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BPS News: Public Place Recycling Starts in Downtown Portland

Jocelyn Boudreaux
Bureau of Planning & Sustainability

April 13, 2011


Public place recycling starts in downtown Portland

New downtown recycling containers reduce waste and help citizens make sustainable choices on the go

Portland, Ore. --  Today, the City of Portland unveiled Public Place Recycling, making recycling a simple and easy option for downtown commuters, residents, and visitors. In this first phase of a multi-year project, the City is installing 175 recycling containers on the downtown Portland transit mall. One recycling container will be installed next to each garbage can along Fifth and Sixth Avenues, between Northwest Irving and Southwest Jackson Streets. As part of the Portland Recycles! Plan adopted by City Council in 2007, Public Place Recycling aims to reduce the amount of waste in public garbage cans, while bringing sustainable options to public spaces.

“Public Place Recycling is an important step toward our goal of increasing our city-wide recycling rate to 75 percent by 2015,” said Mayor Sam Adams. “Installing these new recycling containers next to garbage cans along the transit mall will make it easy and convenient to recycle downtown.”

With recyclable materials making up approximately 30 percent of the waste collected from downtown public garbage cans, the recycling containers have the potential to divert nearly a third of the downtown public waste from the landfill. The recycling containers will be paired with and match existing garbage cans and each will have separate areas for newspapers and magazines, plastic bottles, metal cans and glass bottles. Non-recyclable items include coffee cups, cold beverage cups, food wrappers and food packaging.

"Bringing the City's recycling efforts to the Portland transit mall will be a great way to blend the City's sustainable priorities into this important public area,” said Bob Hastings, Agency Architect, Tri-Met. “Designed for function and aesthetics, these recycling containers will encourage the public to recycle, while enhancing the usability of the transit mall."

The City of Portland selected the downtown transit mall for the launch of Public Place Recycling because it is a thriving center of activity and a nationally recognized successful transit center. Partners in the project include the Portland Bureau of Transportation, TriMet and Portland Mall Management, Inc. Once installation of the recycling containers is completed this spring, data will be collected to help ensure that the project is as successful as possible when it eventually expands to other parts of the city.

Watch a new 1-minute promotional video about the recycling containers.

About the City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability

To create and enhance a vibrant city, BPS combines the disciplines of planning and sustainability to advance Portland’s diverse and distinct neighborhoods, promote a prosperous and low-carbon economy, and help ensure that people and the natural environment are healthy and integrated into the cityscape. BPS provides a forum for community engagement and education, and is a catalyst for action. With a city full of partners, BPS develops creative and practical solutions on issues as far ranging as comprehensive, neighborhood and environmental planning, urban design, waste reduction and recycling, energy efficiency and solar technologies. This innovative, interdisciplinary approach strengthens Portland’s position as an international model of sustainable development practices and commerce.