-A recycling program that started in an Oregon prison saved taxpayers $10,000 in 2014.
-Deputy Ben McGowan started the program at the Marion County jail in 2012. Since then, it has grown in size and now has a “Green Team” including inmates, prison staff and other deputies.
-The part of the program that had the most significant impact on savings occurred when the prison began separating recyclables. Before the program, the facility generated 8 tons of waste per month; the latest figures show the volume of waste is now at 2.5 tons. This change alone accounts for an annual savings of $7,000 for the county.
The prison also began ordering milk in bulk—a change that prevented 36,400 individual drink cartons from entering the local landfill each year. Laundry employees began delivering items without the usual plastic bags that cover the goods and collected extra waste bins around the facility. This move saved 22,600 liners from being used, for a savings of $1,365 annually. Food waste is now composted, which saves $3,500 per year in disposal fees.
A recycling program at a corrections facility in Washington state did not fare as well as the program in Oregon. The Washington Correctional Industries implemented a recycling program that used inmate labor to recycle mattresses. The project turned into a scandal when an investigation uncovered that the program was mismanaged. The program lost an estimated $1 million before it was shut down.