Is that pizza box recyclable? How about the almond milk box? Or a brown glass vitamin bottle? And the lid? Can you recycle that, too? Will I ruin an entire ‘batch’ of city recycling if I am not sure and put an item into the recycling that isn’t actually recycle-able? These are common questions and concerns people have regarding recycling. Although people are much more comfortable recycling than they were 10 years ago, there’s still a number of unknowns and questions regarding how Marion County’s system works and what is actually recycle-able. When people aren’t sure, they either put the item in question in the trash and to a land-fill, or they add it to their recycling – when it may actually interrupt and trip-up the recycling process.
Knowing the answers about how a community deals with it’s solid waste helps everyone in the community. If you are fully aware of which items are recycle-able, or how to separate items so that they may be partially recycled, you reduce trash and the amount of waste that is either incinerated or put into a land-fill.
Here in Marion County, we are fortunate to have a Master Recycler program educating all kinds of people about how to effectively deal with solid waste. The classes, held for seven Thursday evening classes and two Saturday field trips, explores a plethora of topics on solid waste and recycling including collection, transfer, disposal of waste, source separation, processing, packaging, composting, household hazardous waste, and so much more. At Pringle Creek Community (PCC) we practice pre-cycling, recycling, and composting every day at our community center, Painters Hall, a zero-waste facility. Pringle Creek Community participates in the Marion County Master Recycler program by sharing with each class series, during one of the field trip days, our zero waste policy and practice, the history and development of PCC, and our vermiculture and composting process.
A new Marion County Master Recycler class is starting soon! Registration closes January 3rd and classes start in February and go through March 17th. It is possible to take the course online, too. Click on this link to find out more.
Master Recyclers that I’ve met in the community are very enthusiastic about all that they learn in the class. They are excited to better understand how to divert items from the waste stream and improve the quality of our environment and communities. This is motivating and inspiring. It is great to know that we have so many people (600+ people so far have taken the course) in Salem who not only appreciate the importance of managing our waste stream, but are excited to get educated and share their knowledge with others. Graduates must give 30 hours of service to the community upon their completion of the course. It is infectious, actually, and exciting to speak with and see former Master Recycler students at a number of community events throughout the year helping others sort their waste and keep our community clean and healthy. Students I’ve spoken with rave about many aspects of the class, especially things they learn that are surprising to them, like how packaging is improving and changing and how manufacturers are becoming more responsible for what they create and package. Perhaps we’ll end up with many more homes and businesses taking up a zero waste pledge. One recent and wonderful example is the Assistance League of Salem-Keizer; they help many children and citizens in Salem – and now, since members of their leadership took the Master Recycler class, they are applying zero waste principles in their work!
Join the Master Recycler community! Become a master recycler in the New Year!