Recycling Advocates E-Newsletter


May 2015 | |

Engaging people in creating a sustainable future through local efforts to reduce, reuse, and recycle
Update from the Capitol

by Rhett Lawrence, Recycling Advocates Vice President
As noted in our last few newsletters, Recycling Advocates is watching a number of bills in the 2015 session of the Oregon Legislature. Here is an update on a few of them:
- As noted elsewhere in the newsletter in the article from Lila Scott and Wednesday Peck, House Bill 2762 would phase out polystyrene plates, trays, food containers, and food packaging in Oregon’s public schools. This legislation from Rep. Rob Nosse is a legacy issue for RA, given our involvement in the ban on polystyrene food packaging in Portland in the late 80s. RA submitted testimony for the committee hearings in both the House and Senate. The bill has been weakened somewhat to make it easier for school districts to opt out from the phaseout, but we still believe it’s a bill well worthy of our support. After passing the House 47-10 in April, it was heard in the Senate Education Committee on May 19 and is likely to be headed to the Senate floor shortly.
- HB 2803 clarifies the definition of bottle bill deposit centers and impact zones. It passed out of the House in April, got voted out of the Senate Business and Transportation Committee on May 18, and is now headed to the Senate floor.
- HB 3421 would have funded Outdoor School programs by assessing a portion of the unclaimed deposits from the bottle bill.  That specific bill didn’t make it out of committee, but two other bills related to the Outdoor School – SB 439 and HB 2648 – also relate to Outdoor School funding and are still alive. The bill’s proponents still hope to bring back the bottle bill escheat funding connection as it moves through the legislative process.
- SB 245 and SB 263 modify funding mechanisms for DEQ to implement materials management programs by increasing tipping fees for the first time in many years, and update waste prevention and recycling requirements. SB 245 is still moving in the Ways and Means Committee. SB 263 passed the Senate 22-8 and is awaiting action this week in the House Energy and Environment Committee.
Stay tuned for more news of happenings in the Oregon Legislature!
Recycling Advocates Welcomes New Board Members

by Betty Patton, Recycling Advocates President

We are adding two new leaders to Recycling Advocates’ Board of Directors, both are certified Master Recyclers. Heather Cyrus and Susan Mead joined us within the last two months and we are excited to have them! 

Susan completed Master Recycler training in 2008 and is now a Centurion, providing our community with over 100 payback hours. Heather completed the 2013 Multnomah County class and quickly became certified. Recycling Advocates is tapping into their knowledge and energy to strengthen our organization and expand our campaigns.

Thank you Heather and Susan! What wonderful assets to the organization and our mission.
Recycling Advocates' Board President Betty Patton Featured in
Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperative Ad!
Our Journey to End Polystyrene Lunch Trays From School Lunches

by guest contributors Lila Scott and Wednesday Peck, 4th Graders at Sunnyside Environmental School

HB2762: It all started when we were reading a book.  It talked about how people dump trash into the ocean.  Some students shared their knowledge of it, and it led to talking about school lunch trays that are made of polystyrene and how some schools still use them and they are not recycled. Some kids in our class were disgusted at the idea of polystyrene trays being dumped into the ocean or in landfills.  For you that don’t know, polystyrene is also known as Styrofoam.
We took this problem to a town hall meeting.  They said it is a great idea and we should carry on with it.  We started meeting on Wednesdays to gather information on polystyrene. We learned that polystyrene is bad for our health, bad for the animals and bad for the environment.  No kids should have to eat their lunches on these trays.
We wrote speeches and presented them to the House Energy and Environmental Committee.  They approved and our local Representative, Rob Nosse, wrote a bill that would ban all schools in Oregon from using polystyrene trays (HB 2762).  We wrote more speeches to present to the Capitol again and they said they were going to move our vote forward, and there would be a vote on our bill.  So about 10 days later we went to hear the vote.  It passed the House of Representatives.  Our group was so excited.  Now we are off to the Senate.
[Note from Recycling Advocates Vice-President Rhett Lawrence: Since Lila and Wednesday wrote this article for us, the bill had a hearing in the Senate Education Committee on May 19. It was another inspiring performance by the Sunnyside students and the bill appears to be moving toward passage very soon. Congratulations to the students and to Sunnyside teacher Michelle Strobel; they’ve done amazing work!]
Styrofoam alert!

For now, Far West Recycling is no longer accepting Styrofoam for recycling. It is a difficult material to handle, causing problems that are not yet resolved. Recycling Advocates will do our best to inform our audience of any change to this status. 
Nike Green Fair

by Betty Patton, Recycling Advocates President

Recycling Advocates had the wonderful opportunity to participate in this year’s Nike Green Fair event on April 23rd. The RA display was one of many that surrounded the perimeter of the Nike IHM lunch cafeteria in Beaverton. Due to the two lunchtime rotations at this Nike facility, the wonderful Master Nike IHM Earth FairRecycler volunteers Sue Wiff and Zanna Ahern were able to engage lots of employees in a discussion on lunchtime waste reduction. Many of the attendees shared their own waste reduction ideas with us and these will be published each month in our newsletter. It was quite heartening to find so many interested and engaged people in one building.

Nike’s active Green Team is working on a variety of waste prevention projects for their employees. Their cafeteria already provides food on durable plates with durable silverware to be consumed onsite. The only disposable items coming from their food service are water and coffee cups, but they are working to phase those out. Hopefully, this cafeteria will be an example to the other facilities within the Nike campus.
Make Your Own Reusable Produce Bags

Say NO to plastic produce bags - fire up the sewing machine and run up a few of these reusable mesh bags to take to the grocery store or farmers market.

Mesh produce bag

Become a member of Recycling Advocates and help us continue to spread waste prevention ideas and the value of waste prevention tactics.

Ways to Contribute:

  • By Mail: print and complete our Membership Form, mail it with your check to PO Box 6736, Portland, OR 97228-6736.
  • Visit our Website's Membership page
  • PayPal: use the button below to donate via PayPal using your credit card, bank account, or Paypal balance. 

Membership Levels 
Advocate $25 - Friend $50 - Supporter $100 - Sustainer $250
Gifts of any amount gratefully received.

We thank you for your passion, support and commitment to protecting Oregon’s environment! 
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