Traveling Sustainably in Portland

I'm retiring in Portland!

If you've checked out my previous Portland post, it looks like Portland is a wonderland. Check that post out because it has a nice, layered map of places to go, see and do that you use if you are planning a trip there.

Well, a closer look into their sustainability practices and this might be where your young self can retire sooner than later. Portland is a very eco-friendly, sustainable city. Let's look at a few things that allows you to take part in Portland's scene without producing a lot of waste. 

OK, this book I originally found in Jersey City and does not fully describe Portland, but just a heads up that there are many hipsters in Portland so be on the lookout for those beards. ;)

 
 

Food

The food scene in Portland is all about local, sustainable and farm-to-table. There are many great places to grab locally made food. Check out the many farm market's that happen throughout the year. We, unfortunately were not able to catch the farmer's market when we were there, but definitely check one out if you are visiting. 

For our first night, we dined at Bamboo Sushi, one of the world's first certified sustainable sushi restaurant. From the food to the restaurant design, everything works together to provide a sustainable dining option. They also have lots of vegetarian options for those that don't eat fish. Prices are reasonable, slightly lower than a middle star sushi place in NYC.

The Dan and Louis Oyster Bar is a good source for local. You can read about the restaurant and the family's history in the decor and the quest to save oysters in a nearby bay.

I've been drooling over Salt & Straw for some time and loved their ice cream after finally tasting it. Small batches and made with as much local, organic and sustainable ingredients that Oregon has to offer and some imported flavors.

Bamboo Sushi Mission Statement.

Bamboo Sushi Mission Statement.

Pork buns. Not as good as Momofuku but good. 

Pork buns. Not as good as Momofuku but good. 

Salt & Straw handmade ice cream.

Salt & Straw handmade ice cream.

 

Public Transportation

Portland city cycling program sponsored by Nike.

Portland city cycling program sponsored by Nike.

If you can bike, you'll make it in Portland. Cycling is heavily supported in Portland, from casual riders to serious cyclists. The roads have their own bike paths. If you are familiar with CitiBike in New York City, Portland has BikeTown since Nike is headquartered a few minutes from downtown Portland. If you are visiting, this is a great option to get around and see the city. If you are a serious rider, visiting a few of the many cycling spots may be for you.  Lots of apartment buildings support bike storage too which is a great way to encourage the lifestyle. Because there's so many people cycling, there's a lot of respect between walkers, drivers and cyclists.

The Portland Light Rail is also an easy to use public transportation system that runs everyday. Find the bus, light and commuter rail schedules and maps here. If you are there for a few days, I would recommend getting a one-day pass at $5 or a 7-day pass for $25. 

Walking is also a great way to see Portland. As long as you've got good rain gear and boots, this shouldn't be an issue with Portland's milder climate.

 

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Waste

Portland banned plastic bags in 2011 to promote reusable shopping bags and reduce single-use plastic bags. At grocery stores, you will see paper bags at checkout. It's best to make sure you bring your reusable bags with you at all times. Portland residences can also compost their home waste into specialty bins. Many of the grocery stores also support bulk options for soap, food, kombucha, coffee and beer (love this!). Love the options for kombucha as I've just gotten into really trying it out.

A compost bin found by a Portland residence. Portland composts!

A compost bin found by a Portland residence. Portland composts!

Bulk options for soap found at the "friendliest market" in town.

Bulk options for soap found at the "friendliest market" in town.

Where people are donating their $.05 plastic bag refund. 

Where people are donating their $.05 plastic bag refund. 

PNW Bulk Honey. FTW!

PNW Bulk Honey. FTW!

Hey, examples of what goes where which makes it easy to drop things in the right bin. How clever!

Hey, examples of what goes where which makes it easy to drop things in the right bin. How clever!

One of the things that I was amazed at was a place called The Rebuilding Center. It is found on famous Mississippi Avenue. They accept all donations and leftovers from construction projects that are then resold to the public at 40-90% off retail market values. The public can be anyone, any income looking to purchase salvaged doors, windows, appliances, sinks, toilets, wood, etc.  A haven for reclaimed projects. It is an amazing example of reuse. I had heard of places like these before, but have never actually seen or browsed around in one. Lots of good stuff. Everything goes back to the community to support creative educational classes. It's a great way to divert good materials from the landfill and save lots of resources in the process. 

portland-rebuilding-center
portland-rebuild-center-recycle
portland-rebuild-center
 
 

Local and Vintage

There's a lot of crafts men and women in Portland and lots of vintage and thrift shops too. You will find the standard Goodwill or Buffalo Exchange as well as a few off the beaten path vintage shops.

Flutter - mix of vintage, re-purposed clothing and vintage inspired accessories. I bought some vintage handkerchiefs here for a few dollars.

Vintage Vintage - furniture, vintage clothing and lighting

Made in PDX - locally made items in PDX. I caved and bought a bag from here from Open Habit because the craftsmanship felt amazing. My first non-thrift purchase in months so you know this decision was not made lightly. Lots of back and forth trying to decide if this purchase was worth it. The young man working there was extremely helpful and wonderful explaining the detail of the bag.

 

Ready to check-out what else Portland has to offer? Enter to get a 4-day sample itinerary with recommendations for nature, coffee, donuts and local food.

 
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This of course is only a snapshot of what Portland offers. Check out Conscious by Chloe and her Zero Waste PDX City Guide for more.

 

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