The focus of the Metro large item reuse study is on large items that can be a challenge for people to transport away from their home or to find avenues for reuse or repair. The study identified gaps and opportunities for expanding the reuse and repair economy of large household items in greater Portland based upon interviews and surveys with ten leading reuse and repair organizations and additional research by Start Consulting Group.
The study found that greater Portland’s reuse and repair economy delivers substantial community and economic benefits including affordable goods and job opportunities. Nearly $20 million in sales of large household items were made by study participants in 2021. Together they employed 1,600 people and supported the reuse of 14,000 tons of large household items. However, the study also found that gaps and barriers in transportation, facilities, operations, and communications prevent growth in the reuse and repair economy.
Participants pointed to opportunities for increased collaboration between the reuse and repair economy, the garbage and recycling system, communities, and producers to address gaps and barriers. Participants recommend increased public investment, community engagement and policy changes to address key gaps, build capacity, and improve service equity and economic well-being for historically marginalized groups including people of color, people who live in apartments and those with lower incomes.
Findings from this study will support implementation of reuse and equity goals and actions of the 2030 Regional Waste Plan. This study is also providing inputs for Metro’s Garbage and recycling system facilities plan, development of regularly occurring bulky waste collection services with local governments and state product stewardship policy.