How Do You Divert 7 Tons of Waste in One Day?

Can you picture what an international airport garage sale might look like? Probably a lot like our fall cleanup at Portland International Airport.

It’s our event twice each year where PDX restaurants, shops and airlines drop-off their unwanted reusable or bulky items to be recycled or donated.

Airport tenants drop off stuff like tables, office chairs, old electronics, retail display shelves, kitchen equipment, decorations and yes, …even mannequins. Each event is different and notable items range from feather boas to a professional grade tomato slicer.

More than 10 tons of material was collected Nov. 9 from 52 tenants, and thanks to the sorting by the PDX Waste Management Team, seven tons was diverted from the landfill. Rebuilding Center, SCRAP PDX and Salvation Army brought trucks to pick up items for resale.

To further encourage reuse, we invite airport employees to come and “shop” the event for free. The collection and sorting takes place in a secure area of the airport. All told, employees from 56 different organizations stopped by and nearly 200 items found a new life, avoiding the landfill.

Cleanups are part of our broader waste minimization program at PDX. Port of Portland has a 15-year partnership with Portland State University’s Community Environmental Services program that gives student interns an opportunity to help solve real-world waste challenges.