifestyleJuly 8, 2012 No Comments
Last fall, the city of Portland, Oregon instated a city-wide initiative that involved decreasing the frequency of trash pick-up from once a week to once every two weeks. On the other hand, compostable waste pick-up was increased to once a week! As a result, in the first quarter of 2012, Portland saw a 44% decrease in the amount of trash sent to the landfill—an astonishing accomplishment.
Imagine if our entire nation undertook such an endeavor and decreased the amount of garbage thrown away by 44%! Of course, there would be resistors who would raise concerns such as public health, and others who simply refuse to change their lifestyle (we are a democracy, after all); but even if just half of the nation was willing to follow Portland’s lead, there would be 50.6 million tons less waste going to our landfills this year.
Who knows when such a change would finally find its way into federal policies, but that doesn’t mean we have to wait until then. You can make your business or office more eco-friendly by implementing your own “Portland Initiative”. In place of the regular garbage can in the employee lounge, leave a 3 gallon one. In addition, add a much larger (at least double the size) recycling bin next to it. This will encourage employees to recycle more, especially as the smaller one fills up!
I hope that our nation and its citizens will quickly understand the importance of conserving and recycling, and be willing to accept policies such as the one in Portland, even if it means a drastic lifestyle change. In many countries, such as Japan and Korea, recycling and conservation is not an option—it’s required! Let us adopt sustainability into our lifestyle, may it be at home or at work.
Can you think of other ways to encourage your employees to recycle more?
Written by: Anna Han
Carbon Footprint, Eco Office, Everything Environmental, Leafy Tips, Recycle Me