Cap Case 1: City of Portland/Multnomah County Climate Action Plan 2009

Responsible Party
Portland, Multnomah County and, eastern suburban/rural areas like Gresham, Fairview, Troutdale, Wood Village, Marywood Park
Case Study Year
City Involved
County Involved
State Involved
Country Involved
United States
Case Study Type
Cap Case

Portland set a goal to reduce the 46% of its emissions from food, consumption, and solid waste through its Climate Action Plan





Reduce total solid waste generated by 25 %

  1. Portland_recycling_goals.JPGWork with partner organizations to encourage businesses and residents to purchase durable, repairable and reusable goods; to reduce the amount of materials that go to waste, including food; and to reduce consumption of carbon-intensive consumer goods and services.
  2. Develop a measurement and evaluation mechanism to track waste prevented through preservation, re-use and thoughtful consumption.

Recover 90 % of all waste generated

  1. Complete the implementation of mandatory commercial food waste collection in Portland and begin collection of residential food waste.
  2. Assist 1,000 businesses per year to improve compliance with Portland’s requirement of paper, metal and glass recycling.
  3. Together with Metro and Department of Environmental Quality, create and periodically update a regional waste management hierarchy that reflects energy and greenhouse gas emissions as key factors in prioritizing such technologies as commercial composting, digestors, plasmafication and waste-to-energy systems.
  4. Regulate solid waste collection for unincorporated Multnomah County.
  5. Provide technical assistance to contractors and construction firms to meet Portland’s new requirement to recycle 75 percent of construction and demolition debris, giving priority to salvage and reuse activities.
  6. Institute post-collection sorting for municipal solid waste, particularly for waste coming from sectors like multifamily housing that are typically underperforming on recycling.
  7. Participate actively in the process to develop state and federal product stewardship legislation.
  8. Explore mandatory residential recycling.
  9. Clearly label trash cans and other garbage receptacles as “landfill.”
  10. Establish public place recycling in Central Portland.

Reduce the greenhouse gas impacts of the waste collection system by 40 %

  1. Provide weekly curbside collection of food waste, other compostable materials and recycling. Shift standard residential garbage collection to every other week.
  2. Complete the installation of particulate filters on pre-2007 waste collection vehicles to reduce particulate emissions. Older trucks that are not good candidates for retrofit should be phased out of operation.
  3. Evaluate actions under the Portland Recycles! Plan and consider additional regulatory options to improve the efficiency of commercial collection service.
  • Who did it: City of Portland and Multnomah County (includes Portland and suburban/rural areas to the east, including Cities of Gresham, Fairview, Troutdale, Wood Village, Maywood Park)
  • What they did (and when): Adopted a Climate Action Plan in 2009. The plan reframes the traditional "waste" sector, this time characterizing it much more broadly as "consumption and waste". Page 13 shows that "consumption and solid waste" practices will contribute 35% towards the City/County's 2030 emissions reduction goal. The CAP estimates that recycling will contribute 6%, waste prevention will contribute 15%, and "more efficient production and distribution" will contribute 14%. Cover_Cap_Case_1.jpg
  • Objective 10 focuses on "fostering better consumption choices" (e.g. "goods manufactured using minimal energy and packaging, transported short distances and used for a long time because they are highly durable"). This portion of the CAP calls for the City to "work with partner organizations to encourage businesses and residents to purchase durable, repairable, and reusable goods; to reduce the amount of materials that go to waste, including food; and to reduce consumption of carbon-intensive consumer goods and services."
  • Objective 11 sets a goal to recover 90% of waste generated (including launching mandatory commercial food waste collection, establishing mandatory business recycling, requiring 75% C&D recycling, exploring mandatory residential recycling, participating in product stewardship legislation, labeling garbage receptacles with "landfill", and establishing public place recycling).
  • Objective 12 sets a goal to reduce GHG emissions from recycling and garbage haulers by 40% by reducing garbage collection to every other week (while providing weekly composting and recycling collection) and installing particulate filters.
  • Why they did it: In 2007, Portland City Council and the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners adopted resolutions directing staff to design a strategy to reduce local carbon emissions 80 percent by 2050.
  • Results/outcomes/successes/failures/lessons learned: May be to early to fully tell - plan was adopted in October 2009. Should ask City of Portland staff for their opinions about results/outcomes/successes/failures/lessons learned.

See also this page which summarizes the CAP's language around materials and consumption in the context of the community GHG inventory.