In Northeast Portland, City of Roses Disposal and Recycling will upgrade its equipment to take dry food waste from food manufacturers and turn it into animal feed.
New processing equipment will allow the business to divert an estimated 27,300 tons of excess food per year from landfills. And the new effort will create four full-time living wage jobs.
This upgrade is partially funded by a Metro Investment and Innovation grant. The grants fund creative ways to reduce waste through prevention efforts, reuse, repair, recycling and composting.
This year, Metro will invest $2 million in Investment and Innovation grants, funding 19 projects throughout greater Portland. These grants also generated nearly $800,000 in matching funds raised by six businesses who applied for funding.
“I am consistently impressed with the ingenuity of applicants,” said Metro Councilor Gerritt Rosenthal, who was part of a grant committee who reviewed the applicants. “They develop creative projects that maximize grants and improve our solid waste system.”
All successful 2023 grant awards include a commitment to equity principles, and most of the grant-funded projects will directly benefit underserved communities.
This includes efforts to reach marginalized communities through expanded services, training and employment opportunities or reduced harms from garbage and recycling operations.
Grantees were selected from the recommendations of two review committees, ensuring that projects were based on community and local government input. Metro received 77 applications, asking for a total of $13 million in funding this grant cycle – nearly twice as much as last years’ proposals.
The Investment and Innovation grant program has two types of grants: capital grants and program grants. Capital grants are intended for infrastructure upgrades and equipment. Program grants can be used to support staffing needs, operation costs and supplies.
Some of the highlights of this years’ grant cycle include:
- Denton Plastics, the largest processor of recycled plastics in Oregon, will be able to recycle even more plastics after expanding their facility in Gresham. A new building will allow them to process a larger volume of plastics while preventing stormwater pollution.
- Many people would like to donate their unneeded pieces of furniture but can’t afford pickup fees. Community Warehouse will use their grant to implement a sliding-scale fee for furniture pickup service.
- Edúcate Ya will develop a program to train 40 to 50 community members to become recycling educators serving the Latinx community in greater Portland. The program aims to reach up to 300 people each year through waste prevention workshops, presentations and community events.
- Outgrowing Hunger supports a large network of racially and ethnically diverse farmers and organizations in East Multnomah County. The grant will support efforts to transform food that would otherwise be wasted – such as unsellable excess product from grain mills and unsold produce at farmers markets – into culturally relevant food products to sell at the Rockwood Market Hall grocery store.