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Winter 2022

Recycling requirements for businesses

Businesses in the region are required to recycle paper, cardboard and containers (metal cans, plastic bottles, round containers, and glass bottles and jars). These requirements apply to businesses, schools, public agencies, nonprofit organizations as well as property management firms with business tenants. If you're unsure about what items should go in your recycling bin or cart, use our What to Recycle and Where search tool to find out or contact us!

Contact us today!

Create a reuse space at work!

Year-end inventory is coming up, and while you may not be required to inventory all items, it can be a great way to get an idea of what types of office supplies and furniture are still in use or are considered surplus. This is where having a dedicated spot to collect and catalog these items can save you time and money. Don't buy new; REUSE!


Set up a table in a spare corner or cubicle, or dedicate a shelf in a breakroom or lunchroom where employees can contribute their gently used office supplies to the collection. They will likely find a useful item to exchange as well!

Greener office parties

For your next office gathering, making a few small changes can equal big environmental benefits. Here are some waste reduction ideas for planning your next event:

  • Use potted plants to decorate and exchange as gifts and decorate with LED lights for more energy savings!
  • Give gift card links or certificates for local businesses or experiences like museums, live music, theater, and outdoor adventures instead of gifting material items.
  • Make a donation on behalf of a colleague to their favorite non-profit organization.
  • Create cool digital party invitations and event flyers instead of print versions.
  • Use durable dishware and cloth napkins or rent from a local catering company.
  • Take it one step further and create a reusable dish and silverware kit for year-round office meetings and parties by asking staff to donate unwanted plates, coffee mugs, glassware, and silverware from home. Or purchase it used!
  • Have a vegan and vegetarian potluck challenge using only local and seasonal foods and create and share digital recipe files.
  • Make sure to share party leftovers with colleagues and compost all food scraps that can't be eaten.

There are many ways to reduce waste at office parties and gatherings. Or go virtually waste free and check out these 26 ideas for a virtual party.

Calling all food service businesses!


Did you know? A new regional food scraps mandate now requires food scraps to be separated from garbage in commercial kitchens. Restaurants, bars, grocery stores, hospitals and schools are working across the region to become composters! This is a mandatory change that will result in huge benefits for our environment - however, you might need some Insider Tips on how to adopt it in your kitchen.

We have the tools you need to navigate this change - including FREE on-site assistance, collection bins, instructional materials and staff training. Don't wait until the deadline to get set up. Check out our FAQs and contact us now. Want to see composting in action? Watch these how-to videos!


Success: zero food wasted


It's an art and science to prepare delicious food while wasting little to nothing. It takes a real kitchen master to create a menu that considers both your palate and the planet. Curious how your favorite local restaurant is becoming a greener business behind the scenes? Check out these stories and strategies that Washington County restaurateurs are using to send zero food waste to landfill.

Success stories from local businesses!

New to the Green Business Leaders team

This month we welcome Brittany Sims (she/her) to the team! Brittany is a University of Oregon alum who has spent the past decade in Southeast Asia working in hospitality, opening businesses, and leading sustainable tourism initiatives. She is a restaurant owner, entrepreneur and food waste specialist. She joins as a Green Business Food Waste Advisor to assist Washington County food businesses with the new food scraps requirement. Welcome, Brittany!

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