Oregon Businesses Honor Earth Day

Published Monday, April 22, 2019

April 22 is Earth Day – a day to celebrate ways to help the environment and keep our planet healthy for the future.

Oregon businesses care about the Earth and work every day to help the environment. On Earth Day 2019, we’re listing a few ways Oregon employers take care of the place we call home. 

Georgia-Pacific

  • Each year, the Georgia-Pacific mill in Toledo, Oregon, recycles nearly 500,000 tons of old corrugated containers – essentially old cardboard boxes. The Toledo mill is the largest recycling facility on the entire west coast.
  • Recycling these old cardboard boxes provide paper for new boxes that package a wide variety of goods like fresh produce, appliances, and even the ones that show up on your doorstep from that order you placed online.
  • For the 450 men and women who work at the mill, every day is Earth Day. 

Greenbrier Gunderson, Portland

  • Employees built a 1,000 square foot habitat roof on-site, the first of its kind in the surrounding industrial area, called the eco-roof biodiversity project. The water-efficient landscaping requires little irrigation, forming an island of habitat for a broad population of insects and birds.
  • Since Greenbrier Gunderson in Portland is located on the banks of the Willamette River, the company takes extra care to prevent harm to the river’s delicate ecosystem with environmental restoration on the waterfront. Gunderson volunteers cleared riverbanks of invasive plants making the banks the ideal home to 2,000 native plants and trees to sustain the restored habitat.
  • In 2017, all indoor and outdoor lighting, covering nearly 1 million square feet in total, was replaced with high-efficiency LED lights. The new LED lighting at the facility results in a roughly 2 million-Kilowatt reduction annually, which is a 61 % reduction in light energy consumption at the plant. 

Freres Lumber Company

  • Freres Lumber’s latest innovation, Mass Plywood Panel, uses 20 % less wood because it is made of structural composite lumber. The product produces fewer CO2 emissions than other building materials and is renewable.
  • Freres Lumber promotes energy efficiency by using low-energy lighting in all its buildings, premium efficiency motors in its veneer plant and moisture detectors to use less steam.
  • Vehicles at Freres Lumber are efficient, too. Some diesel trucks have been replaced with propane and the company uses electric vehicles.
  • The company recycles many items, including wood, water, oil, paper, cardboard, rubber and solvents. 

NW Natural

  • NW Natural’s Low Carbon Pathway is a goal of 30 % carbon savings by 2035.
  • Several projects, including with the City of Portland’s Columbia Boulevard Wastewater Treatment Plant and Eugene/Springfield’s Metropolitan Wastewater Management Commission, use renewable natural gas. Renewable natural gas is made from biogas released by organic materials as they decompose. 
  • NW Natural is working on Senate Bill 98 to enable natural gas utilities to acquire renewable natural gas on behalf of Oregon retail customers.
  • The company is pursuing putting Renewable Hydrogen or Power-to-Gas into the NW Natural system. The process captures surplus wind and solar energy and converts it to natural gas or hydrogen through electrolysis.
  • NW Natural enrolls customers in the Smart Energy carbon offset program. 

Pacific Power

  • Pacific Power employees participate in the Portland Trail Blazers’ Live Greener Challenge, which encourages individuals and businesses in the community to reduce their environmental impact using simple actions that add up to real change in the categories of waste, food, transportation, energy and water.
  • Pacific Power is participating in the Earth Day parade in Bend.
  • On Earth Day Pacific Power is participating in SOLV It for Earth Day – Alberta Street Clean Up in Portland. On April 20, Pacific Power sponsored the Clatsop County United Way Day of Caring (part of the SOLVE Earth Day cleanup events) in the North Coast area.
  • Ongoing Pacific Power programs promote environmental stewardship, including:
    • 30 % renewable energy
    • Help migratory fish navigate around dams, raise 8 million fish annually and open up 106 miles of salmon and steelhead habitat
    • 15,156 acres of elk habitat preservation, 46,000 acres of wildlife habitat preserve
    • 13,000 trees and shrubs planted annually
    • 695 wind turbines power 74,000 homes
    • 9,000 poles giving birds a safe place to nest
    • Reduced CO2 emissions by 7.8 million short tons since 2013 

Lochmead Farms and DariMart

  • Lochmead installed solar panels on its dairy processing plant and about half of the company’s 44 DariMart convenience stores from Albany to Cottage Grove.
  • The company finished converting 90 % of its buildings to LED lighting.
  • In nearly 1,000 refrigerator units, Lochmead installed power management collectors to manage the flow of power and prevent electricity spikes.
  • All food containers, with the exception of fountain cups, are compostable.
  • Lochmead operates a methane digester that converts methane into enough electricity to power 350 homes per year. 

Daimler Trucks North America

  • DTNA completely eliminated sending any waste to the landfill from any manufacturing plants in 2016, achieving the goal of zero waste to landfills.
  • Daimler achieved ISO 1400 1 Certifications, the most commonly used framework for environmental management systems, at every plant. Since the end of 2018, the company has required that all DTNA suppliers also be ISO 1400 1 certified.
  • The company achieved Platinum certification through the U.S. Department of Energy for superior energy performance. It converted to 99 % LED lighting last year. Between 2004 and 2014, it reduced energy consumption by more than 32 % while increasing production 93%. 

International Paper

  • Each year, International Paper’s mill in Springfield recycles enough cardboard from consumers here in our region to fill 167 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
  • If each bale of recyclable cardboard that gets recycled by International Paper’s Springfield paper mill were a human, IP would fill the seats in Autzen Stadium for every single home football game. 

Recology

  • Recology supports artists who create beautiful works of art from materials that have been thrown away. Recology Artist in Residence Programs support artists who encourage everyone to see discarded materials in a new light and reflect on our own consumption practices.
  • In December 2018, Recology began accepting Styrofoam at its McMinnville transfer station, which has been well-received by the community.
  • Recology provides recycle presentations for the community to increase recycling efforts and teach proper recycling. It gives presentations to many different parts of the community, including schools, organizations, business, social groups and rotary.
  • Conducts waste audits for businesses, schools and residents to improve understanding of waste habits and opportunities to waste less.
  • Recology offers tours of its facilities (transfer stations, compost facilities and material recovery facilities) so people have an understanding of where their waste goes and how it’s handled.
  • The company attends community events and with a booth with flyers and answer recycle questions.
  • A new campaign, Whatbin.com, is being launched on the Oregon coast and the Willamette Valley to help residents know what bin to put their material in.
  • Recology limits toxics in the workplace and encourages customers to use more sustainable, environmentally friendly products through the green purchasing program.
  • Fleet vehicles use biodiesel, and the company is also looking into the use of renewable diesel.
  • Recology uses routing software to increase efficiency in hauling operations. This reduces the amount of fuel used and impacts of trucks on highways.
  • LED lighting is installed in offices and operational facilities wherever possible.
  • Recology partners with communities to start food scraps recycling programs, turning residential food scraps into compost as a high-quality soil amendment, instead of ending up in the landfill.
  • Recology invests in stormwater treatment systems to protect Oregon’s waters and lessen industrial impacts.