Educate and Promote
Executive Overview - Commercial Survey
The 1995 Legislature directed the Department of Environmental Quality
(DEQ) to review existing legislation and report back to the 1997
Legislature on any recommended changes in source reduction and recycling
measurement. In response, DEQ implemented the "Budget Note Process".
The DEQ hired Riley Research Associates, a consulting firm, in March
1996 to design and conduct a public opinion telephone survey of
households and commercial operations statewide. The purpose of the study
was to gain baseline information on the practices, knowledge, and
attitudes of Oregonians towards solid waste source reduction, recycling,
composting, and disposal. The information from the study helped us shape
the Budget Note recommendations.
- The main reasons organizations cite for recycling are that "it's
good for the environment," "it saves money on disposal," and "it's
the right thing to do."
- The items that make up the largest part of a typical
organization's waste stream include office paper, corrugated
cardboard and other paper.
- The type of site has a close relationship to the amount and type
of waste produced by the organization. Offices and
schools/institutions are biggest producers of office paper waste.
Retail shops, food-oriented warehouses and restaurants are the
biggest producers of cardboard waste.
- Items that are most commonly recycled include corrugated
cardboard, scrap metals, scrap lumber, wood pallets/other wood,
office paper, and rigid plastics (in order of percentage of
companies that state they recycle the material).
- Items commonly disposed include non-wood building materials,
food waste, plastic film or wrap, paper packaging, and non-office
- A majority of the organizations that do not recycle office paper
stated they do not because "no service is available" or because of
the "time and effort" required. A majority of organizations that do
not recycle scrap metal or cardboard stated they do not because "no
service is available." A majority of those who do not recycle scrap
lumber stated they do not because it is "inconvenient."
- Items that are most commonly recycled at no cost to the
organization include scrap lumber and other wood, pallets, office
paper, plastic film or wrap, rigid plastic, corrugated cardboard,
paper packaging, and non-office paper. Items for which organizations
most often pay to recycle include building materials and food waste.
Approximately half of those who recycle scrap metal get paid for
- Majorities of recyclers as well as non-recyclers appear
unwilling to pay for additional recycling services.
- The majority of the organizations surveyed said they are aware
of the State's goal to recycle 50% of its waste by the year 2000,
and are also aware that landfills are not allowed to accept tires,
appliances, automobiles, and lead acid batteries.
- An overwhelming majority supported the State's goal of recycling
50% of its waste (96% strongly or somewhat supporting, with 72%
strongly supporting it) as well as most of the landfill bans
discussed. It should be noted that 52% do not support banning yard
debris from landfills (there is less opposition in Portland and the
I-5 corridor). There is strong support for a ban of recyclables in
- A large majority (78%) of food-oriented establishments agree
that there is a need for recycling of food waste.
- A majority of organizations (84%) support a goal of reducing
their waste by one-fourth, with 55% strongly supporting this goal.
For a copy of the full survey, please contact DEQ's Solid Waste
Policy and Program Development Section.