Solar Gathering: Exploring Community Solar

Join us, buy a drink and learn more about Community Solar!  

Community Solar is an upcoming, innovative, and community-minded way to go solar by sharing a solar project between neighbors, local businesses, public facilities, and others. 

Solar Oregon Board Member Bridget Callahan will be talking about some of the nuts and bolts of the upcoming Community Solar program and its potential to create more clean energy in Oregon. We'll be discussing what Community Solar will look like, when it will be coming, some of the forms it can take, and how we all can get involved.

Best Practices for Workplace Recycling

Recent news about changes in the international recycling market have raised concerns about our regional recycling system. In Clackamas County, the cities within and the rest of the Portland metro region, curbside recycling has not changed. Follow the recycling guidelines and keep recycling at work and home. If changes occur in the future, we will post them here.

Keep it Simple

  • Recycling cans at workMake recycling convenient
    Ideally, recycling and garbage containers are paired together near workspaces, in the copy room and in high traffic areas such as cafeterias, breakrooms, hallways and lobbies.
  • Make it clear
    Participants should be able to figure out at a glance what goes in each container. Color coding and labeling containers consistently helps users figure out the correct bin to put their item.
  • Train staff
    Make sure your employees know how to use the program and who in the organization can answer questions as they come up.
  • Communicate with your janitorial service
    Proper collection of recyclables is an integral part of ensuring the success of your program and can help meet your recycling goals.

All businesses in the cities and unincorporated areas of Clackamas County can recycle all the materials seen on the recycling guide. If there is an item your business or building is not currently recycling, contact us and we can help get the service set up. Learn more about the Business Recycling Requirements.

We Make Recycling Easy

  • Find out where to recycle additional items like electronics, batteries, light bulbs and bulky items by calling Metro’s Recycling Hotline at 503-234-3000.
  • Download and print your own recycling posters.
  • Contact us to request recycling training for employees, assistance setting up recycling and waste reduction systems, and for free resources like internal containers, printed posters and labels for bins.

Recycling in Action

See what happens to recyclables after they leave your office. Watch the video.

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Tips for Reducing your Carbon Footprint

Every time we drive, fly, turn on an appliance, discard waste, and cool or heat our homes we emit greenhouse gases into the air. Some greenhouse gases are required to keep the earth at a livable temperature. But, in excess they have a negative impact by trapping too much heat in the atmosphere which warms the planet and changes our climate. An eco footprint is a measurement of how much your lifestyle impacts the earth in terms of the resources needed and the waste produced. You can also measure your impact by counting greenhouse gas emissions, measured in units of carbon dioxide (CO2). Household Carbon Footprint Calculator from EPA

10 easy steps to shrink your eco footprint

  1. Reduce your number of car trips - carpool, bike, walk, take the bus.
    You will save 1 lb of carbon for every mile you don't drive.
  2. Adjust your thermostat up 2 degrees in the summer and down 2 degrees in the winter .
    By adjusting your thermostat 2 degrees you could save 2,000 lbs of carbon dioxide per year.
  3. Unplug chargers and turnoff appliances, including computers, when not in use.
    Even if they are turned off, electronics consume energy when they are plugged in. By pulling the plug when something is not in use you could save 1,000 lbs of carbon dioxide a year.
  4. Change to energy efficient light bulbs.
    By switching out 3 lights with compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL) you could save 300 lbs of carbon dioxide per year. CFLs seem more expensive than regular bulbs, but since their life is 10 times longer they save you money over time.
  5. Bring re-usable bags to the store.
    Using your own bag instead of plastic or paper bags reduces waste and requires no additional energy to make.
  6. Reduce your water usage - turn off the water when brushing your teeth or shorten your shower.
    Showers use 2.5 gallons of water per minute, and each gallon uses three ounces of carbon dioxide. If you shorten your shower by 2 min. a day, you can save 342 pounds of carbon dioxide a year.
  7. Purchase energy efficient appliances.
    By updating your old refrigerator to an Energy Star certified appliance you could save 500 lbs of carbon dioxide per year.
  8. Choose a re-usable coffee mug and water bottle
    One plastic mug, used twice a day, every day instead of disposable cups, can save 135 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions per person per year.
  9. Always recycle.
    Every time you recycle one pound of waste, you reduce your carbon dioxide emissions by one pound.
  10. Spread the word to your family and friends.


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.

Administrative Procedures for Implementing the Policy on Sustainable Practices

Use of Resources
Responsibilities of Lead Departments

Community Environment shall:

  • Monitor workplace practices, procedures and material use, and promote those providing the greatest reduction of energy, water and materials; and reduce employee exposure to toxic substances and harm to the environment.
  • In partnership with other lead departments, routinely inform all departments of their responsibilities under this policy.
  • Lead and facilitate the development of sustainable operations.

Purchasing shall:

  • Write procurement specifications and contract language ensuring contractors, vendors and County departments use resources in the most sustainable manner.
  • Comment on legislation (current or proposed) that adversely or positively affects the County's sustainability goals.
  • Research products and practices to be used in the normal and the unique business of the County that can be used to further these sustainability goals.
  • Educate and monitor County staff in the use of sustainable purchasing/procurement procedures.
  • Assist with the development of sustainable operations.
  • Work with county departments to develop forms lending themselves to efficient electronic capture of information, with the ultimate goal of eliminating hardcopy generation.

Facilities Management shall:

  • Review building maintenance contracts, remodeling and new building construction proposals, and internal work plans. Revise as appropriate to ensure the County conserves resources and uses non-toxic materials.
  • Assist with the development of sustainable operations.

Records Management shall:

  • Implement state-of-the-art electronic document management technologies, using electronic forms processing, and promoting electronic capture and maintenance of records resulting in the reduction of paper consumption and storage requirements.
  • Educate and monitor County staff in the use of these technologies.
  • In conjunction with County Counsel, determine the applicability and legality of electronic signatures that would promote a reduction in hardcopy generation of files and forms.

Information Services shall:

  • Coordinate and implement state-of-the-art electronic document management technologies using electronic forms processing, and promoting electronic capture and maintenance of records that result in the reduction of paper consumption and storage requirements.
  • Educate and monitor County staff in the use of these technologies.
  • Investigate the use of computer technology to perform daily tasks that result in the reduction of resource use, such as paper and electricity.
  • Train/inform staff about conserving resources when using available technology.

Responsibilities of all employees/departments

Each Employee/Department shall:

  • Reduce or eliminate unnecessary use of supplies and other resources.
  • Turn off personal, non-essential computers when leaving work for the day.
  • Turn off monitors when leaving work area for an extended period of time throughout the workday.
  • Purchase copy paper meeting current Federal guidelines for percentage of Post-Consumer Waste content.
  • Comply with internal policies, as developed within each department, that support the sustainability goal of the county.
  • Comply with the policies outlined in this document.


Responsibilities of Lead Departments

Community Environment shall:

  • Work with each department to research the alternatives to landfill disposal for items consistently found in their waste.
  • Maintain the records pertinent to the recycling collection activities of the County.
  • Ensure surplus property is not disposed prior to thorough efforts to find other uses for the material.

Facilities Management shall:

  • Provide all departments with collection service of recyclable and reusable items.
  • Provide appropriate disposal services for special and hazardous wastes.
  • Change custodial contracts to reflect the emphasis of this policy to make waste available for recycling/reuse markets.
  • Ensure surplus property is not disposed prior to thorough efforts to find other uses for the material.

Purchasing shall:

  • Ensure surplus material and equipment from each department is put to its highest and best use.
  • Develop a list of local/regional non-profit agencies and schools eligible to receive County surplus property. Send notification to this list prior to any other dispensation of surplus property.
  • Provide employees with information, at least annually, regarding all of the options available to dispense with surplus property.
  • Ensure surplus property is not disposed prior to thorough efforts to find other uses for the material.

Responsibilities of all Departments

Each Department shall:

  • Ensure each employee uses the County's recycling/reuse and waste handling programs.
  • Participate in meeting the intent of the policy on sustainable practices.
  • Use this policy as guidance when ordering supplies.


Responsibilities of Lead Departments

Community Environment shall:

  • Convene the Sustainability Advisory Committee at least quarterly or more frequently as needed.
  • Coordinate and monitor the annual plan to meet the goals and objectives established for the selected policy areas.
  • Inform each department about the annual plan and their involvement in meeting the goals and objectives of the plan.
  • Create an annual report in partnership with the Sustainability Advisory Committee.

Responsibilities of all Departments

Each Department shall:

  • Cooperate with the Sustainability Advisory Committee by providing information and assistance necessary to meet the goals and objectives of this policy and the annual plans.
  • Implement the recommendations necessary to meet the goals and objectives of this policy and the annual plans.

What Can You Do?

The practices on this page are not just more sustainable, they will save you money. For more sustainability information explore the links below. This list includes a sample of useful websites; there are many others.

Building and construction

Whatever the size of your building or remodeling project, from painting a room to constructing a new house, you can choose materials that are healthier for you and your family to live with and are easier on the environment.

  • Green Development Resource Center - a collaborative effort between Metro, Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties and the City of Portland Office of Sustainable Development to provide comprehensive green building resources for residents, businesses and contractors throughout the region
  • Cascadia Region Green Building Council - a non-profit organization that promotes the design, construction and operation of buildings that are environmentally responsible, profitable and healthy places to live and work in Oregon, Washington and British Columbia.
  • The Rebuilding Center - purchase used building materials, donate materials or find out about deconstruction services.
  • Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Portland or Canby - purchase or donate new or used building materials.

Farmers markets and food

  • Canby Farmers Market Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. April - October, at the intersection of Hwy 99 and Sequoia Parkway
  • Clackamas Sunnyside Grange Farmers and Artists Market Sunday, 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., April to October
  • Estacada Farmers Market Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., May to October
  • Lake Oswego Farmers Market Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., mid May to mid October
  • Milwaukie Sunday Farmers Market Sunday, 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., mid May to October
  • Oregon City Farmers Market Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., May to October
  • West Linn Farmers Market Sundays, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., May to September
  • Fork it Over! - Metro's food donation program to reduce hunger and waste in the Portland area.
  • The Chefs Collaborative - a national network of chefs, restaurateurs and other culinary professionals who promote sustainable cuisine by teaching children, supporting local farmers, educating each other and inspiring their customers to choose clean, healthy foods.
  • Oregon Farmers Markets Association

Energy use

According to the Oregon Department of Energy, on average Oregonians spend 15% of their total energy use on their homes. The typical Oregon household spends about $165 a year just for showers and baths. Other typical expenses include:

  • Refrigerator: $90
  • Clothes washer: $60
  • Dishwasher: $47
  • Water heater heat loss: $75

You can make simple choices to reduce energy use.

Indoor air quality

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), scientific research shows that air within homes and other buildings can be more seriously polluted than the outdoor air in even the largest and most industrialized cities. Other research indicates that people spend approximately 90 percent of their time indoors. For many people, the risks to health may be greater due to exposure to air pollution indoors than outdoors.


In your yard and garden you can make choices that will save money, protect environmental resources and help beautify and preserve your community.

Local economy

Supporting local businesses helps to keep our community and our economy strong and sustainable.

Chambers of Commerce in Clackamas County:

Smart shopping


Your transportation choices have profound impacts on your life, on the environment, on public costs, and on the livability of our neighborhoods. Here are some tips and places to look for help making positive changes:


Bus, Max and Sreetcars

  • Trimet - information on routes and fares


  • Think about going car-free one or more days per week. Challenge yourself to something different--biking, walking, carpooling, or taking transit.
  • Ease up on the pedal. You could improve your mileage by anywhere from 10% to as much as 33% by accelerating slowly, coasting, and staying within the speed limit.
  • Link your trips. Keep a list of trips to make and plan them out to do as many at once as possible, or on the way to and from work.
  • Don't idle--all you'll get is zero miles per gallon. The best way to warm up your car on a cold morning is by driving at a moderate or slow speed, and accelerating gradually.
  • Slow down. Each five miles per hour over 60 mph has the same effect as paying 20 cents more per gallon of gas.
  • Size it right. Buy and drive the vehicle with greater fuel efficiency.

Waste reduction and recycling

Recycling is great, but reducing what you use and what you waste in the first place is an even better way to conserve resources and save money.

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