Nine nonprofit organizations and two private companies are the recipients of Metro’s Investment and Innovation grants for the 2020-2021 cycle.
The grants are intended to build lasting private-sector and nonprofit-sector capacity to reduce waste through reuse, recycling, composting or energy creation from discarded materials.
The 11 grants range between $10,000 and $50,000 to support personnel costs, operations and equipment. In addition to preventing waste and fostering creative reuse, the grants help advance equity goals outlined in the Regional Waste Plan.
The grant recipients are:
City Repair – Useful waste initiative
City Repair will develop a process to guide architects and contractors to divert usable construction waste from mock-ups to provide home for unhoused communities. They will work with PSU’s Center for Public Interest Design to develop a training to expand the network of people with knowledge to successfully divert mock-up waste from the wastestream and deliver it to architects, contractors, builders, developers and individual project advocates.
Community Cycling Center (CCC) – Reusing and recycling salvaged bicycles and parts
CCC will expand its reuse and recycling operation to increase the recovery of used bicycles and parts, anticipated to double the amount of aluminum it salvages and increasing the number of bikes repaired.
The grant will support CCC in providing free bicycles to communities of color and other historically marginalized communities and fund the hiring and mentorship of four to six interns.
Community Development Corporation of Oregon – East County food rescue shuttle
This grant supports Rockwood Food Systems Collaborative’s efforts to reduce food waste and grow the capacity of BIPOC-owned businesses to “upcycle” excess food into culturally-relevant food products and bring them to market. It will fund a van and logistical support to pair those businesses with food growers and producers who have excess food that would otherwise be disposed of.
Cracked Pots – Integrating equity into mission and operations
Cracked Pots will contract with a local equity trainer to provide staff and volunteer training to implement diversity, equity and inclusion more fully into the organization’s practices and interactions with community members.
Cracked Pots will hire an additional part-time gleaner, making a concerted effort to hire a local person of color and convene an informal community advisory group to develop specific strategies to carry out its waste reduction mission in a way that meets the needs of the community and advances equity.
Free Geek – Electronic waste collection and recycling
Free Geek will conduct 16-22 collection events to recover an anticipated 70,000 lbs of discarded computers and other electronics for reuse or recycling during the grant year. Free Geek will partner with multi-family housing complexes and outdoor neighborhood cleanup events and organizations serving communities of color and those in low-income neighborhoods to make safe disposal of electronics accessible to community members and promote its other programs that include access to free technology and classes.
Hygiene For All – Clothing and bedding exchange
The organization will launch a pilot program for people experiencing homelessness to trade soiled clothing and bedding for clean items, diverting approximately 600-1,200 lbs of bedding and other goods from the waste stream each week.
St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church volunteers will retrieve dirty items, launder them and return clean items to the hub where paid houseless ambassadors will promote reuse among their peers.
James’ Neighborhood Recycling Service, LLC – Expanding neighborhood collection events
The company will expand their current collection program for non-curbside plastics like Styrofoam blocks and plastic bags and hold at least two collection events per month during the grant period. They are developing partnerships with organizations to provide services directly to communities of color and identify and secure locations for collection events in under-served neighborhoods. Grant funds will support a driver’s salary, a used box truck to transport materials and a granulator for collected plastics.
Professional Business Development Group – Building a culture of reuse for minority contractors
The goal is to inform, incentivize and increase the reuse of practices of minority and women operated subcontractors, conduct focus groups and surveys to gather data on minority contractors’ current practices and reuse philosophies, and develop a curriculum based on research results. The Group will work with the Rebuilding Center to deliver a training to at least 30 subcontractors.
Re-Use Consulting – Building up a industry that takes down buildings
Re-Use will train and provide technical support to six minority and/or women-owned deconstruction contractors to help them overcome key barriers to making deconstruction profitable. Training will include hands-on completion of 10-12 deconstruction projects not subject to the deconstruction ordinance, with an impact of diverting 200-250 tons of reclaimed building materials from the wastestream.
ROSE Community Development – Multi-family composting initiative
ROSE will expand culturally responsive access to composting food scraps for communities of color in their homes by adding collection bins for food scraps at each of its affordable housing communities and providing residents with in-home composting kits.
They will also deliver 30+ workshops on composing benefits and best practices. The results of the project will be developed into a case study for use by others that may be considering adding compost service.
Salvage Works – Expansion of high-demand product made from reclaimed fencing
Salvage Works will expand its production of wall paneling made with reclaimed fencing that would otherwise end up in landfill. The demand for Salvage Works’ product is exceeding supply.
With a dedicated material processor and driver to pick up and break down the fencing, capacity to produce their product will increase by 25 percent during the grant year.
The grant will fund a new full time staff member, a truck for fence pick up and equity, inclusion and diversity training.