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Sustainability Policy and Procedures

Policy | Procedures

Policy on Sustainability Practices


In April 1990, the Clackamas County Board of County Commissioners assumed a leadership role in the Metro region by being the first local government to adopt an internal solid waste management policy. Led by the Department of Transportation and Development's Community Environment Division, the development of the policy involved the cooperation of many County departments.

Implementation of the policy resulted in many successes, including institutionalization of the waste paper collection program throughout the County's offices, better handling of toxic wastes and a reduction in engine fluid use by the roads maintenance fleet. The County policy also supported the purchase of Recycled-Content Products. The County became a leader in the state's effort to reach the public with comprehensive recycling collection programs provided through the franchised solid waste collection system. 

A modification of the original internal policy is necessary at this time because of changes in the County's organizational structure, the changing recycled products market and Oregon's environmental leadership. The Governor issued Resolution E0-00-07 (2001), supporting sustainability, the legislature passed The Sustainability Act (ORS 184.423) in 2001 and the Governor issued executive order EO-03-03 “to support and drive the goals of the Oregon Sustainability Act.”

Sustainability is defined as using, developing, and protecting resources at a rate that enables people to meet their current needs while providing for the needs of future generations. The Clackamas County Commissioners have illustrated their commitment to sustainable practices through the development of the Public Services Building to the LEEDTM Silver standard.  The Board is also committed to applying sustainability guidelines to the daily operations of the County.

Following a request from the Board and a meeting with the County's Executive Management Team, a new task force was formed with representation from all departments. The task force was instrumental in updating, simplifying and broadening the policy.

The policy consists of three main sections: Use of Resources, Disposal of Wastes and Goals/Measurement. Each section describes the appropriate direction departments, divisions and employees should take when disposing of wastes or making decisions effecting purchases, contracts or operations. An additional document, Administrative Procedures for Implementing the Policy on Sustainable Practices, assigns responsibility and provides practical steps for meeting the goals of this policy.

It is the profound desire of the task force members that this policy, with an emphasis on the concept of sustainability, be used by each employee to ensure Clackamas County’s leadership role towards creating a sustainable future at the work place and throughout the community.


Sustainability refers to the use, development and protection of resources at a rate and in a manner that enables people to meet current needs and provides for the needs of future generations.

Sustainability Advisory Committee

The Sustainability Advisory Committee (SAC) shall be responsible for developing the implementation procedures necessary to meet the policy objectives in this document. These procedures pertain, but are not limited, to developing purchasing and contract specifications, developing and providing employee education, enhancing internal recycling, reuse, composting and Waste Prevention actions, and addressing other sustainability issues.

Each County department shall send one representative to serve on the SAC.  The SAC will meet at least quarterly. Community Environment staff will facilitate the meetings.


The following terms (in alphabetical order) shall have the assigned definitions for all purposes under this policy:

  1. Compost Products - Mulch, soil amendments, ground cover or other landscaping material derived from the biological or mechanical conversion of cellulose containing waste materials.
  2. Department-Any County-recognized department or service district.
  3. Green building - An integrated framework of design, construction, and operations practices that encompasses the environmental, economic, and social impacts of buildings. Green building practices recognize the interdependence of the natural and built environments and seek to minimize the use of energy, water, and other natural resources and provide a healthy, productive indoor environment. (PDX)
  4. LEEDTM - Leadership in Energy and Environmental DesignTM rating system is a third party certification system designed for rating new and existing commercial, institutional, and high-rise residential buildings developed by the US Green Building Council.
  5. LEEDTM Certification - Different levels of green building certification – certified, silver, gold, and platinum – are awarded based on the total credits earned in each of several categories: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, and indoor environmental quality.
  6. Life Cycle Cost Assessment - A systematic process for evaluating the life cycle costs of a product, product line, process, system or facility -- from raw material acquisition to disposal -- by identifying environmental consequences and assigning monetary value. (EPA)
  7. Post-Consumer Waste – a finished material which would normally be disposed of as solid waste, having completed its life cycle as a consumer item. Post-consumer waste does not include manufacturing waste. (OAR 340-90-010, 12/1/92)
  8. “Practicable” – Sufficient in performance at acceptable costs. Acceptable costs are determined by evaluating the combination of market price, life cycle and replacement costs.
    Final determination of the practicability of any given product must lie with the users of the product, since it is they who understand their performance and budgetary requirements. Evaluation shall consider replacement costs and a Life-Cycle Cost Assessment .
  9. Recycled - Content Products - Products made from materials that would otherwise have been discarded. Items in this category are made totally or partially from material destined for disposal or recovered from industrial activities—like aluminum soda cans or newspaper. Recycled-content products also can be items that are rebuilt or remanufactured from used products such as toner cartridges or computers. (EPA)
  10. Recycling - Any process by which solid waste materials are transformed into new products in such a manner that the original products may lose their identity.   (OAR 340-90-010 12/11/92)
  11. Sustainability - Using, developing and protecting resources at a rate and in a manner enabling people to meet their current needs and also provides that future generations can meet their own needs.  Sustainability requires simultaneously meeting environmental, economic and community needs. (Governor’s Executive Order – EO-00-07) 
  12.  Waste prevention To reduce the amount of solid waste generated or resources used, without increasing toxicity, in the design, manufacture, purchase or use of products or packaging. “Waste prevention” does not include reuse, recycling or composting. [ORS 459.005(28)]

County Use of Resources

The County, its service districts and contractors shall reduce the consumption of materials, energy and water used in the normal course of business. Materials, procedures and equipment shall be selected first to improve the condition of the built and natural environment and improve employee health; and secondly to reduce environmental harm and minimize employee and environmental exposure to toxic substances.

As an example, these practices would apply, but not be limited, to construction and remodeling projects; custodial services, and landscape development and maintenance. Any contracts accepted to perform these and other services shall be required to meet the intent of this policy.

All new construction designed to house County personnel shall meet the LEEDTM Silver standards. Certification may be sought when practicable. When remodeling and maintaining County occupied buildings, the principles of the LEED standards shall be followed.

The County shall, where practicable, prefer Recycled-Content Products or those meeting the lowest life cycle cost when purchasing products.  The County shall, where practicable, prefer vendors utilizing Recycled-Content Products or products meeting the lowest life cycle cost .  The County shall, where practicable, prefer vendors providing a service with the lowest life cycle cost.

County Disposal of Waste

The County and its service districts shall implement a comprehensive, coordinated solid waste, recycling and reuse program within its facilities and service districts. The County and its service districts shall eliminate, whenever practicable, the use of products requiring specialized waste handling. Hazardous, special or biological wastes shall be handled in accordance with all existing regulations.

When disposing of waste, the County shall follow the state hierarchy of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Compost prior to incineration and landfill. In the interest of the public health, safety and welfare and in order to conserve energy and natural resources, it is the policy of the County to establish a comprehensive countywide program for managing solid waste in the following manner:

After consideration of technical and economic feasibility, establish priority in methods of managing solid waste in Clackamas County as follows:

  1. Reduce the amount of solid waste generated;
  2. Reuse material for its original purpose;
  3. Recycle material not suited for reuse;
  4. Compost material that cannot be reused or recycled;
  5. Recover energy from solid waste that cannot be reused, recycled or composted so long as the energy recovery facility preserves the quality of air, water and land resources; and
  6. Dispose of solid waste that cannot be reused, recycled, composted or from which energy cannot be recovered by land filling or other method approved by the DEQ.


Annually, the Sustainability Advisory Committee shall select one or more projects designed to meet the intent of this policy. Goals and measurable objectives will be established. A plan to achieve those goals shall be presented to the Executive Management Team. A report outlining the results of the implemented activities will be presented to the Executive Management Team and the Board of County Commissioners.

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Administrative Procedures for Implementing the Policy on Sustainable Practices

Use of ResourcesResponsibilities of Lead Departments

Community Environment shall:

Purchasing shall:

Facilities Management shall:

Records Management shall:

Information Services shall:

Responsibilities of all Employees/Departments

Each Employee/Department shall:


Responsibilities of Lead Departments

Community Environment shall:

Facilities Management shall:

Purchasing shall:

Responsibilities of all Departments

Each Department shall:


Responsibilities of Lead Departments

Community Environment shall:

Responsibilities of all Departments

Each Department shall:

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Development Services Building

Sustainable Clackamas County

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Oregon City, OR 97045
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