Portland, OR—Local businesses are lining up to support changing Oregon’s recycling system so it works better for communities and the environment.
New Seasons Market, Bob’s Red Mill, Rogue Creamery, the knife-maker Gerber and Mahonia Vineyards and Nursery are among those backing Senate Bill 582, also known as the Recycling Modernization Act.
Under the bill, which is moving forward in the Oregon Legislature, companies that make packaging, paper products and food serviceware would help pay for recycling programs and support their success. The legislation has received strong support from environmental advocacy groups, local governments and the recycling industry throughout the 2021 legislative session.
“New Seasons Market has a steadfast commitment to waste reduction. While we continue to lead with transparent and sustainable business practices, we recognize we cannot drive change alone,” said Nancy Lebold, Chief Executive Officer of the Oregon-based grocery chain. “A modernized statewide recycling program could bring greater benefits to all Oregonians. We partner with an extensive network of regional food producers, and we are committed to advancing the economic vitality and sustainable business practices of our many vendor partners throughout the state. As a producer, New Seasons Market supports SB 582and the environmental and social benefits it promises to create.”
Bob’s Red Mill, the Milwaukie-based whole-grain foods company, supports SB 582 for the clarity it will provide to companies that want to improve their packaging and recycling efforts. “At Bob’s Red Mill, we value nourishing a healthy planet. We support SB 582 because it will create solutions to urgent issues in our recycling system while also providing brands like ours with clearer direction on how to do right by the environment,” said Julia Person, Sustainability Manager for Bob’s Red Mill. “We are working to solve the problem of plastic pollution, but we cannot do it alone,” Person said.
Following several years of economic challenges, uncertainty about where our recyclables go and increasing local costs, Oregon’s recycling system is in a bit of a crisis. In 2018, Oregon DEQ convened a group of recycling system stakeholders – including local governments, recycling industry businesses and other experts – to study these issues and propose a solution.
“I am so encouraged by companies that recognize the urgent need for their involvement now, and ongoing partnership into the future, to address the complex challenges our recycling system faces,” said DEQ Director Richard Whitman. “Recycling, when done well, can protect the environment, human health and our communities. We need producers to share responsibility with governments, ratepayers and the recycling industry in order to make sure recycling programs across the state operate responsibly and deliver the real environmental benefits we know are possible.”
Producer responsibility is not new in Oregon or elsewhere. Oregon has several successful producer responsibility programs, including for architectural paint, electronics and beverage containers. Similar programs for packaging have existed in many Canadian provinces, European countries and other nations for decades.
Senate Bill 582 is the result of nearly three years of work with a broad range of groups, including cities, counties, recycling companies, environmental organizations and producers. SB 582 would overhaul Oregon’s outdated recycling system by building on local community programs and leveraging the resources of producers to create a “shared responsibility” system that works for everyone in the state. Producers of packaging, paper products and food serviceware will fund necessary upgrades and perform specific functions that will make Oregon’s recycling programs convenient, accessible and reliable. Local governments will maintain their role overseeing collection and education in their communities. More information about how SB 582 works is availableat http://ordeq.org/sb582.
Harry Esteve, Communications Manager, Oregon DEQ: 503-951-3856, firstname.lastname@example.org
Kim Rodgers, Brand Communications Manager, New Seasons Market: 848-333-9442, email@example.com