PORTLAND, Ore. — The Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC) recently received two awards for its commitment to sustainability. The DOC received a Portland Business Journal Innovation in Sustainability Award in November 2014, as well as the Governor’s Sustainability Award from Business Oregon in December 2014.
The Portland Business Journal honored the DOC with a 2014 Innovation in Sustainability Award in the waste category for the department’s ongoing commitment to recycling. The DOC has developed a fully operational recycling center that collects all recyclables from each of its 14 prisons. This center recycles everything from ballistic vests used by officers to metals to shoes.
At the Northwest Environmental Conference hosted in Portland on Dec. 10, Secretary of State Kate Brown also presented the DOC with the Governor’s Sustainability Award. The DOC was one of only two recipients honored with the award, which promotes and advances the use of sustainable practices in government and the private sector. The award specifically recognized the DOC’s completion of energy audits at five of its facilities; creation of site-specific plans for operation improvements, capital projects and behavioral activities; use of integrated and natural pest management practices; implementation of green chemistry initiatives at its facilities; leasing of land to food banks and no charge to grow produce; development of gardens at all 14 department prisons, yielding more than 210,000 pounds of produce in 2013 alone; and initiation of significant wildlife and habitat conservation activities, including restoration work and providing habitat for the Oregon Silverspot butterfly and sage grouse, according to the DOC.
“[The] DOC is a large organization, spanning across the state, with over 5 million square feet of facilities,” DOC Director Colette S. Peters said in a statement. “We take seriously our responsibility to mitigate the carbon footprint in Oregon. We are honored and humbled to receive these awards, which celebrate our commitment to achieving long-term sustainability goals.”
In January 2014, the DOC also released a sustainability plan in which Peters and other DOC officials outlined strategies to decrease environmental strain.
“The department recognizes the need for conservation and the efficient use of our resources every day,” Peters wrote in the report. “We are committed to being good stewards of the earth’s natural resources and reducing impacts to the environment, reducing the cost of doing business, serving as examples for offenders to follow when they transition back to their communities and assisting in making our communities healthier.”