The legislative session kicked off this week, with over 1,600 new laws and rule changes proposed by Oregon's representatives. I'll be doing roundups of the laws relevant to Portland on the blog all weekend and next week.

Two small but important pieces of environmental legislation jump out from the piles of bills proposed for far for this session: One making phone books delivery an opt-in process statewide and another mandating that the state use recycled materials to build roads.

Look! Its an eco-phone book.
  • Look! It's an eco-phone book.

The stack of phone books that pile up on my porch throughout the year annoy me to no end. It's sad to take them directly from the porch and drop them, one by one, into the recycle bin, where they will eventually be pulped and made into new phone books to deliver to my porch. Opting out of delivery is totally possible, but a bit complicated.

Yes, some people do actually use phone books. But according to a DEQ study in 2003, there were five times as many phone books as homes in Oregon and 80 percent of them weren't recycled.

Two Portland legislators pitched the idea last session of making Oregon the first opt-in phonebook state in the nation, but it didn't pass and now Senator Chip Shields is at it again with a
new bill declaring a statewide opt-in rule.

As for the recycled roads, that's the idea of the House Transportation Committee, which wrote up HB 2334. The rule would require the Oregon Department of Transportation to use a mix including at least five percent recycled asphalt shingles when building or maintaining highways.

It's not a huge change, but it seems like a cool idea.