What Is Zero Waste McMinnville?

Our goal is to make McMinnville the first city in Oregon to divert 90% of our waste from the landfill by 2024.

Zero Waste is a philosophy that encourages  people to change their thinking about how resources are used and learn to stop sending everything as trash to the landfill or incinerator.  

Zero Waste is a goal that is ethical, economical, efficient and visionary. It guides people to modify their lifestyles and practices to emulate sustainable natural cycles, where all discarded materials are designed to become resources for others to use.

Zero Waste means encouraging the design and management of products and processes to systematically avoid and eliminate the volume and toxicity of waste and materials, conserve and recover all resources, and not burn or bury them.

Implementing Zero Waste will eliminate all discharges to land, water or air that are a threat to planetary, human, animal or plant health.

We provide educational and hands-on programs to organizations, schools, hospitals, event sponsors, and local government. We need the community to expand the Zero Waste message and programs.


Duniway Leadership Success!

Thanks to the 7th Grade Leadership students at Duniway Middle School a whole lot of people now know about the problems associated with plastic in our oceans. Five students, Opal Primozich, Uke Halloran-Steiner, Margaret Bowman, Caden Huber, and Kellen Reed showed the movie Plastic Ocean as a benefit for Zero Waste McMinnville at 3rd Street Pizza. The event sold out with families lining up on Third Street trying to get in to see the movie. It is a topic that people need to see… a harsh documentary depicting the destruction of our oceans with endless amounts of discarded plastic trash. Some people found it too sad and walked out… many viewers were moved to tears. The kids chose Zero Waste McMinnville and this movie to raise money and awareness because they know it is a poignant issue in today’s world. IMG_3119

These savvy ‘eco-tweens’ from David Holmes Leadership class at Duniway have raised over $1,000 bucks for Zero Waste McMinnville by working with Third Street Pizza to show the movie, collecting bottle and cans, selling plant starts at EARTH NIGHT, organizing donations from Four Elements Yoga classes, and orchestrating “Hat Day” where everyone could pay a dollar to wear an otherwise forbidden hat to school. So ingenious!

The movie that they chose to screen ended with a lot of things we as a society can do to stop the tide of plastic pollution circulating from sea to sea and these smart engaged kids are just the team we need to lead the way. Hardy congratulations, and warm thanks goes out from Zero Waste McMinnville to these smart, engaged students who are on their way to making our planet a better place to live.


Early on we realized that we needed to raise public awareness of our organization and our mission, and that a good way to do this was to become involved in local events. With this in mind, starting in Spring 2015 we have worked with the organizers of major city and private events to coordinate waste collection and separation into recyclables, compostables and true trash residual that goes to the landfill. Our goal is to achieve 90% diversion (recyclables + compostables) of the event waste stream, mirroring our overall organizational goal.

We have been supported in our efforts by a 2015 grant from the CAN’d Aid Foundation Crush It Crusade that we used to buy our first sets of equipment for local events, and by a follow-on 2017 CAN’d Aid grant that allowed us to upgrade our equipment to the ClearStream Recycling units that we’re now using.

Our events range from smaller, one-day festivals such as the Garden Faire or Sabor Latino, to large, multi-day events such as the UFO Festival, TurkeyRama or the International Pinot Noir Celebration. Whereas a small event might require only 3 or 4 volunteers, each working a typical 3-hour shift, the large events need 60 or more volunteers in a variety of roles – from standing by one of our recycling stations to help the public get their discards into the correct bin, to doing a final sort on the bags brought in from the bins to minimize contamination of the streams.

As our event experience grows, so does our diversion effectiveness. In the 2015 event season, we filled 225 volunteer shifts and logged 1000 volunteer hours, and achieved a diversion rate of 82%. By 2017, with several more events, we filled over 250 shifts and logged more than 1100 hours, and achieved a diversion rate of over 89%. This is truly a team effort!

Speaking Frankly

The Bag It Better campaign made good effort to get the word out to McMinnville residents about the program. Larger stores initiated the project September 1, 2017 and small stores will be involved starting March 1, 2018.


KYLC Town Hall

McMinnville’s local radio station (1260 on the AM dial) provides musical entertainment and information about local issues. January 10, 2018 several members of McMinnville Zero Waste were interviewed to explain more about the goals and programs. Celebrate Life Media