What will our garbage and recycling system look like in 2030?

On December 7th, RA President Brion Hurley participated in the 2030 Regional Waste Plan, hosted by Metro. Metro is currently drafting the vision and goals for the garbage and recycling system in the year 2030, and is trying to get as many participants as possible. Attendees included other nonprofits, government agencies, waste management companies, city/county representatives, and some business representatives.

According to the Metro website, the 2030 plan will include:

  • A vision for reducing the overall impacts of goods consumed in the region – not just the disposal of those goods but also the production of them
  • Policies to help ensure equity in the system, including access to services
  • Goals for achieving what residents want from the system by 2030
  • A plan that identifies actions to accomplish those goals, and ways to measure progress.

We met at the Oregon Convention Center for 2 hours, to provide our input on 9 areas of work:

  • Healthier Products
  • Education and Information
  • Company Responsibility
  • Quality Service
  • Reduce, Reuse and Repair
  • Safe, Clean Operations
  • Good Jobs
  • Local Economy
  • Preparedness and Resilience

The meeting was kicked off with an overview of some insight into customer feedback and complaints that Metro has received, which are the basis for these 9 areas. The timeline was also reviewed for the longer plan. This event was part of Phase 2, Vision and Goal Setting (see image below).

Based on our specific interests, we participated in 2 short brainstorming sessions on two different areas, in order to review the future desired outcome statements, and provide helpful feedback. Each table was facilitated by someone at Metro.

The questions we had to answer were:

  • Do we want to modify/adjust the statements?
  • Do we like the future outcomes?
  • Are they missing something or needs adding?

We put post-it notes next to the statements that we wanted to revise or change. The Metro team will take these suggestions and make updates to the statements.

One of the exciting concepts we discussed was the idea of a “one-stop shop” place (maybe a transfer station) to take your trash and recycling, and have a person look at your items, and suggest one of the following options:

  1. Get it repaired on-site
  2. Donate it to nonprofits who are interested in the material, collection on-site
  3. Recycle it on-site, including break down into recyclable pieces or re-purpose if others are interested
  4. Compost, collection on-site, later taken to compost facility
  5. Landfill, if no other options

You can learn more about the larger project at: https://www.oregonmetro.gov/public-projects/future-garbage-and-recycling