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NeighborImpact gets $50K from DEQ to cut food waste


The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality’s Materials Management program has awarded $600,000 in grant funding to 16 local governments, schools and nonprofits after the most competitive application process in the grant program’s history, the agency said Monday.

The funding covers projects that reduce material use, reuse materials, and recover wastes through recycling.

“Oregon’s sustainable materials management program has aggressive goals to create a future in which Oregonians produce and use materials responsibly, leading to healthier communities and a healthier planet,” says Richard Whitman, DEQ director. “We can’t do this alone, and our grant program helps bolster existing programs and fund new projects that move us toward that goal.”

NeighborImpact, a 21 Cares for Kids partner, received $50,000 to distribute food to over 25,000 residents each month, preventing the wasting of 50 tons of food per month.

Some other examples of funded projects include:

— Preventing wasted food by installing milk dispensers in public schools within Marion County and reducing plate size in Southern Oregon University’s residential dining hall.
— Funding to support recycling infrastructure in rural communities, such as a project to buy new equipment that will quadruple a mattress recycling operation in Klamath Falls.
— Funding to Heartwood ReSources for heavy equipment to support an additional used building material store in Grants Pass.

The majority of this year’s projects serve economically distressed communities–which was an intention of this year’s grant program.

“Oregon Food Bank thanks DEQ’S Materials Management Grant Program for investing in our grocery rescue program, Fresh Alliance,” says Maggie Bonjean, from the Oregon Food Bank, which received a $35,000 grant. “This year, Fresh Alliance will divert 6 million pounds of food from landfills and place it in the hands of hungry individuals and families across our service area. Partnerships like this help build a sustainable future for our environment and community.”

DEQ has awarded more than $8 million in materials management grants since 1991. The program helps the state advance toward its 2050 Vision for Materials Management, and plays a critical role in engaging Oregon communities in sustainable materials management practices, which involves using and reusing resources most productively and sustainably throughout their life cycles to minimizing the amount of materials involved and all the associated environmental impacts. More information about DEQ’s Materials Management program and grants are available at

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