Global demand for materials and products, from building supplies to food and water, is increasing rapidly, bringing significant impacts to Washington County community members, businesses and the environment. Oregon law recognizes the limits of our environment’s ability to absorb the impacts of increasing consumption while meeting human needs and maintaining healthy, vibrant and prosperous communities. To guide future action in managing our waste, the State of Oregon has adopted a new vision for 2050:
“Oregonians in 2050 produce and use materials responsibly, conserving resources, protecting the environment, and living well.”
-2050 Vision for Materials Management in Oregon
This vision challenges Washington County to take into account the full impacts of materials throughout their life cycle and invites us to focus our work so that it will have the greatest impact.
Food is one example of that focus. When food is wasted, so too are the water, land, energy, time and financial resources required to get food to our homes and onto our family’s dinner table. We all have the power to manage our materials in a way that supports human health and well-being and builds a resilient environment.
Wasted Food at Home
In 2016, the amount of edible and inedible food scraps from approximately 110,000 Washington County households was measured. The results showed that about 17,000 tons (34 million pounds) of edible food was wasted — disposed of and not eaten.