DEQ Awards $600,000 in Grants for Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Programs in Oregon


STATEWIDE — The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality is awarding nearly $600,000 in grants to 17 organizations around the state to promote reduction, reuse and recycling of consumer materials. These annual grants, provided by DEQ’s Materials Management program, boost projects that benefit Oregon’s environment and share best practices. 

“Oregon has long had a strong recycling ethic,” said DEQ Director Richard Whitman. “But we are learning that we must do even more to fight pollution of our land, air and water. These grants matter because organizations need money to continue doing this important work.” 

One of this year’s recipients includes Rogue Valley Farm to School, which links local farms with schools primarily to address concerns about the diet and health of children, and the dwindling of small farms.

Some examples of funded projects include: 

• Preventing wasted food by purchasing freezers and other equipment for Marion Polk Food Share, investing in a farm-to-school program in Jackson County and developing a food waste curriculum for Portland Public Schools. 
• Reducing throw-away plastic utensils at Bend’s High Desert Museum and at the Rosewood Initiative in Portland. 
• Improving recycling in multifamily housing in Multnomah County, and starting a composting project in Douglas County. 

The grants help support partnerships between community-based organizations and environmental groups; and many of the projects serve economically distressed and historically underserved communities, which supports DEQ’s commitment to environmental justice. 

DEQ has awarded more than $9 million in materials management grants since 1991. The program moves the state toward its 2050 Vision for Materials Management, and plays a critical role in engaging Oregon communities in sustainable materials management practices. 

Learn more about DEQ’s Materials Management program grants, and the full list of funded projects.

2019 Recipients 

Corvallis Sustainability Coalition 
Project: No Food Left Behind 
Amount: $45,826 
Area of impact: Benton County 

No Food Left Behind in Corvallis – a project of the Waste Prevention Action Team of the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition – launched its food waste prevention program in 2018 after being awarded a prior DEQ grant. Now they will expand the Smart Strategies tools to reach the Spanish-speaking community members and local schools. Smart Strategies tools are designed to help households reduce waste at home through smart planning, shopping and meal prep. 

Marion Polk Food Share 
Project: Retail Food Recovery – Retail Agency Direct 
Amount: $31,439 
Area of impact: Marion County 

Marion Polk Food Share’s mission is to lead the fight to end hunger in Marion and Polk counties, because no one should be hungry. Grant funding will be used to build capacity for Marion Polk Food Share’s local hunger relief partners. The project will strengthen the area’s hunger relief network through training and purchase of new freezers and other equipment. 

Portland State University 
Project: Extending the Classroom to the Cafeteria to Prevent Food Waste in Portland Public Schools 
Amount: $49,157 
Area of impact: Multnomah County 

This project will fund professional development for six teachers to create and test food waste lessons aligned with Next Generation Science Standards. The food waste lessons will use the school cafeteria as a classroom and give students an opportunity to collect real data to better understand the impacts of wasted food and how it relates to policy. The project will be implemented at Portland Public Schools, which is the largest school district in Oregon and whose students come from diverse households. Portland State University will lead this project and make the final lesson plans available to other school districts. 

Rogue Valley Farm to School 
Project: Feed the Student, Save the Food: Waste Reduction at Phoenix-Talent Elementary School 
Amount: $31,125 
Area of impact: Jackson County 

Rogue Valley Farm to School links local farms with schools primarily to address concerns about the diet and health of children and the dwindling of small farms. This grant’s focus is to reduce food waste in the Phoenix-Talent Elementary school by 30% in two years, while also addressing health, nutrition and student success. The project is intended to serve as a replicable pilot for future food waste prevention efforts at other schools. 

Community Warehouse 
Project: Building Capacity for Furniture Storage & Redistribution 
Amount: $10,842 
Area of impact: Multnomah County 

Community Warehouse connects donated household goods and furnishings to neighbors in need. This funding will help Community Warehouse increase its capacity to accept more furniture, in response to increasing demand for these services. Economizing the space will also enable Community Warehouse to secure more large capacity donations from institutions such as hotels and restaurants. 

Emerging Futures Youth Network 
Project: Southern Oregon Food Solutions 
Amount: $50,000 
Area of impact: Jackson County 

Southern Oregon Food Solutions is working with their community’s momentum around climate change and local resiliency to reduce food waste in their daily activities. Emerging Futures Youth Network, a new grassroots organization, will use this funding to hire a project coordinator to create and implement a waste prevention awareness and outreach program in southern Oregon. 

High Desert Museum 
Project: Central Oregon Waste Reduction Campaign 
Amount: $36,780 
Area of impact: Deschutes County 

The High Desert Museum helps visitors appreciate the High Desert’s unique landscape, cultures, wildlife, history and arts. The museum will purchase reusable dishware and support recycling initiatives and education at several influential central Oregon attractions. Transitioning to reusable dishware will reduce waste from single-use foodservice ware at the museum, and the recycling education that will be conducted through Visit Bend, Central Oregon Visitors Association and Discover Your Forest. 

Materials Exchange Center for Community Arts (MECCA) 
Project: Teacher Resource Center Expansion Project 
Amount: $14,774 
Area of impact: Lane County 

MECCA inspires its community to re-imagine materials while breaking down the financial barriers to arts and creativity. In this project, MECCA will develop and implement a strategic marketing plan designed to build awareness in the community about their program, including their Teacher Resource Center, which provides free materials to local educators. MECCA will also partner with 15th Night, a local organization that connects youth experiencing homelessness with free resources, to rapidly respond when youth need materials for school. The project will also help MECCA increase efficiencies so they can make more reusable materials available to the community and expand the reach of their programs. 

Salem Environmental Education 
Project: Salem Cloth Project Pilot 
Amount: $15,070 
Area of impact: Marion County 

The Salem Cloth Project sells handmade products that reduce waste, and they use their proceeds to donate reusable diapers to Salem families in need. This grant will provide cloth diaper kits to 50 families with small children along with training and resources on how to use them. The project will decrease waste and reduce the financial burden on families so they can thrive. 

DEQ grant awards
One of the grantees, Adelante Mujeres in Washington County, provides empowerment opportunities to low income Latina women and their families.

Sustainable Northwest 
Project: Juniper Roundup: New Markets for Juniper Restoration Residuals 
Amount: $64,708 
Area of impact: Wallowa County 

Juniper is an invasive species in Oregon, and this project will help Sustainable Northwest’s efforts to find markets for this native tree to restore grasslands and boost eastern Oregon’s economy. This project will increase the production, marketing and sale of juniper posts, poles, and erosion control bags filled with juniper shavings from peeling operations and mill residuals. The goals of the project are to reduce waste, increase business profitability, source and process material based on highest value, and increase industry efficiency and viability. 

The Rosewood Initiative 
Project: Rosewood is Going Green 
Amount: $9,174 
Area of impact: Multnomah County 

The Rosewood Initiative has been implementing neighbor-led strategies in Portland’s Rosewood neighborhood—one of the most diverse neighborhoods in Oregon—since 2009. The Rosewood Initiative will boost their sustainability efforts by purchasing a new dishwasher and durable dishware for their community center. 
Recycling and Composting Grants 
Recycling and composting can create significant environmental benefits. However, recycling and composting only works with the right infrastructure in place, and this year DEQ is supporting the following projects to do that. 

The Environmental Center 
Project: Recycling at Multifamily Complexes: Increasing Recovery and Decreasing Contamination 
Amount: $55,247 
Area of impact: Deschutes County 

Reducing recycling contamination is critical to the health and flow of our recycling system. This project will address a major recycling challenge—contamination in multifamily communities. The Environmental Center and Housing Works will support recycling infrastructure at four multifamily communities through pre- and post-implementation recycling bin audits. The audits will assess the level of contamination, what’s in the bin that shouldn’t be, and how much is recycled. The lessons learned from this project will be shared with partners working on these issues. 

Trash for Peace 
Project: Sustainability Education 2.0 
Amount: $64,690 
Area of impact: Multnomah County 

Trash for Peace builds relationships with some of the most vulnerable members of our community, both unhoused and living in affordable sites. Trash for Peace will conduct waste audit training for recycling and potentially repurposed materials. This will help create a culturally responsive system to collect and track baseline waste data. 

Source One Serenity 
Project: Worm Farm Project 
Amount: $20,000 
Area of impact: Douglas County 

Source One Serenity empowers veterans to reclaim their sense of purpose through conservation work. With this grant, Source One Serenity will develop a site for a worm farm, contract with a local welder to fabricate a worm digester, and promote it for use in the Douglas County community. The goals of the project are to achieve a sustainable revenue model to fund outdoor activities and employment opportunities for disabled veterans, as well as to build composting infrastructure in an area where it is currently lacking. 

Training and Education 
Providing barrier-free education and training to local communities is essential to reach an Oregon in 2050 where people produce and use materials responsibly. Community-based organizations are trusted by local groups and industries to meet them where they are and can provide relatable examples. These innovative projects are specifically built to reach a targeted portion of the Oregon population. 

Adelante Mujeres 
Grantee: The Forest Grove Farmers Market Waste Center 
Amount: $25,000 
Area of impact: Washington County 

Adelante Mujeres provides holistic education and empowerment opportunities to low income Latina women and their families to support full participation and active leadership in the community. This project will build long-term sustainability for and increase the impact of the Waste Center at the Forest Grove Farmers Market. The goals of the project are to improve materials management education efforts in Forest Grove, create training materials to help staff, and develop a model that other farmers markets can replicate. Adelante Mujeres will partner with Washington County Solid Waste & Recycling to develop a pipeline of bilingual Master Recycler/Environmental Promoter volunteers that can assist the Waste Center and educate the community about waste reduction. 

The Center for Architecture 
Project: Bringing Life Cycle Thinking to the Oregon Design Community 
Amount: $47,267 
Area of impact: Multnomah County 

Construction materials and building energy use were responsible for approximately 30 percent of Oregon’s 2016 consumption-based greenhouse gas emissions. There is tremendous potential to reduce these emissions, and this grant will help train the Oregon building design community on the theory, practice, and tools of life cycle assessment for building design and construction. Workshop participants will receive licenses for life cycle inventory software so they can apply the practice directly to their work. 

Northwest Earth Institute 
Project: 2020 Youth Drawdown Ecochallenge 
Amount: $23,110 
Area of impact: Multnomah County 

Northwest Earth Institute will support youth efforts to reverse climate change through its online platform, This project will create a 2020 Youth Drawdown Ecochallenge focused on solutions to reverse climate change and establish regenerative resource cycles. The youth challenge will build from Northwest Earth Institute’s existing Drawdown Ecochallenge, which is based on Paul Hawken’s Project Drawdown, a comprehensive look at top solutions for reversing climate change. The platform allows participants to create teams, log daily and one-time challenges, post resources, and share experiences with the goal of supporting environmental and social change habits. 

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The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality's mission is to be a leader in restoring, maintaining and enhancing the quality of Oregon's air, land and water.

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