Local Action to Pilot Reusables in School Cafeterias, Expand Bicycle Reuse, and Provide Recycling Education for Visitors

two people smile as they fix a child's sized bike on a repair stand

Main photo courtesy of Bicycle Re-Source of Bend

Announcing the summer 2023 Community Innovation Fund recipients 

This year, The Environmental Center’s Rethink Waste Project offers 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 Summer 2023 CIF:

Bear Creek Elementary, Amity Creek Elementary, and REALMS will reduce waste generated in the cafeterias by testing out a variety of reusable alternatives to single use items. Bear Creek Elementary will install a water bottle fill station in the cafeteria and the Green Team will pilot collection, washing, and storage logistics of a reusable cup system. Water in reusable cups will serve as an alternative option to single-use milk and juice cartons that are sent to landfill. Amity Creek Elementary and REALMS Green Teams will support the switch to reusable plates and bowls in the cafeteria, replacing paper boats and plastic bowls that are sent to landfill. The Green Teams and administrative staff will assist in dishwashing with the support of Nutrition Services.

Bicycle Re-Source of Bend (BRoB) will expand their Save the Bikes program, diverting bicycles from landfill back to the community. BRoB will repair donated bicycles and coordinate with local organizations and advocates to distribute 80 bicycles and accessories to children and adults in need of bicycle transportation. While these efforts will be focused in Deschutes County, BRoB also serves community members in Crook and Jefferson Counties. 

Campfire Hotel will expand their recycling collection efforts with the goal of increasing recycling rates onsite. They will place designated containers for plastic bottles / aluminum cans recycling and for glass recycling in each of the 100 guest rooms as well as in the meeting space and lobby. They will also make bins and signage available and appropriately accessible in the 5 accessible rooms. Campfire Hotel will also provide guests with local recycling guidelines in the form of bin decals and online resources.

Congratulations to these community organizations and local businesses, and keep up the great work! 

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 final application deadline for 2023 is October 1. Learn more and apply at envirocenter.org/community-innovation-fund! Questions? Contact udara@envirocenter.org  

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.