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There’s no shortage of stories these days about “banning the bag” and the three R’s: reduce, reuse, recycle. The City of Portland and State of Oregon are even stepping up their positions on the subject by looking at eliminating plastic bags and levying a nickel fee for other bags at large grocery and other stores.
Changes can often be a challenge to adjust to, but PCRI is working hard to practice what we preach. In fact, this past spring, PCRI received a grant from the Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) to implement a reuse and recycling initiative at our office and community centers.
While we’re always working to do a better job at recycling at our office, our primary use for the BPS Paper and Plastic Challenge grant is to purchase new dishes and utensils for our main office as well as our community centers (Did you see? Our community center info is now on our website!).
Our goal with the new dishes is to significantly reduce our use of disposable paper and plastic plates, utensils and cups. The paper plates and cups are easy, but giving them up is not only good for the earth and keeps junk out of the landfill, it’s also good for our budget since we’ll no longer need to purchase these items over and over (check out our post with other money-saving reuse ideas).
Today, we kick off our reuse challenge with a goal of eliminating our use of all paper cups and plates. Here are a few facts about paper that might help you kick off a challenge of your own:
Each time paper is recycled, the fiber length decreases–which impacts its strength. It’s estimated that paper has approximately seven generations (meaning it can be recycled up to seven times).
57.4% of the paper consumed in the US was recovered for recycling in 2008. This means nearly half of our paper waste ends up in the landfill (boo!).
But … every ton of paper recycled saves more than 3.3 cubic yards of landfill space (hey, it’s got to go somewhere!).
In the coming weeks, we’ll be highlighting some of the other ways we’re working to reduce our waste (and save money!). Stop back and check it out … or keep up with us on our Facebook page for other tips!