Protecting Oregon's Environment
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Oregon Department of Environmental Quality

Land Quality 

Commercial Waste Reduction Clearinghouse

Setting Up A Program
Waste Reduction Strategies
Educate and Promote
Recognition and Funding
Success Stories
Commercial Laws and Regulations

Waste Reduction Strategies

Property Management and Realtors

Waste Prevention

Property Management

  • When doing construction/remodeling, contact local wood waste processors who accept construction/renovation debris for recycling.
  • Donate old furniture, office equipment, or outdated forms. These materials can be used by many non-profits, schools, or other organizations. Contact local homeless shelters or social service organizations for potential recipients.
  • Purchase reusable air filters or air filter frames. Completely reusable air filters require cleaning with hot water (no soap); reusable frames have a disposable filter insert. Some organizations have found it cost effective to hire a firm that replaces filter inserts on a regular schedule.
  • Purchase longer lasting light bulbs. Incandescent light sockets in exit sign can be converted to fluorescent. Check out availability of rebates from your electric company.
  • Purchase energy efficient plugs and sockets.

Realtors (From METRO)

  • Show your clients how to conduct searches on-line.
    Examples include the RMLS Internet site and PC Home Explorer. Some buyers will enjoy the opportunity to review listings at home on their computers and select properties that interest them. Instead of printing all possible listings, only a few need to be printed. Certain programs allow customers' requests to go directly to you.
  • Don't try to impress buyers with reams of listings.
    Develop a good understanding of what your client wants in advance and use the sort functions in RMLS to narrow down the choices. Then, print out only those listings that are a reasonably good fit.
  • Take pictures of properties with a digital camera.
    Digital cameras eliminate the need to process film and mail pictures to RMLS for listings. All you have to do is send the picture to RMLS electronically. That saves money and reduces the use of film processing chemicals. If you take a roll of 24 pictures every week, you can save $300 to $400 a year.
  • Ask the flyer distribution companies to deliver one set of flyers for the entire office instead of one set for each agent.
    ERA Tualatin Valley Real Estate eliminated at least 2,000 sheets of paper each month by making one set of flyers available to 16 agents.
  • Encourage double-sided copying.
    The copier at the Gresham branch of Oregon Realty is set to make double-sided copies. For single-sided copies, the setting has to be changed manually. Making double-sided copies also saves file space and postage, as larger documents weigh less. If you mail five 10-page documents in an average week, copying double-sided will save you $62/year in paper and postage.
  • Send property listings to your clients by e-mail.
    Compass Realty has made home buying easier for out-of-town clients and has saved paper and postage by using e-mail. Pictures and descriptions of properties can quickly and conveniently be sent by e-mail instead of mailing paper copies of listings. The RMLS intranet site also has e-mail capability.
  • Buy paper with recycled content.
    Century 21 Columbia Realty and ERA Tualatin Valley Real Estate buy recycled copy paper, computer paper and paper towels. Oregon First buys recycled content envelopes and file folders. Century 21 Columbia Realty also buys recycled stationery. Letterhead is printed with the recycling symbol to illustrate the company's concern for the environment.
  • Buy remanufactured toner cartridges.
    Century 21 Columbia Realty has closed the loop on toner cartridge reuse. The firm buys remanufactured toner cartridges from Northwest Laser and then sends the old cartridges back to be remanufactured and sold again. Remanufactured toner cartridges are used by many professionals in the area and typically cost $20 to $50 less than new cartridges.
  • Reuse paper for draft documents and internal memos.
    The Beckers with the Portland West office of Oregon Realty Co. reuse approximately two reams of paper each month by printing on the back side of promotional flyers. This saves about $50 a year in paper costs. Oregon First also uses the back side of paper for internal memos.
  • Reuse boxes.
    The Gresham office of John L. Scott Realty saves old boxes and gives them to clients when they are moving. This reduces waste and provides a valuable customer service.
  • Use voice mail to leave notices.
    At the Gresham office of John L. Scott Realty, information such as new listings and schedules for continuing education classes are left on voice mail rather than printed notices. This saves at least 250 pieces of paper a week and $300 to $500 each year in paper and copying costs.
  • Use the back side of promotional flyers.
    Agents at the Gresham branch of Oregon Realty are encouraged to use the back side of the promotional flyers that they leave at sale properties. The back side is used for information such as the agent's resume, other properties for sale or general information.
  • Circulate or post notices.
    All notices at the Gresham office of John L. Scott Realty are posted on a bulletin board instead of being distributed to each agent. In an office of 20 people, posting a one-page weekly notice rather than making copies will save as much as $50 in paper and copy costs a year.
  • Start a recycling program.
    Employees at Century 21 Columbia Realty learn about the company's recycling program for mixed waste paper, newspaper and aluminum beverage containers on their first day during new employee orientation. Making recycling easy and convenient is a key to success. RE/MAX Prefered's recycling rate for white paper jumped from 20% to  80% when small desk-side recycling containers were placed in every office.
  • Involve the entire office in the program.
    Make sure everyone has clear, easy-to-follow instructions on what and how to recycle (and what not to recycle). During one staff meeting each month employees of ERA Tualatin Valley Real Estate are asked for suggestions on how to improve the waste reduction program.
  • Let your clients know about local opportunities to prevent waste and recycle.
    The Beckers with the Portland West office of Oregon Realty Co. have handed out more than 100 Metro/PMAR "Green Kits" to clients. The kits are packed with information on everything from how to recycle curbside to alternatives to pesticides. The Beckers also include helpful suggestions on how clients can help the environment in their periodic client mailer.


  • Use recycled and recyclable materials when making repairs.
  • Obtain and recycle material through material exchanges. Materials exchanges help businesses and institutions locate markets for materials they have traditionally discarded and to find materials suitable for reuse.
  • Contact local wood waste processors who accept construction/renovation debris for recycling.
  • Recycling paper, corrugated cardboard and other items generated in large quantities can sometimes be sold for income. Ask your waste hauler to reduce the number of trash pick ups as the volume of trash decreases.
  • Make recycling available to building tenants. Let them know that by keeping garbage pick up fees down through recycling, you will be able to keep rent costs from rising.
  • Set up a "Box Exchange" for tenants by storing flattened cardboard boxes for residents to use when moving or donate when they are moving in.


For tips on composting and waste prevention through environmentally friendly landscaping practices go to: Waste Reduction Tips for Landscaping.

For more information visit these web sites:

  • Composting Council of Canada
  • Composting News
  • Internet Recycling and Composting Resource Page
  • Recyclers World central composting category
  • US EPA composting
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For more information about DEQ's Land Quality programs, visit the DEQ contact page.

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality
Headquarters: 700 NE Multnomah Street, Suite 600, Portland, OR 97232
Phone: 503-229-5696 or toll free in Oregon 1-800-452-4011
Oregon Telecommunications Relay Service: 1-800-735-2900  FAX: 503-229-6124

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality is a regulatory agency authorized to protect Oregon's environment by
the State of Oregon and the Environmental Protection Agency.

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