The Benton County Board of Commissioners meet June 13 with the “Benton County Talks Trash” Solid Waste Workgroup final report on the agenda. (Photo provided by Benton County)

The Benton County Board of Commissioners officially received the “Benton County Talks Trash” Solid Waste Workgroup final report June 13 during the board’s goal-setting meeting at the Kalapuya Building in Corvallis.

The board reviewed a draft request for proposal for a comprehensive sustainable materials management plan and directed staff to develop a strategy for engaging the community. The report includes consensus recommendations that will serve as a guide for implementing the sustainable materials management plan.

The Benton County Commissioners mentioned a strong emphasis on continued community engagement in sustainable materials management planning and the importance of the process leading to a finished plan.

“The envisioned plan, once completed, will pave the way for a more sustainable future by reducing the adverse impacts of solid waste materials on the environment, society and the economy,” Commissioner Xan Augerot said in a news release. “It is designed to provide a roadmap for the county and act as a regional model that can guide other regional partners in their own sustainable materials management efforts.”

One of the key objectives of this initiative is to assist the county and other stakeholders in addressing the full life cycle of materials from production to disposal. 

“I am proud of this collaborative foundation our community has built to guide future solid waste work plans and efforts,” Commissioner Nancy Wyse said. “I look forward to continuing collaboration as we engage in future initiatives.”

The commissioners invited the public to provide feedback on the recommendations outlined in the report, which underwent a thorough, yearlong vetting process with the board-appointed workgroup and members of the community. 

“With 124 recommendations formally considered, the report lays the groundwork for a constructive path forward,” Board Chair Pat Malone said. “This path fosters common understandings about sustainable materials management and the future of solid waste disposal in the mid-Willamette Valley, including at the Coffin Butte regional landfill.”

Responding to the report and the county board’s commitment, Oregon State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences offered to appoint student mentor John Deuel as a liaison between OSU’s Sustainability Double Degree Program and Benton County.

County Commissioners welcomed the partnership and thanked OSU for the support. The partnership will provide research and experiential learning opportunities for OSU students and will provide a resource to the county and community.