The RA can inspire change by providing news on policy, waste management, design, and community awareness.
The Drop Box Brigade is a program to help citizen’s awareness in their own communities by snapping photos of construction dumpsters or drop boxes in their neighborhoods. By posting pictures of drop boxes on The RA website people can see the materials that are being wasted or diverted from their own neighborhoods. Photographing waste has been adopted world wide as a strategy to bring awareness to pollution, poverty, and crime. It is an effective tool for change. This is one of the many ways that the citizens of Portland can support the City of Portland’s jobsite recycling requirements.
To join the Drop Box Brigade:
- Snap a photo of the inside of a construction dumpster near you and send it to ReclamationNews@gmail.com
- Put DBB in the subject line and your handle if you want (ex: DDB GutterCherry SE Pdx)
- You can add the neighborhood or cross streets, but for respect and privacy reasons – no actual addresses please.
Be aware that climbing into, or on a dumpster is dangerous and against the law. Please be respectful of property and property owners. If you desire an item that is being thrown away, just ask for it. In many cases people are happy to lighten the load of those drop boxes as the dump fees are based on weight, and lightening the load is in their best interest.
About 40% of the average landfill is made up of construction and demolition waste. A waste composition study done by Metro (the regional government for the Portland metropolitan area), in 1994, determined that nearly 26% of the region’s disposed waste is generated by construction (including remodeling) and demolition debris (C&D) from structures such as residential and commercial buildings and roadways – approximately 256,000 tons out of a total of about 1,000,000 tons. Much of this waste is easily reused or recycled, so it makes sense to target it for waste reduction and recycling (ODEQ http://www.deq.state.or.us/lq/sw/twopercent/demolitiondebris.htm).
The City of Portland, Metro Regional Government, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, nonprofit organizations and private businesses are trying to reduce the amount of C&D waste that is generated. The City of Portland’s Bureau of Planning and Sustainability has developed guidelines for all building projects within the City where the total job cost (including both demolition and construction phases) exceeds $50,000, the general contractor shall ensure that 75% of the solid waste produced on the job site is recycled. In addition, the following materials must be recycled and diverted from the landfill: Rubble (concrete/asphalt), Land Clearing Debris, Corrugated Cardboard, Metal, and Wood. The general contractor is responsible for ensuring recycling at the job site, including recycling by sub-contractors, and for completing a Pre-Construction Recycling Plan Form. Where no general contractor has been named on the permit application, the property owner is considered the responsible party (http://www.portlandonline.com/bps/index.cfm?c=41683).
Unfortunately, due to the scope of the construction industry, oversight is difficult and compliance is somewhat honor based. Education on the recycling mandates, followed by community interest in neighborhood construction projects can help steward the laws into practice. Showing interest in local contractors Construction Recycling Plans, and even asking to see them demonstrates awareness and investment in the sustainability of our city.
If you suspect or would like to report an issue on construction waste please call:
The City of City of Portland, Solid Waste & Recycling Division at 503-823-7202.
Thanks in advance for your interest in the RA. Even if you don’t join the Drop Box Brigade we appreciate your interest.
The Reclamation Administration welcomes news, ideas, projects and volunteers. Worldwide communities are on the forefront of necessary and creative reuse. Artists, environmentalist, builders, craftsmen, families, reuse organizations and anyone who is interested in keeping reusable or recyclable materials out of the waste stream can contribute. If you are interested in contributing information, projects, news, or ideas, please email ReclamationNews@gmail.com.