Cascade Alliance

Five Headline Friday (6/21/18)

Summer is here, and so is Five Headline Friday!  What’s happened this week that we hope will be informative and useful to our partners:

What will the upcycling revolution mean for business?

The Starbucks bean chair

Starbucks’ upcycled ‘bean’ chair (green), which is made from used plastic bottles and discarded coffee cups CREDIT: KELLY SHEPPARD

Upcycling, from a business perspective, is a profitable alternative to recycling, but there are challenges.  It’s still more costly than mass-production from raw materials, and there’s a supply-demand mismatch.  Ongoing innovation in production processes will make upcycling more feasible, as will increasing consumer awareness and demand.

ATTOM: Housing affordability falls to 10-year low

Home prices have outpaced wage growth over the past 10 years and we now have a 10 year low in affordability.  75% of wage earners cannot afford a median-priced home, assuming 30% or less of wages are spent on housing.  Coastal cities are still the worst, but the problem has spread inland and is growing nationally.

Talking Housing Affordability: Getting From “Me” to “We”

Since the housing affordability crisis is so dismal, we looked for news of solutions, and we’re sorry to say we didn’t find much.  But this piece from the Sightline Institute gives some insights on engaging local community discussions toward productive solutions.

Do Your Employees Feel Respected?

Harvard Business Review presents a case study of an employment program for incarcerated women that spotlights the role of respect in employee retention and success.  The program, Televerde, has improved recidivism rates, and shows the role of two kinds of respect:  owed, and earned, that factor into participants’ success both in prison, and after release.

Data expert ranks recycling metrics

accounting

We attended the Association of Oregon Recyclers this week.  Analysis on measuring recycling was presented by Lisa Skumatz of Skumatz Economic Research Associates.  Since many of our partners are involved with waste diversion and recycling, and metrics are important both to internal and external stakeholders, we hope this article will stimulate thinking on measurement and reporting of recycling.