Toward Zero Waste

“Zero Waste” might sound quite ambitious for small business owners. It can be hard enough getting the garbage out on time, let alone recycling or even food waste.

But plenty of businesses have proven that slashing waste production by 50, 60, 70% is total doable. They are truly on their way to a “zero waste” operation. It often starts with purchasing decisions: buying products that come with less packaging, signing up for paperless banking, purchasing in bulk, etc.

In the future, GO! hopes to have a comprehensive Zero Waste program by partnering with local government agencies, waste haulers and composting facilities. For now, we’ll steer you to some helpful LOCAL resources who can help you get started on your journey toward a Zero Waste operation.

Tri-County Hazardous Waste & Recycling: This program provides hazardous waste disposal and recycling education & outreach to households, businesses and farmers of our Tri-County area. Their Master Recyclers Program, offered in partnership with Oregon State Extension, is a great place to start your Zero Waste journey.

E-Waste Recycling: In Oregon and Washington, it is illegal to dispose of computers, monitors and TVs at disposal sites such as landfills, transfer stations and incinerators. Gorge residents can drop off these items for FREE at the following locations:

-Hood River Recycling and Transfer Station, 3440 Guignard Dr., (541) 386-2272, Mon-Fri 9 am – 5 pm
-The Dalles Recycling and Transfer Station, 1317 W 1st St., (541) 298-5149, Mon-Fri 9 am – 5 pm
-Sherman County Transfer Station, Welk Road above Biggs Junction, 2nd & 4th Saturdays, 12 pm – 4pm
-Stevenson Transfer Station, 1332 Ryan Allen Rd., (509) 427-3926, Thurs-Sun., 8 am – 5 pm
-Underwood Transfer Station, 1402 Little Buck Creek Rd., (509) 493-3313, Saturday, 8 am – 5 pm
-Mt. Pleasant Transfer Station, 1111 Mt. Pleasant Rd., (36) -837-3329, Fri.-Sun., 8 am – 5 pm

Hazardous Waste Recycling: In many parts of the country, there is a fee associated with small business and household hazardous waste disposal. In Hood River, Sherman and Wasco Counties, it’s free during monthly collection events in Hood River and The Dalles. Tri-County Hazardous Waste has an online schedule of collection events.

Westside Elementary School e-recycling: The Student Council is collecting cell phones, ink jet conferences, digital cameras, digital video cameras, laptops, GPS devices, radar detectors and Kindle and Sony book readers. The group receives more money for items that are in working order. Funds are used to help support Girls Circle/Boys Circle group needs. Email Karen Meyers for more info.

Dirt Hugger: This new regional composting company collects, processes, and utilizes valuable organic nutrients locally. Dirt Hugger offers an environmentally responsible waste management alternative for residents and businesses in the local Columbia Gorge community.

Metro’s Recycle at Work program: While this program is open to Portland businesses only, their homepage offers a wealth of information about how to get started with an office-wide recycling program.

Green Meeting Industry Council: This national organization is actually based in Beaverton, Oregon. It is focused on advancing sustainability in the meetings industry.

10 Steps to Start Recycling: A guide from Massachusetts’ WasteCap program outlines 10 important steps to think about before beginning a new recycling program in a business office.

Thanks to support from Tri-County Hazardous Waste & Recycling, joeboard recently unveiled a new Biz Materials section on its community bulletin board. You know the old saying, one man’s waste is another man’s treasure? We know that’s often the case. The Biz Materials section helps facilitate those connections, helping businesses save money on waste disposal and procurement costs.  For a limited time only, members of the Gorge Owned Business Network, can receive a FREE joe pass to gain access to ALL of joeboard, including the Biz Materials section. Email joeboard to get your pass!