Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

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Welcome Mini Max!

Thanks for your support for our new initiative for Sustainability! We have been piloting this program throughout the district and are now moving into the implementation phase. We appreciate your willingness to test this system out, provide feedback through our online survey, and help shape how PCC handles its waste in effort to meet our Climate Action Plan goals. 

Hi, I'm Mini Max! Cartoon garbage can

The initiative is called the Mini-Max System, co-sponsored by the Sustainability Office and the Custodial Department that we are implementing college-wide. The Mini-Max trash bins are little black boxes that hang on the side of your desk-side recycling bins (in place of what used to be your normal desk-side trash bins). 

How it works:

Photo of a real mini max on a recycling can
  • Your desk-side trash can is replaced with the Mini Max can. Place your landfill garbage into the Mini-Max, and all your recyclable materials into your normal desk-side recycling bin. 
  •  When they're full, or when you want them emptied, take them to the closest centralized trash and recycling area and empty them. Custodians will continue to empty these larger units daily. 
  • We are suggesting that people take their food and wet trash directly to their central bins, to avoid dirtying the Mini Max. This also helps reduce pest issues! No liners will be provided though reusable towels for cleaning will be available.
  • Once you have your Mini Max, the custodians will no longer empty your desk-side container; you will need to do it yourself. 

Why we are doing this:

  • The program is intended to help meet PCC's sustainability goals.
    • Studies suggest that when people handle their own waste, they are more mindful of it and ultimately produce less waste and/or recycle more. 
    • In fact, a Recycling at Work study found that mini trash cans improved recycling by 20%!
  • It reduces plastic consumption. 
    • Most trash cans hold plastic liners. District-wide there are approximately 1,400 desk-side trash cans, which means up to 7,000 plastic liners go to landfill each week. 
    • Eliminating the desk-side trash cans and the need to purchase liners will divert nearly 15,000 pounds of plastic from the landfill alone, totaling almost fifteen metric tons of CO2 annually (which is like taking four cars off the road for one year). 
  • Custodians have more time to focus on other cleaning tasks.
    • Custodians have the responsibility of taking care of all the buildings on campus and cleaning up after more than 90,000 students, faculty and staff (on an annual basis). 
    • Per campus, they spend 8-12 hours a day/40-60 hours a week emptying desk-side trash cans, most of which hold only a few items. 
    • Centralized trash collection will cut this time significantly, allowing custodians to focus on other important work, such as cleaning restrooms and dining areas and tackling deep cleaning. No custodial positions will be eliminated as a result of this initiative. 

Please provide your feedback via our survey here. Thanks for your support of this initiative!

Recycling & Waste Management Program

PCC has over 600 classroom recycling bins, 42 outdoor recycling collection stations, 30 indoor recycling collection stations, and some 2,500 signs installed.

Outdoor Public Space Recycling

  1. Trash/Landfill (soda beverage cups, to-go containers, coffee cups, plastic film, foods, liquids, lids, caps, napkins, paper plates)
  2. Glass (glass bottles and glass jars)
  3. Plastic Bottles, and Cans (aluminum and tin cans, plastic bottles and tubs)
  4. Mixed Paper & Cardboard (cardboard, newspaper, office paper)

Indoor Public Space Recycling

  1. Trash/Landfill (soda beverage cups, to-go containers, coffee cups, plastic film, foods, liquids, lids, caps, napkins, paper plates)
  2. Glass (glass bottles and glass jars)
  3. Plastic Bottles, and Cans (aluminum and tin cans, plastic bottles and tubs)
  4. Mixed Paper & Cardboard (cardboard, newspaper, office paper)

Classroom Recycling

  • Accepted: Aluminum and tin cans, plastic bottles and tubs, cardboard, newspaper, office paper.
  • Classroom recycling is comingled: all recyclables go in one container.
  • Not accepted (trash): coffee cups, foods or liquids, lids and caps, napkins and paper plates, and "NO GLASS IN CLASS!"
Read the College's Solid Waste Management Policy

PCC Recycling Guide

PCC Recycling Guide

Download the PCC Recycling Guide

Diverting Food Waste

The Sylvania kitchen is implementing a new pre-consumer food waste diversion pilot. Although this is a behind-the-scenes process, commercial composting is an extremely important part of reducing waste. 5 gallon buckets are being filled (at upwards of 10 per day so far), and food waste is now being diverted from the landfill on a large scale at the Sylvania Campus. Three 60 gallon rollcarts have been filled to the brim since the beginning of the pilot. It's estimated that this is around 600lbs of compostable food and fiber in one week. Dining Services is committed to sustainability!

Composting at Rock Creek

Rock Creek has been composting for years. All of their post-consumer waste is sorted between compostable and non-compostable.

Use a Mug and Save

Bring a mug to PCC coffee & soda stands and get more beverage at a 5 cent discount. Rock Creek's waste analysis in January 2006 found that disposable beverage cups took up 12% of dumpster space. You can help! If everyone brought a reusable mug to campus for one week, we would keep over 50,000 cups out of the trash.

Need a mug? Look for mug boards near your campus cafeteria! On these boards, you will find clean reusable mugs hanging on hooks for your use. Grab a mug, use the mug and return it to be washed by food services.

Solid Waste Assessment Report

As part of PCC's contract with Community Environmental Services (CES), the college requested in May 2013 that they conduct a landfill-bound waste assessment for our four largest locations: Sylvania, Cascade, Southeast Campus, and Rock Creek. (CES is a research and service unit within the Center for Urban Studies at Portland State University.) Download the PCC Solid Waste Assessment Report