Oregon Plastic Pollution and Recycling Modernization Act Modeling

Oregon’s Plastic Pollution and Recycling Modernization Act was adopted in 2021, establishing the State as a leader in thoughtful materials management. This Act reforms Oregon’s decades-old recycling policy with a series of new programs and requirements aimed at reducing environmental impacts, restoring public confidence, and creating recycling systems that are more equitable, responsible, and resilient to future changes.

To inform rulemaking for Oregon’s Recycling Modernization Act, the Cascadia team—including Bell & Associates and Circular Matters—together modeled 25 alternative recycling material acceptance lists and collection method options. We estimated the impacts on recycling material amounts, and analyzed costs and benefits of each scenario.


Historically, analyses of the cost of managing materials have included only direct costs included in the market price of the good or service—such as the labor and machinery costs. Oregon takes a broader view and includes indirect costs in their analyses— such as impacts to society and the environment.

Our detailed comparison across these scenarios and comprehensive final report outlined recommendations on the range of materials to be accepted for recycling, and the methods of collecting and processing recyclables—and served as a strong foundation for the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality to make informed, equitable decisions around the future of recycling in the State that are now fully realized in the law.

Read the full report on the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality website. 


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