How Can YOU Make a Difference?

In order to achieve our mission of making McMinnville the first city in Oregon to reduce garbage 90% 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 REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE AND COMPOST. 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!



We very much need more people….more energized bodies and minds….to achieve our goal. Here are positions we are hoping to fill as of the end of August 2018:

  • 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.


  • Re-Use/Upcycle Artisan Fair research:  There is increased interest in zero waste, even in the craft and art worlds. A quick survey of members on an artisan show Facebook page indicates many already upcycle used items into their products. There are several fairs that limit their vendors to this genre, including one nearby in Vancouver.  Zero Waste McMinnville would like to sponsor a successful event that can be repeated annually. To that end we need to identify issues the ongoing fairs have experienced and overcome.   Also identify times in the community calendar that other events would either enhance attendance or present conflict.  This research should culminate in a clear report of the steps needed for ZWM to achieve success and will include location, management, pricing of space, marketing for vendors and marketing to the public and if the artisan fairs also allow flea market tables.


  • 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.

One event, planned completely by Zero Waste McMinnville is Compostpaloosa, 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.  In June The Highland Games make their appearance at Linfield College and we will be there to help. 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’ MarketImage may contain: 2 people, people standing and outdoor

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.


Sign up to help by clicking on the 2018 Event Sign-up page and finding a time you can help!

Volunteer training is short and can help you feel very comfortable taking on the role of “expert” helping others learn to sort trash. July 9 2018b


We also need dedicated volunteers who can give some time on a regular basis to help one of our projects move forward.   Think about all the trash you yourself produce and you’ll begin to understand we need people to study a number of issues and then develop how we can address them. This includes topics like styrofoam, merchant awards, solid waste audits, composting, and green schools. We also need people to help with marketing and fundraising.


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.


The Bag it Better Committee has completed its project with the townwide implementation of a ban on single use bags at the checkouts of shops around town.  Formed several years back, the committee wanted to eliminate single use plastic bags given out by stores in McMinnville.  The committee, headed by Beth Dell researched and studied various versions of this type of ordinance throughout Oregon and in other locations.  Field trips were scheduled to confer with store owners, and employees in several cities that had successfully passed ordinances.  The committee interviewed those who pushed for the laws and asked about strategies and hindsight insights.

Then the committee worked with presentations to the City of McMinnville, and with the city attorney.  After many months and after public input,  the ordinance was enacted.  Prior to first implementation at Big Box Stores, committee members worked individually with store managers to support the September 1, 2017 date. Beth gave over leadership to Pat Angland at that time and smaller stores implemented the change on March 1, 2018.



Zero Waste McMinnville is advocating for the creation of collection points for Styrofoam and polystyrene waste so that it can be densified and transferred to recycling facilities.  Pending in 2018 is implementation of a styrofoam collection program. As this program comes together, area residents will be able to dispose of clean styrofoam, like the blocks that come inside cartons that house electronics.  Successful implementation will eliminate the large space this light weight material takes up in the landfill, where is just does not decay. Instead, it will be processed and recycled for other styrofoam use.  That committee had six members, each helping acquire information and make contacts and arrangements.The long-term goal is to eliminate Styrofoam from the waste stream and eliminate its use in packing and manufacture.  Read more in our blog.


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 laude these McMinnville residents who are aiding Zero Waste in our plan of achieving 90% waste diversion by 2024.