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!



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 now we are repeating the support activities for smaller stores that implemented 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.


Other committees include