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Environmental Center’s Rethink Waste Project makes five Community Innovation Fund spring grants

Rethink Waste
The Environmental Center
Central Oregon Locavore container reuse system
Rethink Waste Project
Central Oregon Locavore used a past Rethink Waste grant to implement a container reuse system

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The Environmental Center’s Rethink Waste Project offers three opportunities throughout the year to apply for the Community Innovation Fund, and just announced its five spring recipients.

CIF is a funding program that supports individuals, businesses, and community organizations throughout Deschutes County advance projects that aim to reduce, reuse, recycle, compost waste. The Environmental Center also provides support to help successfully plan, implement, and evaluate projects.

Here are the recipients of the Spring 2023 CIF:

The High Desert Food and Farm Alliance (HDFFA) will expand the capacity of their established program, Grow & Give (G&G), a fresh food drive that has diverted 130,945 lbs of excess produce from local farms to food pantries since 2016. HDFFA will utilize four insulated coolers to increase excess food donations from community gardens, gleans, and farmers markets.

Bend-La Pine Schools (BLS) will implement a reusable dishware program for BLS events. BLS will distribute several dishware kits in multiple schools throughout the district reducing waste with each use, there will also be a large kit available for use at larger events.

Worthy Environmental will expand their food waste diversion efforts with the addition of an on-site compost tumbler, the compost will be used on the farm to build soil and feed the plants to grow healthy food. Once the new closed-loop system is up and running, Worthy Environmental will host regular workshops and hands-on compost demonstrations.

Mt. Bachelor Village will expand their recycling education efforts to the Ski Houses, an additional 130 units. The focus is to improve the quality and quantity of recycled materials, specifically reducing plastic contamination, by providing in-unit recycling bins and recycling guides, and adding recycling signage in the community collection areas.

Cascades Academy student honors project will divert food waste from the school lunchroom by introducing a collection system and compost tumbler. The finished compost will be used in an herb garden, and signage will be incorporated to help students and teachers learn more about the system.

Congratulations to these community organizations and local businesses, and keep up the great work!

Do you have an idea for reducing waste in your neighborhood, workplace, school, your favorite park or restaurant, or other community space, but aren’t sure how to get started? Apply for the Rethink Waste Community Innovation Fund to receive project support and funding! The next application deadline is July 1. Learn more and apply at! Questions? Contact

The Community Innovation Fund is a program of The Environmental Center’s Rethink Waste Project in partnership with Deschutes County Solid Waste and Visit Central Oregon. The Rethink Waste Project envisions a community that understands the upstream and downstream impacts of using Earth's resources and makes responsible decisions about the consumption, use, and disposal of materials.


About The Environmental Center

The Environmental Center’s mission is to embed sustainability into daily life in Central Oregon. We translate sustainability into practical, local action in order to create a healthy future for people and the planet. We are focused on building community, educating kids, revolutionizing energy, rethinking waste, and advocating for change. Learn more at or by visiting our facility at 16 NW Kansas Ave. in downtown Bend, Oregon.

Article Topic Follows: Environment

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