How to be a Zero Waster!

The goal of reducing the trash we send to the landfill to under 10% of all our garbage is daunting but believe it or not, other cities are successful so we can be also!  It takes each of us living here…and even our visitors…to learn to adapt new ways.

In January 2019 Recology posted a new service to their website and we want to share it here. Called WhatBin? It will help you determine how to sort your trash.  Check it out!!



The first step is one of prevention.  Being mindful while purchasing food and other things includes considering the package that contains the item. For example, many of our supermarkets have bulk food bins. The Bulk Food section at Winco, for example, offers a wide variety of pastas, baking items, nuts, candy, dried fruit, and so much more. Several stores offer “wet” items like peanut butter, syrup, honey, and more.

When you select items from the bulk bins you often get a lower price per unit and you can also select the amount you need, perfect for families large and small. While there are containers available, the SUPER Zero Waster brings reusable mesh bags for the dry goods and reusable plastic containers (washed after emptying) for refill of wet items.

We will provide other ways for you to REDUCE. Go to the drop down menu and select REDUCE for suggestions. 


Believe it or not, many items that people think are recyclable are,  but they are also compostible. And putting those items into compost serves us all better. Why? Because in the time it takes for the items to decay, we have something very valuable to add to the soil in your garden. Nutrients can go back into the soil when compost is added and improve the production of your flowers or produce.   When you include the same item in your Recycle bin it gets mixed with other cans, paper, and plastic and may not be sold for much at all. And if they are dirty, that means they are contaminated and can not be used for recycling. But a pizza box with grease and cheese remnants feeds the worms well and breaks down into nutrients that nourishes your garden.compost sign

Here in McMinnville Recology offers curbside pickup for “Yard Waste”. This includes lawn clippings, weeds pulled from your gardens, hair from your hair brush, lint from your dryer, coffee grounds, tea bags, and fruit and vegetable peelings you make when you are preparing a meal.

If you have curbside pickup for trash you can go to Greenlands to drop yard waste.

We will provide other info to improve your ability to COMPOST.   Go to the drop down menu and select COMPOST for suggestions. 


Everyone knows about recycling but believe it or not, not everything that is marked as recyclable is accepted at Recology at this time. Items that are accepted are things that Recology can sell to a re-manufacturer. For example, plastic has become a confusing issue. Some plastics are taken here in McMinnville but other items are not. When you swing through the fast food or into a convenience shop for a soft drink, the cup may or may not be recyclable. The lid and the straw are not.  SUPER Zero Wasters do not take the offered plastic straw as they carry a stainless steel one for reuse.  The clue on plastic is if you can bend it in your hand and it goes back to its original shape, it is not recyclable here at this time.recylcing sign

If you do not have curbside pickup for your recycling, but you do pay for trash service, you can go to Recology to drop items.  You can arrange to have monthly glass recycling curbside pickup as well.

We will provide other info to reduce confusion about how to RECYCLE.  Go to the drop down menu and select RECYCLE for suggestions. 


We have become a throw-away society with planned obsolescence by manufacturers requiring us to replace things that fail after so many uses. It wasn’t always that way, but in a consumer society like ours, manufacturers cut costs by using plastic parts where they used to use metal. Those items have a shorter lifespan and fail, making you need a new item.  Most of us have lost the art of repair.  Zero Waste McMinnville would like to see periodic “Repair Clinics” where items that have failed are evaluated for repair by volunteers who have those skills.

Also, people want the “newest” and the most “up to date” items so are often replacing without the original item failing. That provides the option for re-use by others. Zero Waste McMinnville would like to hold a yard sale or a flea market sometime to help fund raise and also to see unused items actually going to new homes where they can be put to use.