• Reduce total solid waste generated 5% by 2015, 15% by 2020 and 25% by 2030.
  • Divert waste from landfill 45% by 2015, 60% by 2020 and 75% by 2030.

Multnomah County jails provide housing, health care and mental health services to 1,200 inmates a day, and the kitchens prepare nearly 1.5 million meals each year. As a result, jail facilities are responsible for a third of the total waste generated by Multnomah County government operations. Sending waste to the landfill is not only bad for the environment, but it is expensive. The Sustainable Jail Project seeks to reduce the total amount of waste generated and increase the recycling or composting of the waste that is generated.

Aggressive recycling and composting programs have been implemented. In the last year alone the County jails have diverted over 110,000 pounds of food waste from the landfill to composting. To further reduce the environmental and fiscal impacts of waste generation, the Sheriff’s Office has begun to analyze its supply chain and operations to find opportunities to prevent waste through the use of durable supplies, among other efforts.

Current Actions:

  • Refilling and reuse of disinfectant containers by buying in bulk, preventing 16,960 jugs from entering the waste stream and saving nearly $267,810 per year.
  • Discontinuation of over 1.2 million freely supplied golf pencils and paper to inmates by changing to flex pens and notepads to save $33,000, while creating new revenue for the Inmate Welfare Fund.
  • Implementation of composting in jails, diverting 10,000 pounds of food waste from landfills every month and recycling an additional 24,000 pounds of other material each month, thereby boosting the overall county recycling rate by 10%.
  • Eliminating over 800,000 Styrofoam cups and replacing them with durable cups, saving $11,400 annually.


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