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City delivers on environmental promises

Reusable shopping bags and kitchen pails to be distributed

On July 1, Forest Grove residents began combining their food waste in their yard debris bins for recycling by Waste Management.

At least that was the plan. It’s unclear how many people actually followed it.

To raise awareness and help residents understand the change, Washington County’s Solid Waste & Recycling Program staff and members of the city’s Sustainability Commission are jointly hosting a food-waste education booth at the Forest Grove Farmers Market July 6 and Aug. 2.

They’ll answer questions, explain why it’s important and detail what food waste is (and is not) accepted in the new program, said Thomas Egleston, the county’s senior waste and recycling program coordinator.

The city’s new food-waste law joins another new law banning plastic shopping bags at local stores — a timing coincidence which will save the city money on delivery costs.

Food-waste kitchen pails, educational literature and reusable shopping bags will all be delivered together to single-family homes from July 18 through 22 by Kitchen Compost Caddy.

“The timing worked out perfect,” said Sustainability Commission chairman Brian Schimmel.

Sustainability Commission members will deliver just the reusable bags to all multi-family housing units during the same week.

“The Sustainability Commission is thrilled to see one of the action items included in our Sustainability Action Plan come to fruition,” said Schimmel, referring to the food-waste program.

While the pails are being paid for by a $27,256 Department of Environmental Quality grant, the bags are funded by $4,800 from a Community Enhancement Program grant and $5,000 from the city.

The two changes reflect the city’s efforts to address global environmental problems by taking small, local steps toward sustainability.

“We are proud to see our city taking action to reduce our everyday impacts on the environment and put our food waste to a more beneficial use,” Schimmel said.