When Sustainability is already as Pop Song

Being placed in the city where has long-history of outstanding implementation about sustainable vision, I could not more beyond grateful.

Eugene, the 160.000 city’s population, put ‘sustainability’ (particularly for city’s officials, public institutions, and the business sector) in the back of their mind. Members of the Eugene community consciously desire a healthy economy which conserves the environment while providing equitable access to jobs with fair wages, benefits, and other services crucial to families as well. Global world has emerged achieving sustainability which incorporates simultaneously measurement of economic, social and environmental wellbeing, often called Triple Bottom Line.

In Eugene, engaging economic and environmental aspect in balancing Triple Bottom Line, found much easier, while for common community (in Indonesia, absolutely) is far-far away to go (to not to say, ‘the hardest way’).

Many local businesses and governments have been engaged in the field of sustainable business for years.

Like my first time experience doing field tour on my placement was visiting Rexius composting site. Rexius is the local companies who in its ninth decade (since starting the business around 1937) lead the effort to recycling and processing organic waste and wood residual materials for landscape, agricultural and environmental industries. Rexius processes organic waste and food waste from Eugene’s household, restaurants, and other private company. In gross calculation, Rexius had produced up to 50.000 tons a year.

Rexius Composting Tour

By my reading further, they are many other sustainable business practices run in Eugene.


The City of Eugene government has been a leader in the public sector as well. Recently, in the last year, city government introduced city official vehicle with electric car, which mostly my field tours here ride by.

Eugene’s official electrical car

City’s official also manages a waste management site (collaborate with Lane County, area outside City of Eugene) where all waste centrally being sorted. However, the citizen should bring their waste voluntarily to this place whose waste being sort into many type of waste, such as wood, tyres, metal, reusable households item, styrofoam, television, electronic, computer (also kind of monitor, etc.), battery, sharps, fluorescent lamp, paint, motor oil, plastic bags, newspaper, cardboard. Those kind of waste which possibly be brought by other parties for following used. The remain waste that not included in any re-used waste category or already being mix with other material (which need more effort to set apart), are all destroyed and deliver to the central dump site.

re-used waste sort
destroyed unused waste to dumpsite

Cited from 2 out of 3 Eugene City Council’s Visions :

  • Be responsible stewards of our physical assets and natural resources. We will sustain our clean air and water, beautiful parks and open spaces, livable and safe neighborhoods, and foster a vibrant downtown, including a stable infrastructure
  • Encourage a strong, sustainable and vibrant economy, fully utilizing our educational and cultural assets, so that every person has an opportunity to achieve financial

are strongly proof that sustainability is not a coincidence or unorganized scattered initiatives. Like music orchestra, the ‘sustainable’ rhythm had been already composed by the conductor, by former and recent city leader. If others say ‘sustainable business practice’ as unusual, in Eugene, ‘sustainability’ is their business as usual. Sustainability is maybe like their pop song, a highly mainstream chosen and most frequent played by everyone.

I just make a random correlation, about what they intentionally do, is likely how they make effort on being blessed by the beautiful nature landscape given? I would tell you later, how beautiful it is.

Niken Prawestiti (Indonesia) nikpraw.comis a Social-Environment Enthusiast, Sustainaibility Placemaker, Indonesian Green City Program Associate. Currently, developing urban community network which bound environmental, social, and cultural community concern over Indonesian’s cities to take action on achieving sustainable city in fornusa.id. Also, growing “Ayo ke Taman” (Indonesian expression on ”Let’s go to Park”) as a platform for raising awareness about the existence of open urban public space.

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