AOR Provides Testimony at the Senate Environment Committee
AOR Legislative Chair, Pam Peck, provided testimony at the Senate Energy and Environment Committee Hearing regarding recycling markets challenges and how local communities are responding.
Pam highlighted the work that local governments in partnership with the recycling collectors and processors in their communities have worked together in different ways to adjust local programs, including changes to the items accepted, increased rates for recycling services, work to “clean up” our recycling and reduce contamination; and lots of communication with residents and businesses to help them understand the situation and enlist their help.
She noted that market uncertainty combined with increased costs has made it too expensive to continue to include harder to recycle items such as plastic tubs, plant pots, buckets, milk cartons and aseptic containers. Lane and Marion counties, and many cities in Jackson and Josephine counties are some of the communities that have made changes to their lists. It’s important to note that the plastic items removed from local lists make up a very small percentage of the recyclable materials collected in Oregon.
Pam shared with the committee the work that local governments and haulers across the state are doing to keep their communities informed and engaged. As you know, Oregonians were pioneers in establishing recycling programs and care deeply about conserving resources. They are eager to better understand the current situation and to help, including information about how to “recycle right”, which is being broadly distributed with the help of local media outlets and social media. We’re working to raise awareness about how important it is to keep unwanted items out of recycling carts. A key message is “when in doubt throw it out.”
She also provided specific community efforts and how AOR members around the state are sharing information with each other about how these communication and feedback efforts are working.