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The City of Portland, Oregon

Sustainability at Work

Providing free tools and expertise to achieve your goals

Phone: 503-823-7037


Highlights from regional green business gathering

Businesses from around the Portland metro area gathered to discuss workplace sustainability challenges and successes on February 27, 2019.

Tables filled with attendees listening to speakers

Business highlights

Widmer straws upon request signWidmer Brothers Brewing shared their success in reducing plastic straws:

  • First business to #DitchtheStraw with Surfrider’s Portland Chapter.
  • Avoided using 1,883 straws in the first month.
  • Saved money by using less straws.
  • Supported the city-wide ordinance to reduce single-use plastics.

Crave Catering explained the many ways they prevent food waste:

  • Staff consistently monitor food use to minimize waste.
  • Around 200 pounds of food are donated to Union Gospel Mission per week.
  • Vegetable scraps become chicken feed and meat scraps are commercially composted.

Laughing Planet shared how small changes have reduced waste and cut costs:

  • Serving dine-in burritos without foil ("naked burritos") has saved 4,900 feet of foil.
  • Improving recycling cut their trash by two bags a day.
  • Turning off lights at night led to substantial utility bill savings.

Attendees talking with one anotherDelta AV and The Partner's Group offered tips for workplace sustainability efforts:

  • Show how sustainability can save costs and attract customers.
  • Be vocal about your interest in sustainability and inspire others in your organization to follow their passion.
  • Start small and get help from local green business programs.
  • Connect with other green businesses to get ideas and inspiration.

Attendees share good ideas

We asked attendees to share the best ideas they'd heard in conversations throughout the event, and here's what they shared:

  • Collecting deposit bottles for donation can motivate staff to recycle.
  • Refocus a green team's efforts by asking staff for their ideas, and then having them lead a project team. 
  • A business located near Fred Meyer discovered they could bring their plastic pallet wrap to the store to be taken turned into composite decking by local manufacturer, Trex.
  • Spin Laundry Lounge pairs up left-behind socks to donate to shelters in Portland.

Behind-the-scenes tour

The Oregon Convention Center has many award-winning sustainability efforts including:

  • 6,500 solar panels, providing 25% of the facility's energy needs.
  • Rain gardens that filter water from 5.5 acres of roof area.
  • Advanced recycling and reuse sorting systems.

Rain garden at Oregon Convention Center
Water (frozen at the time of photo!) flows into one of Oregon Convention Center's large rain gardens.

Recycling sign with attached examples of recyclable items 
Recycling signs show examples of items that can go in recycling.

Learn more

Read more about the event in an article from the Gresham Outlook.

Get help with your workplace sustainability efforts: Contact us at 503-823-7037 or