Projects to Reduce Waste Tackle Disposable Dishware, Agricultural Packaging, Visitor Recycling, and More!

the front of the SCP Redmond hotel, a large red brick building with many windows

Announcing the fall 2023 Community Innovation Fund recipients

This year, The Environmental Center’s Rethink Waste Project offered three opportunities to apply for the Community Innovation Fund (CIF). CIF is a funding program that supports individuals, businesses, and community organizations throughout Deschutes County advance projects that reduce, reuse, recycle, or compost waste. The Environmental Center also provides support to help successfully plan, implement, and evaluate projects. We are thrilled to announce the recipients of the fall 2023 CIF!

Tetherow Resort: Blue Bins for Blue Bags will install 8 more recycling bins across the property to recycle redeemable bottles and cans as part of Oregon Bottle Drop’s Give program using Blue Bags. The Blue Bags program then donates proceeds to local nonprofit organizations, so it’s an extra win for the community!

SCP Redmond Hotel: Improved Recycling and Composting Practices at SCP will increase recycling and composting rates at SCP Hotel in Redmond by adding recycling bins on the 2nd & 3rd floors in guest room lobby areas to divert approximately 80 pounds of commingled recyclables and OR CRV products from the landfill to recycling and donation. They will also add an additional (3rd) composter to divert a total of 400 pounds of compost from the landfill to their composting system. SCP Redmond will construct the corrals, make signage, and install everything onsite.

Central Oregon Community College: Green Hygiene at COCC will provide students at COCC with zero waste laundry detergent, toothpaste and menstruation product options to reduce waste. Products will be distributed through “Green Hygiene” events, in bathrooms in the most used buildings, through the ASCOCC Community Cabinet Food Pantry, The Clothing Connection, and an Annual Earth Day Fashion Show.

Council on Aging: Congregate Dining Dishware will replace breakable dishware with new durable dishware in the Bend Council on Aging Congregate Dining program, with the goal of utilizing dishware that lasts more than six months.

Central Oregon Locavore: Agricultural Packaging Repurposing Program will set up an outdoor storage shed to decrease the number of waxed produce boxes that are going to the landfill, while simultaneously saving local farmers and ranchers significant expenses.This project will allow Locavore to 1. Store more packaging that will meet the demands of the farmers/vendors; 2. Keep the packaging clean and dry, increasing the number of boxes that can be re-used and are not ruined by the elements; and 3. Allow 24hr access to the packaging by all farmers, ranchers, and vendors to better fit their schedules and increase participation in the repurposing program.

Do you have an idea for reducing waste in your neighborhood, workplace, school, your favorite park or restaurant, or other community space, and would like some support getting your idea off the ground? Apply for the Rethink Waste Community Innovation Fund to receive project support and funding! The next application deadline will be in March 24th, 2024. Learn more and apply at! Questions? Contact

The Community Innovation Fund is a program of The Environmental Center’s Rethink Waste Project in partnership with Deschutes County Solid Waste and Visit Central Oregon. The Rethink Waste Project envisions a community that understands the upstream and downstream impacts of using Earth’s resources and makes responsible decisions about the consumption, use, and disposal of materials.