Port and Portland State University celebrate 10 years of success and innovation

by Lisa Timmerman 6/12/2013 4:19 PM

It takes a special kind of person to be willing to dig through the garbage on a regular basis. Thanks to a partnership with Portland State University, this week marks the tenth year that those special people have been making a difference at Portland International Airport. Through PSU’s Community Environmental Services program, student consultants work for the Port of Portland in one- or two-year terms and work alongside Port staff to gain experience solving real-life waste management problems. Although they serve all Port facilities, they focus on the Port’s primary waste generator - PDX. The airport is like a small city with 10,000 employees and 35,000 people passing through every day. It's a unique setting for developing innovative and creative waste solutions on a large-scale.

Through the students' long-standing support, the Port has made incredible strides in reducing waste. They have played a large role in designing and implementing PDX’s waste collection systems and composting program. They have been involved in researching recycling options for coffee cups, conducting waste assessments for airlines and airport terminal tenants and holding annual clean up events for tenants to find ways to recycle and repurpose large and bulky items. Most recently, the students helped launch a highly successful food donation program through St. Vincent dePaul of Portland and helped redesign liquid collection stations at security checkpoints, dramatically increasing their use by travelers.

The partnership truly provides benefits for both the Port and PSU students. “I attribute the longevity and success of this program to two things: the Port’s impressive commitment to keep pushing the needle forward on these issues, and the great students that CES continues to attract. I can’t think of a better embodiment of PSU’s motto, 'Let Knowledge Serve the City,'" says Eric T. Crum, director of the CES program.

Although the program has been in place for many years, there is no typical day for a CES student working at the Port. They do everything from collecting and managing data, to running outreach and education campaigns, to rolling their sleeves up and conducting waste sorts that determine where there are opportunities for program improvements. Their versatility is invaluable and we look forward to another ten years of success and collaboration.

For more information on the partnership between PSU and the Port and a full list of the students’ accomplishments, visit: www.pdx.edu

For additional news on the partnership's anniversary, visit:
Oregon Live

Port headquarters building goes for gold

by Lisa Timmerman 1/22/2013 9:26 AM

The Port of Portland LEED Platinum headquarters building has another metal to add to its list of honors - gold. The Port's headquarters building recently received a gold certification through the City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability’s Sustainability at Work program. The gold certification is the highest level that can be achieved through the program which recognizes local businesses and organizations for their leadership in helping make Portland one of the cleanest, most sustainable cities in the country. The certification criteria include numerous actions related to energy efficiency, water conservation, waste management, transportation, procurement and employee education. The actions were verified during an onsite visit with a Sustainability at Work advisor.  

“The Port’s achievements are impressive both in the design and construction of an incredibly energy and water efficient headquarters building and ongoing waste minimization efforts that have diverted 84 percent of the building’s waste stream from the landfill,” said Sustainability at Work advisor, Paul deBlock.

The Port received the BEST Award for projects in 2004, 2006 and 2011, under a similar City program and the headquarters building has received numerous honors including the Oregon Sustainability Award. However, this certification recognizes both the thoughtful considerations the Port incorporated into the building itself and the ongoing, day-to-day operations within the building.  

Seaport Celebration: a Zero Waste event

by Lisa Timmerman 8/24/2012 2:22 PM

Last weekend, Terminal 4 was host to another successful Seaport Celebration. The annual event is a festive day of family-oriented activities put on by the Port of Portland and many of our community partners and terminal operators. Though the weather was unseasonably mild, people of all ages turned out to enjoy interactive displays, games, jet boat tours and a cruise on the Portland Spirit. This year’s event was a first-rate success in another regard.

We have been steadily improving upon waste minimization efforts at our headquarters building, with a goal of achieving Zero Waste status. This is no small feat when you consider that our main office is home to about 450 employees on any given work day. We also strive to minimize waste whenever possible at Port-sponsored events and this year we are proud to report that Seaport Celebration was a Zero Waste event.

After tallying the numbers, the event achieved an impressive 97 percent waste diversion rate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency threshold for Zero Waste status is a 90 percent or greater diversion rate. Much of this success is due to dedicated Port staff and the efforts of the Port of Portland Technical Assistance Project. PTAP staff is part of Portland State University’s Community Environmental Services program and work in partnership with Port staff to reduce landfill-bound waste by implementing recycling, composting and other waste prevention programs.

Related Links

Zero Waste Alliance

PSU - Community Environmental Services - Port of Portland Technical Assistance Project

PDX Teams Up with Starbucks to Explore Coffee Cup Recycling

by Annie Linstrom 11/22/2011 2:35 PM

More than 6,000 hot beverage cups travel through PDX daily, resulting in over 2.2 million cups sent to the landfill each year. Because most hot beverage containers aren’t accepted into Oregon’s recycling stream, a large amount of productive material is wasted. That is why the Port, Starbucks, and HMS Host (operators of Starbucks at PDX) joined forces to help find a recyclable solution, one cup at a time.


Port Aviation environmental compliance manager Stan Jones and the PDX Recycles Team worked with Starbucks as part of a national effort to find a solution. Our goal at PDX was simple: Gather enough cups to conduct an initial study to determine if the hot beverage cups could be accepted into the recycled cardboard stream.


The pilot program collected nearly 500 pounds of used coffee cups at PDX over a two month period. Cups were sent to the Longview Fiber paper mill for a trial run. The results showed that hot beverage cups could indeed be pulped at the Washington mill and potentially accepted into the recycled cardboard production stream. Next, Starbucks will test a larger load to determine how a higher percentage of cups affects the overall pulping process and material mix.


This marks a major milestone in finding a solution to recycling hot beverage cups in Oregon. Here in Portland, we love our coffee AND recycling. Strategies that promote both are always encouraged, and we are pleased to work Starbucks and HMS Host on this project.


CNG Now Fueling Compost, Recycling and Trash Pickups at PDX

by Rachel Wray 8/15/2011 4:07 PM

Gresham Sanitary Service, which provides waste hauling services for the Port, is the state’s first trash hauler to use compressed natural gas in its vehicles. The latest addition to the company’s fleet services transports the Port’s garbage, recycling, and food waste to regional transfer stations while running on the clean-burning alternative fuel. Pictures below are of the truck’s inaugural visit to the airport.