|It is easy being green with the Master Recycling program posted on 02/01/2019|
When Dawn Loomis took the Master Recycler class 10 years
ago, she realized that recycling is just one step in the effort to help keep
things green, but that reducing and reusing are also part of the equation.
“It was awesome,” Loomis said of the class. “I learned so
much more than I thought I ever would.”
The course will be offered in Oregon City, starting on
Wednesday, April 3. Registration for the course ends on Wednesday, March 6.
The eight-week class will meet once a week in the evening
and twice on Saturdays for field trips, offering a hands-on opportunity for
participants to learn about recycling and waste reduction. Those in the class
will also commit to volunteering for 30 hours of public outreach, such as
working at information booths, providing community presentations and working on
The program started in 1991 with a nonprofit in Seattle, and
then spread to Oregon State University. Today, it is offered by Metro, City of
Portland, Clackamas County, Washington County, the Oregon Department of
Environmental Quality and Recycling Advocates, and approximately 1,700 people
have taken the course, providing approximately 58,000 hours of service.
Lauren Norris, Master Recycler Program Manager, noted the
class has grown so popular that they have had to turn people away, with more
than 100 people applying for one of 30 spots for the Multnomah County class.
“I think that people are very interested in sustainability,”
Norris added that when the program began, people were really
concerned with there being not enough space in landfills. Now, the focus is
more on conserving natural resources and protecting the climate, examining the
full lifecycle of materials and not just looking at avoiding landfills.
The course will cover materials that are recyclable and also
how the markets for recyclable materials work. 25 different presenters, from
local governments to private professionals, will share their knowledge, while
field trips will include recycling facilities for a look into how the sorting
and baling processes work.
Stacy Luddington, Sustainability Analyst for Clackamas
County and also a Master Recycler, noted that understanding why one thing can
be recycled but others cannot becomes clearer through the course, such as how
plastic bags can tangle machines at the facilities.
“When people know the why, it tends to stick,” she said.
Luddington also noted that Master Recyclers aren’t limited
to recycling but also help spread the word about using less toxic cleaners,
wasting less food and doing Repair Fairs, where some things can be fixed and
reused rather than thrown away.
In the 10 years since Loomis took the course, she has done
activities including a waste audit at her son’s school, applied for several
grants, done collection events on the Mountain and more.
She encouraged anyone interested on the Mountain to
participate, noting more hands would be welcome in the recycle/reuse/reduce
“We need some local, energetic people to get on board,”
The course will be run for eight consecutive Wednesdays,
starting on April 3, at Clackamas County’s Development Services Building, 150
Beavercreek Road, in Oregon City. There is a $50 fee to cover course materials,
but scholarships are available. For more information, visit
www.masterrecycler.org/. Registration closes at noon Wednesday, March 6.
By Garth Guibord/MT