Oregon has a long history of leadership when it comes to recycling and reducing waste. Metro is in a unique position to support innovation in the local garbage and recycling economy and help businesses succeed.
In December 2017, the Metro Council created an Investment and Innovation grant program intended to support for-profit businesses and nonprofit organizations involved in reducing waste through reusing, recycling, composting or making energy from the stuff that is discarded in greater Portland. The main goal of the program is to strengthen local efforts to reduce waste while helping foster economic opportunities for people who have historically been left out of the garbage and recycling system, particularly communities of color.
Metro staff is developing guidelines for the administration of the grant program. As currently written, the guidelines propose:
- an initial three-year grant program
- offering grants to for-profit businesses and nonprofit organizations involved in reducing, reusing, recycling, composting or recovering energy from greater Portland’s discarded materials
- a focus on strengthening the greater Portland area’s garbage and recycling system and advancing Metro’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts
- providing up to $3 million a year, supporting two types of grants:
- grants between $10,000 and $50,000 each that could support personnel costs, operations and equipment
- grants between $50,000 and $500,000 each for larger investments such as machinery or other capital improvements
- grants to be awarded through a competitive solicitation process and recommended by a review committee consisting of representatives from Metro, local governments, and the public
- annual reports on the program’s activities to be presented to the Metro Council with a full program review at the end of the initial three-year period
- grant awards be matched with other cash or in-kind contributions
A public comment period on the draft program guidelines closed on March 14. Metro staff is reviewing the input and considering updates to the draft guidelines. The Metro Council will review the program guidelines in a work session on Tuesday, April 3. The work session is open to the public.
Following the Metro Council’s review of the revised program guidelines, Metro’s chief operating officer will approve a final set of program guidelines. The first round of grant applications will be solicited in the summer of 2018.