How Can YOU Make a Difference?

In order to achieve our mission of making McMinnville more sustainable by 2024 we need the participation of a lot of people.  How do YOU fit in?



First of all, as a resident or regular visitor to McMinnville we welcome you to learn how to REFUSE, REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE AND COMPOST. Reducing the amount of trash you make is the first step. After that, learning to sort your own trash may end up saving you money as you learn that most of what you throw away will NOT be going to the landfill and you can call Recology to swap your trash bin to the smaller size and pay less on a monthly basis for your service!



Check out this list and contact the person in charge if it intrigues you! Volunteer Dec 2018

We very much need more people….more energized bodies and minds….to achieve our goal. Here are other positions we are hoping to fill.

Research Assistant:  Zero Waste McMinnville periodically needs some information that might require internet searching. This position would not be constant, but each assignment could take up to 5 hours.  Most would be significantly shorter.    For example, we would like to identify other places where people could take items that are not recycled by Recology, i.e., pill containers, plastic planter trays, burnt out light bulbs, etc.   Also, identify and inventory the major items by volume or weight that businesses currently send to landfill but which might otherwise be diverted by some means. We’ll point you in the right direction to get you started.

Construction/Demolition Debris Project: Zero Waste McMinnville’s mission to reduce trash going to the landfill MUST deal with the debris from construction as it is the largest single component by weight and volume. To understand how to reach that goal, we need to gather info and write a report

  • Survey the local construction industry by interviewing builders and identifying materials sources.
  • Visiting dump sites and researching quantities of con/dem materials going to landfills.
  • Research other communities where con/dem materials are diverted effectively.  Plan a visit with project coordinator.
  • Research how other governmental entities are regulating con/dem materials disposition.
  • Assess what materials could be diverted and what would be required to do so in a cost-effective way.
  • Prepare a white paper on the information gathered for presentation to Zero Waste, Linfield academic supervisors, and McMinnville City Council.


  • Website Designer:  Zero Waste McMinnville needed a website so after months of delay, a person with little experience managed to put something together to make an appearance to the world.  Now it is time for someone with better ideas of layout and colors and flow can make it look like something great!  Can you?


  • Business Community Survey for Volunteer Commitments:   Zero Waste McMinnville offers waste sorting management at many events from May to October each year. Some events are small, needing less than 10 volunteers to make them run smoothly, but some events run several long days and over 100 volunteers are required.    There are many businesses in town who suggest employees should participate in some community involvement….why not Zero Waste?   We need someone who is comfortable talking to people and has experience in data base management.  This could be shared with another person to reduce individual time commitment but must be worked together to reach the goal.


  • Identify Ways to Market:   Zero Waste McMinnville’s marketing message includes a website and active Facebook page as well as periodic Instagram posts. The local newspaper lists the meeting times.  How else can we develop a marketing program that will reach people who do not access the Internet.



Then we ask you to join us. By offering your time, even just 3 hours a year, you help us move this mission forward. We need volunteers to help at events that generally are scheduled in the spring, summer and fall. Many of the events are family oriented and we often have children involved as well.  SIGN UP HERE!!!

One event, planned completely by Zero Waste McMinnville is Compostpalooza, a family affair with lots of information how composting can help your own garden, plants available for your garden and baby farm animals to pet. compostpaloosa animal

Some events are held in award winning beautiful downtown McMinnville. If you have never attended the UFO Alien Days in May, it is past time and you can have an insider’s view by helping Zero Waste McMinnville.  We also provide help at Turkeyrama, another of McMinnville’s large events. The summertime downtown free concerts on the plaza also is a Zero Waste event and needs volunteers.  And every Thursday from mid May to mid October, we help at the Downtown Farmers’ Market. farmers market as

Other events are located elsewhere: the 4th of July fireworks on the grounds at the Evergreen Air and Space Museum, the International Pinot Noir Festival on the Linfield campus, and the Bounty of the County dinner at one of the area’s fine wineries.  Other activities are added as area event organizers realize there is a better way to manage their trash.

Shifts are generally 3 hours and there are three basic tasks at events:

Station Hosts– Wear one of our bright green vests, stand or sit at one of our Clearstream Stations and help the public place their discards in the appropriate bin- Compost, Recycle, and Landfill.  The goal is to have as little going to the landfill as is possible.  Be friendly, providing information to help educate.

Sorters– For all large events we have a staging area that is our hub.

In this area sorters using gloves carefully sort the contents of the bags from the many stations into several more categories- some plastics, metal, cardboard, glass, deposit bottles and cans.  These are both weighed and measured by volume to determine the diversion rate- which is the percentage of trash being diverted away from the landfill.

Runners- These volunteers keep it all flowing, picking  up the full bags at the stations and carrying them to the sorters and providing clean bags for station hosts.


Volunteer training is short and can help you feel very comfortable taking on the role of “expert” helping others learn to sort trash. The next training will be May 6 from 5:30-7pm in the Carnegie Room at the McMinnville Public Library.July 9 2018b


Are you creative? Do you like to write?  We need content for our website!  This may require a visit to an event or organization to gather information and take some photos to share with everyone. Or it might mean an hour or so of some Internet research to offer helpful tips.  Are you artistic? We often need some graphic design elements that will help grab people’s attention both on our website as well as other marketing and signage. Marketing is a huge part of the education component of our mission.


So much of what we do involves educating the public, so we need funds to produce information handouts as well as other items such as the Bag It Better shopping totes, the Trash-Compost-Recycling bins and liners, and more. We need event planners as well as grant writers.


It’s really pretty easy to turn food scraps and more from your daily life into great nutrition for your garden. Each June we hold an event that provides lots of information for novice and more experienced composters. We’re in the planning stages for the 2018 event and can use more help.


Pat Angland co-chairs the Awards Committee with Ramsey McPhillips.  Together they are spearheading an program to recognize the efforts of local businesses, organizations and individuals.  Some are involved in composting or waste audit projects and some have created pilot projects on their own.  In total we recognize and laud these McMinnville residents who are aiding Zero Waste in our plan of achieving 90% waste diversion by 2024.


by Lovetta Dill

Each of us is a Mom, a Dad, a Grandparent, a Brother, Sister, Aunt or Uncle, or maybe just a neighbor to children who attend school in McMinnville District 40. Without exception, we have a vested interest in helping give those students the opportunity for an education which will prepare them, academically, socially, and ethically, for the real world in which they will be adults.

How to do this can be a daunting proposition. Our schools, correctly, maintain a closed door policy in order to better insure the safety of those students, and to minimize disruption which might distract them from their work. School walls and staff are important insulation from outside interference.

As a member of the Zero Waste Green Schools Committee, I was recently privileged to tour several schools in Corvallis which are managing to balance concerns of safety with accepting help from others in their community in order to enlarge the scope of education about living responsibly and sustainably in this world.

At Crescent Valley High School, Katherine Leonard, a language arts teacher, led us through onsite efforts to use less, reuse, and recycle waste resources. These efforts are varied and creative. There is signage (made from recycled materials) to direct students and staff away from ‘wishcycling’ toward productive recapture of recyclable waste resources.  There are several simple changes to conserve energy, signage to remember to turn off lights when not in use, and a ‘switch flipped’ in a bank of seldom used computers from always on to available to turn on when needed. There are student project days for maintenance of the free flowing greenway through the school. As we toured, we met student members of Crescent Valley’s Green Team. One student, a senior, said she had several possible candidates already identified to take her place when she graduates in spring.

At Cheldelin Middle School, we were invited to the lunchtime meeting of the student Green Team. Two students led a dozen others in a quick but purposeful session (15 minutes) of: a. evaluating systems for cafeteria recycling and composting which are working well, b. problem solving for an element of the system which is glitchy, and c, scheduling out student teams for cafeteria monitor duties over the next couple of weeks. Elizabeth Wieland, the teacher, contributed support only when asked by students to help back them up on an issue regarding reluctance from a few students outside the club to accept direction from monitors. Students then proudly led us to the lunchroom, where those on schedule took their places and quietly began their jobs. Ms Wieland a science teacher, gave us a few minutes to describe ways in which school sustainability efforts benefited students academically and a bottle and can drive by several schools as part of shared community funding of solar panels for the school.

From Cheldelin Middle School we went to Garfield Elementary. Sadly, we missed the meeting of the Eco-Geckos student team, but we were treated to a description of how students were working to reduce electrical energy use by one third in the school. A stationary bike for producing kid energy provides a student demonstration of what it takes to produce the electricity we all take for granted. Light monitors wielded by students help to identify areas which are adequately lighted by sunlight through windows, or where every third light in a bank of fluorescents can be turned off. We were invited to a planning session by a team consisting of Christy Toliver- the sustainability leader onsite, science teacher Joel Inman, Margot-a classified staff member, Rachel-the area sustainability coordinator (from the local recycling company) and a couple of parents. They discussed what was working, improving signage on recycle bins with an idea borrowed from Kate Leonard at Crescent Valley High School, and a review of logistics for the upcoming rollout of an expansion of composting to cover breakfast services provided in each classroom.

So what did I come away from this whirlwind tour thinking?

First, I was flabbergasted by the purposefulness and resourcefulness of students presented with relevant issues and tasked with the goal of helping to solve them. I think all of us want to see young people developing into productive and thoughtful community members.

Second, I was deeply impressed with the spirit of collaboration between individuals from every sector of the community: teachers, classified employees, parents, local businesses, and students.