Recycling Advocates E-Newsletter


December 2013 + +

Involving people in creating a sustainable future through local efforts to reduce, reuse, and recycle


Oregon E-Cycles: A Program for the Season

by Betty Patton, Recycling Advocates Board President

There is a chance that you are thinking of buying a new electronic gadget or television for Christmas. Many of us are interested in taking advantage of some decent year end pricing on these things. Does this mean that you will be replacing something in your house? Don’t forget that we have the Oregon E-Cycles program to deal with your cast offs.
This statewide program offers convenient places to drop off computers, laptops, monitors and televisions for free and guarantees environmentally sound recycling procedures. It is easy to find the closest place to you to drop off these things. Go to the website and select the Consumers menu at the top. Part way down the page is a highlighted sentence that says “Find a collection site near you.” That will take you right to the locator to enter your address and get the closest drop off point. If you have other electronic items to recycle, call them first to get the location’s list of acceptable donations.
The Oregon E-Cycles program was developed by legislation that passed in 2007 with Recycling Advocates’ work and endorsement. This extensive free collection network and environmentally sound recycling program is paid for by the manufacturers of these covered electronic devices. It started in 2009 and a landfill ban was implemented in 2010. The next change for the program will happen January 1, 2015 with the addition of printers, keyboards and mice.
You might want to share this information with your friends and neighbors. Since Oregon has a landfill ban, we all want to do the best we can to make this program successful.
Happy Holidays!

Waste Reduction Tips for the Holidays

by Rhett Lawrence, Recycling Advocates Vice President

It’s that festive time of the year again, which means seeing friends and family, eating too much, and giving and receiving too many gifts. We here at Recycling Advocates are not immune to those tendencies, but we have created a guide to reducing waste at the holidays. You can find it at this link. Here are a few quick tips:
The best idea is to use what you already have. For instance, you can cut up last year's holiday cards and use them as place cards or ornaments. If you need to replace or add to your Christmas lighting, almost all strands and individual lights that are sold now are LED and they come in a variety of styles. These LED lights use up to 80% less energy than their incandescent equivalents. Because of this low energy usage, up to 45 strands can be strung together on one outlet. Not that you would want that many, I hope! They last 10 – 25 times longer, also. Low wattage has two advantages: it consumes less energy and gives off less heat, making your lights safer and less wasteful.
Encourage people to walk or carpool, and/or provide a designated driver shuttle. Turn down the heat before the guests arrive, since their body heat will help warm the room. Use reusable tableware; if you don't have enough, ask to borrow reusable tableware from friends or family, or rent them. Compost your food waste. Place easily identifiable recycling containers at your celebration so guests can recycle their cans and bottles.
If you choose to have a holiday tree, there are many environmental options. For instance, you can decorate evergreen bushes or pine trees outside a window with removable, reusable decorations. Consider buying a potted Norfolk pine, fig tree, or indoor houseplant that can be used every holiday season as your evergreen tree. You can also get a single-use tree that can be planted or mulched afterward, or buy an artificial one that can be reused every year. Use trimmed branches from your tree for decorating around the home or making wreaths. If you buy a cut tree, be sure to recycle it. City/County programs as well as some local businesses and community groups (e.g., boy scout troops) will accept trees for recycling. Check Metro’s website for locations and instructions.
Consider the impact of your gifts: Is it environmentally friendly and safe for children? Will it be reusable? Is it remade, recyclable, or made from recycled materials? Does it encourage sustainability? Make gifts yourself. Plan shopping in advance to reduce the amount of trips you will need to take and avoid the last minute frenzy shopping. Buy from local and independent businesses. Evaluate gifts for simplicity, durability, and long-term warranties. Look for gifts that are unpackaged or minimally packaged, without unnecessary plastic wrap or cardboard backing. Save yourself time and money by updating and paring down your holiday mailing list. Find other and more creative ways of honoring your acquaintances, friends, and family. Give an experience (a ride in a hot air balloon, day trip on a train, a trip to a museum, a shared activity together). Or best yet, give a gift membership to Recycling Advocates!
Have a happy, restful, and minimally wasteful holiday, everyone!

A Hauler Holiday Perspective 

From Joe Wonderlick, Waste Connections

Waste Connections sees the "other side of the holiday season". Their advice? This holiday season help reduce holiday waste, it is estimated that household waste increases by 25% more between Thanksgiving and New Years.  By giving time or experiences you make a big difference in that number.  Another way is to look at the packaging of your gifts and celebrating.  Check your local waste hauler websites for items that are recyclable.  Most areas do not accept foil wrapping paper, tinsel, plastic bags or Styrofoam in curbside recycling.  While not recyclable curbside there may be special collection events or drop-off locations.

Also, remember to find alternatives to using plastic bags if possible! As you can see in the photo below... they truly "gum up the recycling works".


Recycling 101

by Elizabeth Goodman, Recycling Advocates Treasurer

Late last February registration opened for Recycling 101, an online professional development course offered by Oregon State University’s (OSU) Professional and Noncredit Education (PNE).  PNE’s work includes partnering with associations and professionals to develop new educational offerings; Recycling 101 is overseen by the Association of Oregon Recyclers (AOR).  Since the course’s start, close to 100 people have registered.

Through eight online modules, Recycling 101 educates participants in the life cycle of recycled materials, in aspects of commercial and residential recycling, and in waste prevention, among other topics.  At the conclusion of the course, students will be aware of what happens to garbage and recyclables after they are collected from residential curbsides, what types of individual actions have the greatest impact on the environment, how to conserve resources, and how to influence others to take action to lessen their environmental impacts.
Recycling 101 is modeled on the Master Recycler Program, the popular eight-week training course Recycling Advocates helped develop and that is currently administered through the City of Portland and sponsored by, in addition to RA and the City, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, Metro, Clackamas County and Washington County.  The course is offered three times each year, once in each of the metropolitan-area counties.  Once Master Recycler participants complete their training, they volunteer 30 hours or more in Clackamas, Washington and Multnomah Counties, to share their knowledge and educate the public about thoughtful consumption and recycling.
While both Recycling 101 and Master Recyclers offer in-depth training in waste reduction, recycling and composting to anyone interested in deepening knowledge of the topics, there are significant differences between the two courses.  While appeal to individuals interested in learning the impact of their actions on the environment, but Master Recycler enrollees may be more likely to have no professional background or experience in the subjects, and Recycling 101 may appeal more to individuals employed in the waste prevention and recycling industries, who may take the course for continuing education credit required for professional development.  The course is certified by Solid Waste Association of North America (“SWANA”), for instance, and qualifies for eight continuing education units (“CEUs”).  Some of the course content is more geared toward industry, such as the legal foundation for the solid waste industry in Oregon.  In contrast to Recycling 101, Master Recycler training takes place in a classroom setting in groups of 20 to 30 students.  Teaching includes lectures and field trips.  Recycling 101 is online and self-paced, allowing students to work individually and to set their own schedules.  Content is delivered through videos and interactive games.
Regardless of your background—whether industry insider, Master Recycler, or newcomer to any organized training in environmental topics, Recycling 101 can provide great value, from the great overview of the state of waste prevention and recycling in the area to the in-depth background, facts and how-to.
To learn more about Recycling 101 or to register, go to the OSU and AOR Websites.  The course costs $50 for business or institutional groups of five or more, and $75 for individuals.
Thanks to Amy Roth, AOR, for providing responses to numerous questions about Recycling 101 that helped inform this article.

Drop a Little Something in RA's "Virtual Stocking" this Holiday with GoodSearch!

It’s easy.  Just click on the GoodSearch link, and select Recycling Advocates. Then as you go about your daily activities, you’ll be raising money for RA's great work to expand recycling in Oregon – at no cost to you! You can watch the dollars add up right on the site. And, as you share your actions with your friends, you can inspire them to also make a difference every single day.

The three primary ways you can earn money are through searching the Internet, shopping online and dining out (but there are others as well – this is just the beginning!) Here’s a quick explanation of each of them:

Goodsearch: Search the Internet with our patent-protected, Yahoo!-powered search engine (just like you’d search on any other search engine), and we’ll donate about a penny for nearly all searches to your selected cause.

Goodshop: Shop at one of our more than 2,800 participating stores (from Amazon to Zazzle) and a percentage of what you spend will be donated to your cause at no cost to you. Oh, and by the way, there’s a big added bonus here too. Goodshop lists more than 100,000 coupons and deals so you could save money while doing good!

Gooddining: Dine at one of our 10,000 participating restaurants around the country and a percentage of what you spend will go to your cause – again at no cost to you.

Ready to start making a difference?

We hope you are! If you’re ready to join our movement and simply do good today, click here.



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