City of Eugene, OR

Jurisdiction: City of Eugene, Oregon
Plan Year: 2010
Progress Report Year: 2013

Background:
Eugene’s City Council unanimously voted to develop a Community and Energy Action Plan (CEAP) in 2008, under which all city operations and facilities would achieve carbon-neutrality by 2020. The CEAP advisory team was assembled in May 2009 and was composed of 11 community members and representatives of partner agencies.

In 2009, the City Council set community-wide goals to reduced fossil fuel consumption by 50% no later than 2030. An Advisory Council of 11 community members and representatives from partnering agencies were appointed in 2009 to facilitate development of the CEAP.

City Council employed a robust public engagement process that included discreet public workshops for each of six target categories:

  • Buildings and Energy
  • Food and Agriculture
  • Land Use and Transportation
  • Consumption and Waste
  • Health and Social Services
  • Urban Natural Resources

The CEAP’s overarching goals include:

  • Reduce community-wide GHG to 10% under 1990 levels by 2020, and 75% below 1990 levels by 2050 (consistent with the State’s GHG emissions reduction goals)
  • Reduce community-wide fossil fuel use by 50% by 2030; and
  • Identify strategies for adaptation to changing climate and fossil fuel prices.

Materials Management Goals:
The City defines consumption and waste as “everything in the lifecycle of consumer goods; the embodied energy in everything from chairs to cars, from building materials to strollers.” Based on EPA and Oregon Metro’s measurement of GHG emissions that result from the provision of goods and food, Eugene assumes in its CAP that consumption and waste make up between 40-42% of its total GHG emissions. The City also notes that already more than 95% of its households participated in recycling services and about 53% of the waste produced in the area is diverted from the landfill. Its general consumption and waste reduction objectives include:

  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by addressing purchasing habits
  • Increase waste diversion by improving recycling
  • Increase waste diversion rate for organic wastes
  • Conduct research to determine the most effective next steps in the area of consumption and waste
  • Reduce greenhouse gases in municipal operations by changing purchasing practices and reducing waste

For its Food and Agriculture category, the City noted that while its own greenhouse gas inventory does not specifically identify GHGs from food production and distribution, it uses Oregon Metro’s own finding that food provision makes up about 14% of total emissions. The City approach does not use data from traditional economic sector emissions, which finds that the most GHGs in food provision result from transportation, when in fact the most GHGs associated with food occur during the production phase. Eugene’s objectives for food and agriculture that are related to sustainable materials management include:

  • Reduce consumption of carbon-intensive foods
  • Reduce GHG emissions associated with agriculture and food waste

Strategies:
Each of Eugene’s objectives is accompanied by a list of high priority actions to achieve the goals. Below is a partial list of these actions. See pages 38-41 of the plan for the comprehensive list of Consumption and Waste strategies, and pages 24-26 for Food and Agriculture.

Consumption and Waste:

  • Educate businesses and residents about the role of consumption in creating emissions
  • Support new state and national product stewardship legislation that requires producers to be involved in end-of-product-life management
  • Enact a local ordinance to increase waste recovery rates from commercial and multi-family buildings
  • Enact an ordinance that requires all construction and demolition waste materials to be sorted for reusable or recyclable materials
  • Establish a permitted facility within the Eugene/Springfield area that can accept and compost (or anaerobically digest) all organic materials including food wastes
  • Determine highest priority and most cost effective measures to address GHG production in the materials management sector
  • Increase the effectiveness of current City of Eugene purchasing policies that prioritize: 1) Reuse of products and materials, 2) purchasing durable goods, and 3) avoiding disposable goods whenever possible

Food and Agriculture:

  • Educate the public about food choice as part of a climate-friendly lifestyles
  • Implement a “Buy climate-friendly first” food purchasing policy for public institutions
  • Transition to agricultural methods that reduce GHGs
  • Conduct pilot projects for co-digestion of food waste and biosolids

Progress Report:
In its 2013 progress report, Eugene noted that several recommendations from the original plan were completed while others have yet to be addressed. In the consumption and waste area, most of the priority actions were categorized as in the “getting started” or “striding” phase, but a few had been completed, including:

  • Two commercial composting businesses in Eugene had permits approved in spring 2011
  • Businesses began receiving curbside food waste hauling through Eugene’s Love Food Not Waste program in November 2011
  • Rates for the food waste collection program were set at 20 percent below commercial garbage rates to encourage use of the service
  • An anaerobic digester with the capacity to process all of Eugene’s commercial organic waste was scheduled to be up and running in April 2013
  • City staff participated in a statewide stakeholder process hosted by the Oregon DEQ that produced a draft Materials Management in Oregon: 2050 Vision and Framework (see Oregon State feature above)
  • Purchasing staff completed the embodied emissions greenhouse gas analysis for 2010 expenditures using the Carnegie Melon Economic Input Output Life Cycle Assessment tool
  • The City of Eugene internal zero waste program kicked off in spring 2012
    • The program’s goal is to keep 90 percent of the waste created by City operations out of the landfill by 2020

See pages 43-48 of the 2013 Progress Report for complete progress on each action area.

Next Steps:

As noted above, Eugene is currently making progress on many of the original recommendations from the CEAP. Areas in which it plans to continue work include:

  • Educating businesses and residents about how consumption contributes to greenhouse gas emissions by conducting focus groups and training through Lane County Master Recyclers program
  • City staff are working to implement a voluntary program that would increase the recycling rates within multi-family residential properties, designed by the University of Oregon’s Community Planning Workshop program
  • The City of Eugene Waste Prevention & Green Building Program continues to develop a Construction Material Diversion Program to promote waste reduction and reuse and recycling of construction materials in both private and City projects. Staff is targeting spring 2013 for program rollout
  • The contractor hauling waste for the City of Eugene is collecting data on the quantities of waste being landfilled and the quantities being recycled. This information will help inform further refinement of waste of practices to reduce the waste being landfilled.

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