Home Back Issues October 2010 Group turns trash into treasure

Group turns trash into treasure

| Print |  Email
Articles - October 2010
Tuesday, September 28, 2010

 

ResourceFull Use
ResourceFull Use holds "speed dating" meetings with business leaders to talk about how companies can recycle their waste. // PHOTO COURTESY OF ZERO WASTE ALLIANCE

A group of Portland-area business strategists are encouraging companies to dump their waste on others as a way to save money.

ResourceFull Use, founded in 2007, is a pilot resource exchange project that looks for ways to make one business’ trash another business’ gain instead of disposing of it at financial and environmental cost. Metro estimates more than 575,000 tons of waste are produced annually by Metro-area businesses.

The idea of resource exchanging in the Northwest isn’t new. Imex.com, based in Washington, is a sort of Craigslist for businesses searching for materials that would otherwise go to the dump. But “passive exchanging does not work as well as active exchanges,” says Dorothy Atwood, co-founder of ResourceFull Use and an employee of the Zero Waste Alliance. She values a more active approach, like her group organizes.

“It’s like speed dating,” Atwood says of ResourceFull Use’s workshops that bring together area business leaders. “You talk to one person for one minute and then switch. In 20 minutes you’ve talked to 20 people.”

Past workshops in the Portland area have led to ripped hotel sheets turned into prison linens and airport runway paint transferred to an auto body shop for use in a parking lot. A similar program in Seattle  has led to over $390,000 in annual savings for participating businesses and 3,663 tons of material diverted annually.

But there are obstacles. ResourceFull currently has a limited scope. “You have to have critical mass and you need a way to track it to make it really work,” Atwood says. Atwood hopes to increase the number of these workshops in the future to get out the word that there is value in what businesses are tossing.

PETER BELAND
 

More Articles

Who said we should sell in May?

Contributed Blogs
Friday, July 18, 2014
BullMarketBY JASON NORRIS | OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

Back in May, we shared a common Wall Street quote about investing, “Sell in May and go away.” Fast forward to July and the most common question we have been getting from clients is, “When is the market pullback going to occur?”


Read more...

Community colleges and sustainability

Contributed Blogs
Thursday, July 31, 2014
sustainabilityBY MARY SPILDE | OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

Faced with the aftermath of the “great recession,” increasing concern about the environment and dwindling family wage jobs, we have some very important choices to make about our future.


Read more...

Updated: Disrupting innovation

News
Tuesday, July 08, 2014
070814 thumb disputive-innovationBY LINDA BAKER  | OB EDITOR

The New Yorker recently published a sharply worded critique of “disruptive innovation,” one of the most widely cited theories in the business world today. The article raises questions about the descriptive value of disruption and innovation  — whether the terms are mere buzzwords or actually explain today's extraordinarily complex and fast changing business environment. 

Update: We caught up with Portland's Thomas Thurston, who shared his data driven take on the disruption controversy.


Read more...

The Scott Kveton affair

News
Wednesday, July 09, 2014
ScottKvetonBY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Scott Kveton, the CEO of Urban Airship is taking a leave of absence from the company. As the story continues to unfold, here’s our perspective on a few of the key players.


Read more...

Oversight? Or gaming the system?

News
Monday, July 14, 2014
AmazonBY VIVIAN MCINERNY | OB BLOGGER

Some people think Amazon’s winking eye logo is starting to look like a hoodwink.


Read more...

Why I became an Oregon angel investor

Guest Blog
Monday, July 14, 2014
AngelInvestBY TERRY "STARBUCKER" ST. MARIE

I really didn’t know that much about angel investing, but I did know a lot about the entrepreneurial spirit.


Read more...

Attack of the Robin Sages

Contributed Blogs
Monday, July 07, 2014
070714 thumb linkedinfakesBY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER

Named after the 2010 experiment by Thomas Ryan, "Robin Sages" are fake social media profiles designed to encourage linking and divulging valuable information.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS