The Choice Is Yours….

By Lovetta Dill

About a year ago a friend and I were talking about stuff we couldn’t do anything about, and “wasn’t it a shame”.  She mentioned that she had become involved with an organization called Zero Waste. I had applauded their efforts at events like Turkey Rama and the UFO Festival but knew little about them. In fact, I had always assumed they were part of Recology,  like many people in town.  I never gave it more than an idle observational ‘Hmmm…’   I soon learned this was an independent group of people who just want to do the right thing as my friend explained the group was separate from Recology and suggested I stop at the booth at the Thursday Downtown Farmers’ Market and offer a couple of volunteer hours.

I’ve been recycling, repurposing, and stretching resources for decades (since way back when it was only us fringe nuts that did). But it was always just something I did because doing the next right thing made me feel good. And this seemed like the next right thing.

But commitment is scary, and I’m not a joiner.Image result for commitment is a scary thing

So I put my cynical hopelessness about making a difference and my social anxiety in the back pocket of my jeans and went to check it out.

Volunteering for the market and for special events was easy. It was only a few hours. I determined my schedule. I was enthusiastically taught the parts I didn’t already know and then  I had the opportunity to talk about refuse resource recovery and saving the planet one milk jug at a time, and it left me feeling good.

Image result for volunteering feels good

Source: Thrive Global

It was a personal accomplishment to be able to help individuals sort through the frustrations of the ever-changing landscape of recycling and occasionally see an idea light up their eyes as they figured out how to solve some system challenge in their own home, or discovered that there really is a way to recycle that pesky thing that you hate yourself for using but just can’t do without.  Sometimes it was just an opportunity to share feelings of helplessness and fear about this world which has been so kind to us.

I have risen to a whole new level of conversational competence about things I, as an individual, can do nothing about. I realize some would say I have become a certified fringe nut but I recognize when in a group of like-minded people, it is normalized.

I have come to deeply appreciate the difference a group of dedicated people (not just fringe nuts) can make when they focus on a common goal.

These small accomplishments spurred me to seek out further opportunities to make a contribution. The first actual Zero Waste meeting I attended at the Carnegie Room at the city library was intimidating. Nobody went particularly out of the way to put me at ease. I was, in fact, a little put off by their failure to recognize my genius, and ask how they could best help me to showcase my superior talents.  In other words, they treated me as if I were a person among other persons with a sense of shared purpose and I told myself to get over it. Join in. Add to the effort.grannephew

The Green Schools Committee wanted participants. That seemed like a good fit for me. I have always tried to involve whatever children are around in the specifics of living a lifestyle which leaves a lighter footprint.  So I just said, ‘I will do that.’ What needed to be done revealed itself organically as we went along in the group. At this point we are actively assisting several local schools in developing sustainable systems in their schools with the help of student Green Teams. And there will be more to come. By empowering the upcoming generation it is our hope they will be better prepared to live realistic synchrony with the environment.

It took a while, and some personal growth on my part, but eventually I came to understand that I do have some skills which can help me be useful in a community of other individuals with particular skills of their own, and that in pooling those unique capabilities we become much more than the sum of us as parts of a whole. O. Synergy.

Image result for synergy
Source: Thrive Business Marketing

I seem to have become a joiner, after all, and it is helping me to be a more productive member of the human race. Will I change the world? Meh. Can I/we make a difference? Most certainly.

              In any case, doing the next right thing, because it’s the next right thing,           always makes me feel good.

meeting announcement

 

 

Artists Spotlight: Melody Hanson and HandyTotes

Introducing Melody Hanseon’s HandyTotes to you is the perfect time to explain that the name of this event, the McMinnville Recycled Arts Festival is a bit of a misnomer.

Yes, the event is in “McMinnville” and here in McMinnville we are making great strides to recognize issues that can reduce the waste we send to the landfill. Together, Zero Waste McMinnville and Recology help residents and visitors better understand how trash should be sorted and can have a better “end stage” than covered by dirt in an expanding mountain of garbage.

“Recycled” is a term that commonly means that the materials used to make an item can be reused to make a similar item. Plastic bottles to plastic bottles is a good example. But what about plastic things into other ways to use the same plastic things? Like we are seeing people elsewhere in the world use plastic bottles, filled with sand, as a building block material in developing nations. That is NOT recycling, but upcycling or “alternative use.”

We have many many many examples of UPCYCLING at the Festival…..not any recycled use really.

And then, the word “Arts”. The first common accepted usage is we were looking for items made with care, with meticulous attention to detail, to presentation in a new way. There is also a subsidiary definition of development of a skill that presents items that are used in new ways.  All that will be evident in the Nicholson Library during the Festival.

Melody Hanson reached a point when a collection of plastic needed to be cleared from her storage area. A couple years ago, she had an accumulation of empty polywoven feed bags and attempted to find a place to recycle them.  Not having any success, she started making tote bags for a few friends and neighbors for them to trial and give their feedback.  This grew in response and within a few months, she started an Etsy shop where she offers handmade tote bags with a large selection of different images.Assorted feedsack bags- Melody `Hanson

Now there are some people who think we should ban all plastics and I can get behind the idea that drilling for more oil  has to stop. We have more than enough plastic in the world. Let’s find ways to break them down and reuse the material.  The problem about plastic-that it will naturally take hundred and thousands of years to really break down-is also the benefit of why we like using that durable material.

The sturdy aspect of HandyTotes is that they will last a really really long time. You just have to remember to carry them back out to your car and into the store!IMG_6651 - Melody `Hanson (1)

Your effort to change that shopping container habit will add up, just like Melody feels about her effort to make the bags: “To convert materials that would otherwise go into the garbage into reusable tote bags.  To give useful materials a second life and prevent waste.  To help save the earth.”

We each can add our ways to help.

Melody Hanson and HandyTotes are at Table #3.

A Few Steps BEFORE Recycling

Recycling is a feel-good process. Our trash hauler Recology identifies itself as a recycling company, not a landfill company.  That means when China and other Southeast Asian countries stopped taking mixed recyclables from the United States,  we had to go through an adjustment.

Last summer there were more restrictions about what was allowed in our bin. But Recology has worked hard to find buyers for our recyclables and more items are allowed now.  And you can now bring your polystyrene foam to the Depot.  Check Recology’s What Bin? app on their website to see how you should sort that item. Call the office at (503) 472-3176 if the answer is not provided in the software.

That is all good news, but it’s important that you also understand that not all recycling gets used that way. While things might be better here because of Recology’s priority,  less than 9% of plastics are recycled  worldwide.

You’ve seen the photos of how trashed the ocean is. You’ve read by 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than ocean animals. You’ve read the news that there is plastic inside our bodies now from the food we eat and water we drink.  We have no idea how this is affecting us.

It’s going to take some effort to clean things up so our children and their children have a healthier environment.

That is why Zero Waste McMinnville also encourages you to start REFUSING to buy items if they use plastic in their packaging…plastic that immediately has to be trashed…if you have a zero-waste option. Using the bulk bins in the supermarket is an easy way to make that transition. Most of the grocery stores in town have bins; Winco has a very large selection that also includes pet food. But there is one more step to being a zero-waster when you move to bulk bins: you need to bring re-usable containers with you. 

The stores provide plastic bags and plastic containers. The bags will go to the landfill and we know the issues with wind blowing that lightweight an item off the landfill and into the Yamhill River and onto adjacent properties.  I use mesh bags that I found online, but more are becoming available in the stores themselves to encourage this behavior. They are tightly woven and can hold solids, but fine items like sugars might fall through some larger weave bags.  I can toss them in the wash to make sure they stay clean to hold food. 

tare
Source: Wild Minimalist

I use an offered  plastic container to fill with peanut butter, but I wash it and bring it back to the store for re-use.  At this time there is no tare station at the bulk bins but if you want to bring your own containers, and many people prefer glass to plastic, you can stop at a check out and ask them to tare your container. Make sure to have them write the tare weight on the container or its lid. That way, when you are ready to pay, you will only pay for the weight of the contents.

REDUCING is another step to use to minimize your trash. One of the biggest waste issues in our homes is food. People may not like eating left-overs, so they get pushed to the back of the frig and eventually become fuzzy. Not going to eat that!  

So, when buying fresh food like fruits and vegetables, milk and other refrigerated items, having an idea of what you will make with the items will help minimize having extra sitting around and spoiling in your house.  Use your freezer to package up produce in season when locally grown fruits and vegetables taste so fresh. The library has cookbooks and the Extension Service on Lafayette Avenue also has information that can help you prepare your food for the freezer so it will be delicious and safe to eat at a later time.  

Dehydrating and canning are other ways to preserve surplus food as well as prepared dishes when you have leftovers. These methods also end up with a shelf-safe product, which means it can be put in the pantry or cupboard and not take up freezer space.

Image result for re-use
Source: Tanana Valley Watershed Association

RE-USE is another step that eliminates trash. Sometimes we buy something and enjoy it but stop using it either because habits change or something breaks.  If you really are not going to use something again, pass it on. Decluttering is a very freeing feeling and no reason to keep things you won’t use.  I had a father-in-law who filled his barn over 60 years with broken things because “he might need them.” We had a lot of clean-up to do when he passed on.  But he grew up in the Depression and learned to be frugal.  We also can be more frugal but not to that point!  If the item needs something fixed in order to use it, be creative because many manufacturers want us to be attached at the wallet and plan the obsolescence of their product.  Sometimes they don’t even offer parts so you can repair things.   You might find some of these ideas useful!

LOGO jpegIf you want some amazing ideas of re-use and alternative use make sure to come to the McMinnville Recycled Arts Festival April 26th & 27th at the Linfield College Nicholson Library. It really is a misnomer to call it a “recycled” arts festival as the artists have amazing items that have used things that might be considered trash in alternative ways to produce things to enjoy.  Alternative use or upcycling are more common terms for these things. Come and see.

Only after you REFUSE, REDUCE,  and consider  RE-USE are you ready to sort your trash into recycling, composting or landfill. 

Styrofoam Project Success!

The pride and excitement radiating off Annely Germaine today was easily felt when I stood next to her this morning. A couple of years ago at a discussion of issues that needed attention she raised “What about Styrofoam?” and today collection of polystyrene started in McMinnville!ZWM volunteers

There are many players who worked with Annely to get to this moment. First, her committee members who met often and made road trips to discover what was being done elsewhere.   Then they spent hours analyzing how to piece together possible solutions at the lowest cost to city residents and the commercial recyclers.

Next was the City Council members who understood that Recology’s request for a rate hike was a golden opportunity to add this service.

Finally, the people at Recology themselves, who knew how to take the broad concept brainstormed by Zero Waste McMinnville and develop a system for implementation. IMG_3601.jpg

And today, a week before the rate hike goes into effect, the collection of Styrofoam blocks started because….well, Christmas purchasing usually includes a lot of Styrofoam and the public was eagerly awaiting the opportunity to clear the piles that had collected.

Gates opened at 8am and the cars and trucks started arriving. Some with a considerable amount, IMG_3597some just a few pieces. IMG_3595

Bins had been set up to identify how much was coming into Recology from McMinnville residents and from other areas outside of Mac. The bins started filling rapidly as more people came out after 10am when Zero Waste McMinnville offered free teeshirts to people. full bin

Recology requests people to limit their drop off to one square yard per day, but also know that the pent up demand may result in higher levels of contribution for a short time, and then amounts will drop and get to a slow and steady residential rate.

They plan to deliver the Styrofoam that is collected at the McMinnville Depot to Agilyx in Tigard several times a week. As the system gets established and runs smoothly, Recology will permit other types of #6 polystyrene to be recycled. And then, they will expand to commercial users who really are the ones who have the huge amount that need to be moved from the landfill waste stream into recycling.

So, in this process we have a few things that have become more clear to those of us not living solid waste disposal every day:

  1. When implementing a new service it will usually work smoother if slow and steady is the chosen system. We know households are bothered with this kind of trash and starting small with one kind helps work out system kinks before more kinds of the trash can be included and before the heavy players are involved.
  2. Zero Waste McMinnville is not and has never been a part of the Recology business. We may stick our collective noses into their business, but we are partners in crime so to speak. We have common goals and work together well to achieve those goals. Being a grassroots movement permits us to aim higher and farther than Recology may plan, simply because we are not initially concerned with the financial and environmental limitations to everything we want to see happen. With our ability to dream, and Recology’s pragmatic nature continually being teased by Zero Waste McMinnville, the residents of this city can look forward to other new recycling/composting/trash removal programs in the future.

Styrofoam Collection Starts December 26, 2018

After two years of working on this issue, Annely Germane is celebrating! Amd she deserves her time of pride and we all can celebrate!  You can too! Starting December 26th Recology will be accepting Styrofoam at the Depot. Open hours run 8am – 5pm, 6 days a week.

Recology will have an employee there to help monitor as only acceptable items will be taken. We want this to work and it’s a learning curve for all of us.  Please be patient and know that the program will be expanding.

First, the collection area will NOT be inside the Depot Building. Go into that parking lot, but turn left and drive past the building and through the yellow gate.  There you will be directed to the right location.

Second, there is a one-cubic-yard daily limit per person. This is about the maximum amount allowed.

696-03396326

This is too much!!! Don’t bring this amount all at once please. too much

Finally, for this first phase, only some  Styrofoam blocks of that rigid stuff you receive in boxes to protect the contents will be accepted. Recology will be adding more items as they work out any kinks in the collection process. We will share this information as quickly as possible.

Not yet
Not yet

Zero Waste McMinnville volunteers will be on hand on December 26th to help direct people to the collection area which is just past the depot. Go through the yellow gates and join the party!!!

Your Turn

I just finished reading a novel about World War II which centered on a German woman who was in her early 20s when hell came to her town. It described how she struggled to survive while providing for her infant daughter and actions she took that enabled her and her child to eat while sacrificing some portion of her soul. When the Americans entered the area they rounded up all the townspeople and marched them to Buchenwald, the adjacent concentration camp and put them to work for a day burying the dead.  It put the reality of what had been happening next door in front of their eyes. They could no longer be complacent in the fact that they knew….they knew and they did nothing or very little.

We’re there, people. Not a concentration camp killing people in Yamhill County, but as a society we are doing oh so very little to not kill our oceans and our earth.  Even those of us who have acknowledged the monster feel insignificant against the tide of plastic pollution.

In the novel, the main character had been kicked out of her family home because she had become pregnant with a Jewish lover she tried to hide. He had been discovered and taken away, her father had the typical knee-jerk reaction and so she ran. The local baker took her in and taught her to bake. She discovered the baker was bringing extra bread and hiding it in a tree that the camp inmates could access as they marched back from a day of grueling labor to the camp. When the baker was caught and killed, the woman took over. So, even though she could do little, she did that. Afraid always of being caught, tortured and killed, but she did it.

And so must we. We have to change our ways. We’re not at risk yet….but it’s getting closer.  Check out this video.

I don’t know how to reach the people who are not already enlightened. In a previous chapter of my life when I was learning about how many of the foods people chose to eat can cause life debilitating illness, I became angry and my blogs became preachy. A wise woman I did not know cautioned me not to “yell”. No one will listen if I yell. She became a close and loving friend I will always trust, because that is true.  So I want to raise awareness to those people in our community that already don’t seem to have caught on.

Personally, I am struggling with some  knee and hip problems that keep me from walking our wonderful Oregon beaches. The only one I can access is the drive-down beach at Pacific City at the haystack.  That area is so busy that any trash that washes up gets cleaned up quickly. But the other beaches, I have been told, need regular clean-up.

Dead fish on a beach surrounded by washed up garbage.
Source: greenliving.lovetoknow.com

Now, it is not really littering by beach lovers, although there is a tiny bit of that. What is happening is the normal ocean currents and waves carries plastic trash to our sands.  We don’t know the origin of our beach litter, but we know if there is that much on the sand, it stands to reason that our waters are pretty loaded. We love our fresh seafood here in the Northwest and now many ocean animals are dying not only because they are ingesting plastic trash but because the water quality is being affected.   Check out this video. 

What can we do? We’re 50 miles inland and no one here is dumping their garbage in the water we think. So we may think we are not complicit.

But there is another level. It is the choice of what we purchase and use  in our households, in our workplaces, in our recreation.

If we each reduce our dependence on plastic and ELIMINATE our use of single-use plastic, the manufacturers will begin to feel the reduction of income and make the changes that are needed.

For example, we heard a lot of “About time!” comments when McMinnville instituted the plastic bag ban at store checkouts. We also heard a number of complaints from people who just hate change, any change.  Recently, as more and more cities and countries eliminate plastic bags from use in their area, manufacturers are beginning to explore other ways to provide a similar product made from vegetable matter. Those bags will be able to be composted and so, return nutrients to the soil.

bioplastic-bags-made-from-cassava-and-shrimp-
BIOPLASTIC BAGS FROM CASSAVA AND SHRIMP WASTE Source: https://materia.nl/article/bioplastic-bags-cassava-shrimp/

Part of the reason this message has to get out to everyone is because recycling is no longer the easy answer. American culture is kind of lazy; people do the right thing when it is easy. For that reason we have curbside pickup of mixed recyclables and do not require households to sort into the many categories that would make it easier for Recology to find buyers for the material. Therefore, we have mixed collection and even though people are asked to clean the containers, many people do not. This food waste adds up to contamination levels that has lead the Chinese to refuse our trash.

And really, why should we have it so easy to think our trash disappears and we need not be responsible for it?  This is something people have had to deal with from the very earliest civilizations. Midden piles are an archaeologist’s key to figuring out how people lived in that place and time.

What does your trash say about you and your lifestyle?

 

Composting 101: Take One

One cup. Instead of 13 gallons.

At the time the concept of recycling was not common. So, I did not change my ways then. But over time, I started to be more aware of my contribution to the care and loving of Planet Earth and slowly started sorting.

Before moving to McMinnville the city where I lived in West Virginia offered a recycling curbside pickup for a fee. There were several issues, though. One was the container was pretty small. The other was that the service was intermittent and finally ended. There were some collection containers in the city, but we got out of the habit again.

We had, however, started composting. We had a small garden in our back yard and saw how quickly our kitchen produce waste could become green manure for our future food plot.  We continued composting when we moved to McMinnville, building a larger collection area in our backyard.

Our plastic container on the kitchen counter has recently been replaced by a designed compost bin. It has a filter and is easy to clean. With the lid kept in place there is no odor nor any enticement for fruit flies to gather.

So, when I am fixing dinner and cutting up the veggies for the salad or for cooking, the ends I don’t use get tossed into the compost bucket. I also put egg shells in it when I bake and the coffee grounds when I make a fresh pot. When the bucket gets filled, a short walk to the compost pile in the back yard is all it takes.

However, not everyone wants a pile of decaying vegetable matter in their yard, especially if they don’t garden and recognize the benefit of the feeding the nutrients back into the soil. Good News!!!  In the movement to becoming an outstanding example of a Zero Waste city, McMinnville has curbside pickup for yard waste and uncooked vegetable matter.yard-waste

You must sign up for the service, which is included in your trash and recycling service fee. Go to the Recology Website (http://recologywesternoregon.com.pages.services/opt-in) to reserve your bins.

How much easier do you need it to be to make the change to a more sustainable lifestyle?

Put it on Your Calendar!

The song goes….Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone…..

Hazardous Waste…….we all have some. Chemicals that are not allowed in the regular trash because of the hazards they present to the landfill and yes, the garbage truck itself,

How do you know if a  product is hazardous?

Always read the product labels. Signal words to look for on the label are DANGER, POISON, WARNING, or CAUTION. Products are considered hazardous if they have one or more of the following properties:

  • Flammable / combustible – can be easily set on fire
  • Explosive / reactive – can detonate or explode through exposure to heat, sudden shock, pressure, or incompatible substances
  • Corrosive – chemical action can burn or destroy living tissues or other materials when brought in contact
  • Toxic – capable of causing injury or death through ingestion, inhalation, or skin absorption

Collections of hazardous waste are usually twice a year.  The collections alternate between Newberg and McMinnville so people can use the opportunity to clean out their household of these items.   The next household hazardous waste collection event will be held Saturday, May 20, 2017 from 9am to 1pm at the Newberg Transfer Station (2904 S. Wynooski Street).  [Well, if you did not read this when it was first posted, you’re okay! Good News!  The next household hazardous waste collection event will be held Saturday, October 21, 2017, from 9am to 1pm at Recology Western Oregon (1850 Lafayette Ave) in McMinnville.  For more info call 503-434-7445.]

The Yamhill County Commission, recognizing that the collections have not been widely used, are thinking of discontinuing the service.

This is the time to make sure you get your garage or basement or storage building cleared out.  And if the activity is good, then the service may remain. It’s really up to you.

Image result for household hazardous waste list

So, what is eligible?

  • Paint thinners, mineral spirits, solvents
  • Aerosol paints (spray cans)
  • Auto and marine paints
  • Art and craft paints
  • Caulk, epoxies, glues, adhesives
  • Paint additives, colorants, tints, resins
  • Wood preservatives, (containing pesticides)
  • Roof patch & repair
  • Tar and bitumen-based products
  • 2-component coatings
  • Deck cleaners
  • Traffic and road marking paints
  • Industrial maintenance coatings
  • Original equipment manufacturer paints and finishesImage result for household hazardous waste list

 

Many people think to bring regular indoor or outdoor paint but here we are fortunate that both The Restore in McMinnville,  Parr Lumber in Newberg and the Sherwin Williams stores in both towns accept cans of used paint all year long for recycling.  By dropping your indoor paint at one of these locations you will also avoid waiting in a line!  These sites will accept:
  • Interior and exterior architectural paints: latex, acrylic, water-based, alkyd, oil-based, enamel (including textured coatings)
  • Deck coatings, floor paints (including elastomeric)
  • Primers, sealers, under coaters
  • Stains
  • Shellacs, lacquers, varnishes, urethanes, (single component)
  • Waterproofing concrete/masonry/wood sealers and repellents (not tar or bitumen-based)
  • Metal coatings, rust preventatives
  • Field and lawn paints

The regularly scheduled household hazardous waste collection for McMinnville is usually held in the Fall.  If the County decides to eliminate the collection or if you have something you want to get rid of at another time of the year there are two Permanent Household Hazardous Waste Collection locations:

Salem: 3250 Deer Park Drive – open Every Thursday and
the First Saturday each month from 9am to 3pm
FREE to Yamhill County RESIDENTS
Oregon City: 2001 Washington Street – open Monday thru Saturday from
9am to 4pm – $5.00 charge for up to 32 gal

Wineries, Move Over-There’s a New Tourist Destination in Town!

It seems to be a truism: people who have lived in a place for a long time may know their favorite restaurant, but they often are so set in their routine that they do NOT know all the new hot places to go see! My dad, who grew up in Brooklyn, loved taking us kids into New York City because he said he got to play tourist.  And I know,  even after living in the Hartford Connecticut area for over 14 years, I only visited the Mark Twain house when I returned with a carload of high school students on a college tour trip.

Still, you may be surprised that I bring out-of-town visitors to our transfer station at Recology when they come to see Oregon.

Let’s start with the premise that here until recently, and in most places in the United States even now, curbside collection of recycling is not typical. Trash, yes.  Mingled recycling, rare. Curbside collection of glass and yard waste, even more rare.

So, for the curious, checking out where that stuff goes and what they do with it is a normal tease.  For those who haven’t yet begun to think about the trash they generate, it is an eye-opener.

So, let’s visit Recology (1850 NE Lafayette Avenue, McMinnville) and see just what they do with what we give them.

When the truck comes today to pick up my mingled recyclables, they will be getting some cardboard, a bunch of junkmail, and a plastic jar I have no need to reuse. The truck will load up on its route and make it back to the transfer station by late morning, dump, and then head back out for another truckload. 

Inside the building, a forklift operator loads the mixed stuff on to a conveyor to a machine which compresses and bails it all. These bails are stacked and then sent off to a company that purchases our recyclables. That party is the one who sorts. Now, we could get more if we sorted locally, but the cost to process would probably be higher than the current system.

Some sorting is possible because of the collection bin system in the public portion of the center. 

Glass, for example, is sorted by color.  If you carry your glass to the transfer station you get directed to sort by color. 

The curbside collection is mingled, however. Trucks dump glass outside in a contained space for sorting before sending on to the glass buyers.  Okay, check out the beer (brown) drinkers versus red wine (clear) and white wine (green) drinkers.

Electronics are also collected inside, then moved and wrapped (the numbers indicate the weight)  and stored until a truckload is gained.  There are small amounts of gold and heavy metals that are pulled out; the gold for value, the heavy metals for safer disposal.  

 

 

 

 

Other items are also segregated and baled. Some, like cardboard,  are sold directly from McMinnville.

 

 

 

Some, like single use flimsy plastic sheeting,  have to be moved to another transfer station to be added to their collection.  Thin, single use plastic bags, similar to the ones used at grocery stores, are a huge problem.  Not only do they have few downstream uses, they typically end up littering our roadways and waterways, and then into the oceans.  McMinnville’s decision to stop permitting these bags to be used  will help improve our environment. As the Recology sign above indicates, REDUCE is one aspect we all need to practice.  If we don’t use a problematic item, we don’t need to worry about how to deal with it at the end of its usefulness.

 

 

 

 

There are other items that are collected inside the transfer station and then sorted and stored until the volume is enough to transfer. Things like motor oil and antifreeze are stored in bins most of us consider more useful for storing pre-bottled beverages.

People who do not pay for curbside trash or recycling pick-up may bring those items to the transfer station.  They are charged drop rates similar to the dump, but again, these items at the transfer station are recycled and so, there is an environmental advantage to this drop site. 

Before curbside pick-up was started last fall, many people had gotten used to bringing yard debris to the Greenlands site adjacent to the transfer station. Also part of the Recology organization, Greenlands accepts all kinds of natural items that can be used and reused.

For example, the curbside yard waste pick-up also permits raw vegetables and fruits. In other words, as you are preparing your supper, scraps not used for eating can be used for compost. Cooked food is NOT permitted. The mulch operation at Greenlands is pretty amazing with rows and rows of vegetable matter maturing.  If you need muclch for your home garden, consider buying some to be delivered from Greenlands instead of buying it in plastic (ugh) bags at the home centers or nurseries. 

So, if you haven’t already been to Recology,  go check it out.  You’ll be amazed at the things they take which will make you a more responsible person sorting for recycling instead of landfill! And you can raise the awareness of people who come to visit from areas where there is no similar recycling system to learn and hopefully get something started where they live!