BEST Business Center

Businesses for an Environmentally Sustainable Tomorrow

Guiding Portland's small businesses toward a profitable green future.

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Over 75 percent of Portland’s waste comes from businesses, and much of what ends up in the trash could be recycled.  In fact, 20 tons of recyclable paper is thrown away every half hour by businesses in the Portland metropolitan area.  Not only is this a waste of valuable resources, garbage sent to landfills is a significant source of greenhouse house emissions.

Electronic Recycling

  • Basel Action Network: e-Stewards Program

    Electronic devices contain toxic metals such as mercury, lead or cadmium. If sent to the dump these chemicals leach into the environment, polluting soil and groundwater. However, much of the US’s electronic waste is shipped overseas, where products may be recycled using unsafe methods and hazardous chemicals.  The Seattle-based nonprofit Basel Action Network has created an e-Stewards program, where recyclers pledge not to export, dump or use prison labor to deconstruct electronics. Find out more about the pledge and find recyclers who have signed it in the Pacific Northwest.

    www.e-stewards.org

  • Free Geek

    Free Geek is a nonprofit organization in Portland that recycles and refurbishes consumer electronics such as computers, printers, faxes, stereos, telephones, VCRs, and DVD players.  In the four years since its formation, Free Geek has recycled over 360 tons of electronic scrap and refurbished over 3,000 computer systems that are now used by individuals and organizations in the community.

    www.freegeek.org

  • Oregon E-Cycles

    Oregon E-Cycles is a new statewide program that provides free electronics recycling in Oregon.  Businesses and residents can bring up to seven computers (desktops or laptops), monitors and TVs to participating Oregon E-Cycles collectors for free recycling.  Note that the program does NOT provide free recycling of keyboards, mice, speakers, printers, scanners or other types of electronics or appliances.

    www.oregonecycles.org

Recycling and Composting

  • Metro: Find a Recycler

    Metro maintains a comprehensive directory of options for recycling unwanted items and materials.  Use the Recycler Locator Tool to search for companies that accept appliances, plastics, fryer oil, light bulbs, batteries and many other materials and products that typically end up in our landfills.  Or use the Recycler Directories to find businesses and charitable organizations in the Portland metro area that accept materials for recycling or reuse.

    www.oregonmetro.gov/findrecycler

  • Portland Composts!

    Businesses in the City of Portland can now contract with waste haulers to collect food waste and food-soiled paper for composting.  The Portland Composts program provides free technical assistance, training for your employees, marketing materials and more.

    www.portlandonline.com/bps/portlandcomposts

  • Recycle at Work

    The City of Portland’s Recycle at Work program can help you design a recycling system that best fits your business and your chosen recycling company. The program can provide free technical assistance from a recycling specialist, signs, recycling boxes, and a recognition program for going above and beyond.

    www.recycleatwork.com/portland

Recycling Bins – Bike Pannier-Style!

Jon Mehlschau, a Portland architect with SRG Partnership, has been working with the BEST Business Center to achieve designation for SRG as a Climate Champion. Along the way, employees in the company have made many changes to improve their office’s sustainability practices, including finding a way to recycle plastics and other items that cannot be included in their mixed recycling. 

One of their creative solutions was to permanently attach bicycle pannier hardware to two of their kitchen recycling bins. They use these bins to collect rigid plastics such as clamshell containers and plastic bags. When the bins are full, they simply attach them to a company-supplied bike and then ride the recyclables over to a Far West Fibers recycling center in Northwest Portland. Here are several photos of Travis Bell, also an architect at SRG Partnership, collecting the bins and cycling them a little under 1½ miles over to the recycling center and then back again.