Question 1: What is Trash for Peace?
Trash for Peace is a 501 c3 nonprofit organization founded in Portland in 2012. The mission is to educate communities about sustainability through hands-on learning and functional art. We focus on all aspects of sustainability, which includes environmental, economic, and social well-being. Each year, we work directly with over 300 youth and divert over 1,000 plastic bottles, bottle caps, plastic bags, and other items from the landfill.
Question 2: What is Trash for Peace doing in and around Portland?
We have two main programs. The first is a Sustainability Education Program that is in partnership with low-income housing organizations and other community organizations that serve underprivileged communities. Our programming occurs on-site at properties throughout the greater Portland area, mostly NE and East County, and focuses on youth and families. It rotates between waste reduction and recycling education through functional art, gardening and renewable energy education, and nutrition education through zero waste cooking classes. We also have a pop-up zero waste café on Thursdays that serves to teach business and job skills to older youth that participate in our programs.
Our second program is in-schools (locally, nationally, and internationally), where we build recycle bins out of trash and do other hands-on and innovative activities in the classroom to educate about waste reduction and sustainability. We also consult with businesses to help reduce waste using creativity and innovation.
Question 3: How can local businesses benefit or get involved with Trash for Peace?
There are many ways! Businesses can email us at [email protected] to have us do a hands-on and engaging workshop or training with staff, our team can consult on how to reduce their waste, or they can sponsor our programming on low-income housing sites across the region. We are currently working with 5 housing properties and hoping to expand to more! Please check out our website at www.trashforpeace.org for more information.
Question 4: What items should people be reducing, reusing, and recycling that they aren’t now?
Plastic waste is by far the most difficult item to recycle and never truly decomposes, often creating severe environmental problems. The best way to reduce it is to avoid buying plastic bags and water bottles and use a reusable water bottle and tap water whenever possible–you will also save money doing this!
Recycle your food! Food waste is about 45% of most Americans’ trash, and it can be turned into great compost for your garden!
Think before you toss! Many items can be easily fixed instead of throwing them out, and be creative! You can make a beautiful coat hanger out of wood from old bed bunk or fence frames, toilet paper rolls make excellent bird feeders, and yogurt containers make great seed starters. Email us or check out our Facebook page for even more ideas, and www.oregonmetro.gov can answer any and all recycling questions as well.
Question 5: How can individuals get involved/ volunteer with Trash for Peace?
We are ALWAYS looking for more volunteers to assist us with weekly programming. We love to have more ideas, perspectives, and creativity to help make our programming as enriching as possible. The best way to get involved is to email our Director, Laura, at [email protected]