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PDX To Offer Reusable Plates And Utensils To Help Reduce Single-Use Plastic

<p>The Portland International Airport is pictured Feb. 11, 2015, in Portland, Ore.</p>

Alan Sylvestre

The Portland International Airport is pictured Feb. 11, 2015, in Portland, Ore.

Portland International Airport is implementing a new green policy later this month that officials say will help reduce single-use plastic products. It’s an extension of a pilot program that Port of Portland officials say was successful.

The Green Plate Program gives travelers and employees the option of having their food "for here" and receiving their meals on reusable plates and utensils. The program was first piloted in early 2017 and was successful in the pre-security food cart areas.

“We think this is a really good example on how we’re focused on reducing single-use plastics,” said Port of Portland’s media relations manager Kama Simmonds.

The airport has been working to reduce landfill waste for years with programs such as the PDX Food Donation Program and annual spring and fall cleanups, which allow tenants and airlines to drop unneeded business furniture, displays and electronics to be donated and recycled.

“We’re trying to look more holistically at the amount of waste generated by the airport and work collaboratively with our airport partners and the concessionaires to try to reduce and eliminate that waste,” Simmonds said.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality jointly funded the pilot project with a materials management grant in 2017. In the Port of Portland’s 2016-17 environmental report, results from the pilot program show a 73% reduction in to-go packaging waste, 374 pounds of food waste collected and composted, and 10,000 dishes reused.

The program is set to begin at the end of August.

Another West Coast airport is also working on reducing the use of plastic, as San Francisco International will be banning the sale of plastic water bottles later this month.

Copyright 2019 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Monica Samayoa is a reporter with OPB’s Science & Environment unit. Before OPB, Monica was an on-call general assignment reporter at KQED in San Francisco. She also helped produce The California Report and KQED Newsroom. Monica holds a bachelor's degree in Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts from San Francisco State University.