Waste company City of Roses comes to campus

City of Roses (COR) has replaced Lewis & Clark’s Waste Management, the college’s former disposable waste removal company.

COR is a local, Black and family-owned company focused on reducing societal waste and diverting wasteful thinking. 

The previous company used by LC was one of the largest waste management companies in America.

COR is the only B-Corporation waste company in the United States. B-Corp certified companies are companies that are mindful while still making profit and commit to a sustainable, diverse company model. To get this certification, companies take the B Impact Assessment which measures the company’s “impact on its workers, community, environment, customers, and company structure.” Being a B-Corp certified company illustrates that COR is dedicated to environmental and community sustainability. 

COR’s mission is to divert reusable and recyclable waste from local landfills by reducing waste streams and building a circular economy. A circular economy is a model of production and consumption where recyclable and reusable materials are brought back into the economy through leasing, repairing and reusing existing items that would otherwise end up in landfills or be recycled. According to their website, COR contributes to “building a circular economy by reintroducing recyclable material back into the supply chain.” 

Director of Sustainability at Amy Dvorak described the company, founded in 1995 by Alonzo Simpson, as the growing, “cool kid” in sustainable waste removal that has a model geared toward sustainability. 

Usually, haulers own or operate the landfills that they bring the waste to, so they make money off of clients’ waste going into said landfill. Because they do not own the recycling facilities, the companies do not profit from diverting waste meant for their landfill to recycling facilities. Consequently, they have no incentive to encourage or help divert waste from trash to lower the amount headed for landfills. COR, on the other hand, owns a recycling facility, a 12 acre site in East Multnomah County, referred to as their “Material Recovery Facility” which motivates the company to encourage clients to produce less landfill waste and divert it into recycling.  

According to Dvorak, chief operating officer of COR  Alando Simpson sent an email to LC detailing the amount of waste and recycling it is producing and ways to lower it. 

Dvorak was enthusiastic when she discussed Simpson, COR’s chief executive officer, who is trying to create a circular economy in Portland. Simpson has spoken to the sustainability and entrepreneurship class, a course offered by the Bates Center for Entrepreneurship at LC. 

“Every year people are blown away by what he is talking about,” Dvorak said. 

His discussion topics range from creating a circular economy to the environmental impacts of waste disposal. 

According to Dvorak, COR accomplishes its mission by finding individuals and organizations in the Portland community that make use of materials that would otherwise be thrown away. 

COR offered multiple ideas of actions LC could take to reduce the food waste produced. Dvorak mentioned a hazelnut farm that could take food waste produced on campus and turn it into compost for their trees. LC could then hypothetically purchase the hazelnuts that were grown in the soil made from the school’s food waste, contributing to a local circular economy. 

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