Over the past fiscal year, the Portland Expo Center increased its rate of diverting materials and garbage from landfills by approximately 235% through focusing business and operations efforts on recycling and composting post-event materials from consumer shows, trade shows and special events. A combination of efforts among Expo staff, contractors, clients and the facility's commitment to achieving the Recycle At Work program goals contributed to this success.
In fiscal year (FY) 2008-2009, the first year the facility tracked recycling and diversion rates, Expo recycled 17% of its materials. At the close of the following fiscal year, those rates increased to over 40%.
Portland Expo Center Director Chris Bailey credits staff and the cooperation of many others for identifying and implementing convenient ways for employees, show managers, exhibitors and the visiting public to divert items from the landfill. For example, materials such as paper, cardboard, aluminum and glass beverage containers, landscaping debris, wood, and metal are all separated and recycled and all food waste is composted.
The facility's exclusive food and beverage contractor, ARAMARK, is also acknowledged for its commitment to sustainability. Food and beverage menu items are procured from local, sustainable and, organic sources when available; compostable and/or biodegradable, corn-based plates, napkins, utensils and trash bags that are easily co-mingled with composted food are utilized; and kitchen waste, such as cooking oil, is recycled. As a partner in Portland Composts! since 2007, Expo has transformed nearly 12 tons of food waste into compost.
Expo is Recycle At Work-certified and has undertaken capital improvements designed to reduce energy use, improve indoor lighting and minimize exposure to toxics by using Sustainable Earth Green Cleaning Products. The Portland Expo Center also promotes use of alternative transportation with its convenient Expo Center stop on TriMet’s Interstate Yellow MAX light rail line.