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




Volunteers are the lifeblood of the Zero Waste McMinnville organization.  Without people willing to give their time and energy, the issues that feel so important to us  would not get accomplished.

During the spring, summer and fall, we have “event season”.  Starting this past weekend with Farm Fest at the Heritage Center, Zero Waste McMinnville will have a presence at just about every event in McMinnville through September!FarmFest sorting  FB_IMG


When the organization was formed over five years ago, the concept of reaching out to the public at events like UFO Celebration and Turkeyrama was at first confusing. Who wants to learn about trash when they come to a downtown event for fun? IMG_3237

Well, it seems like almost everyone.! We still respect our local curmudgeon’s right to stamp his feet and grumble but we do admit we think he is silly. Whether you understand the causes of global warming or not, there still are many things you can personally do to help the earth be healthy. IMG_3238

During the festivals most of our our volunteers help by standing or sitting near the bins and teaching visitors to sort their trash into “recycle”, “compost”, and “landfill”. Since different trash haulers in different cities have different rules, there is plenty of confusion and it is an easy 10-second exchange of info that helps garbage end up in the right bin.compost bin explanation

Unsure you have the McMinnville system understood well enough to avoid loading bins wrong? Well, a very short training session Monday, May 6  from 5:30-7 at the Carnegie Room of the Mac Library will help!volunteer FarmFest 2018

There are other tasks at the festivals as well, and of course, our ongoing committees also need volunteers.

If you have 3 hours – or more-  to give to the community, please join us for the training!

Any questions? Email Patriciafaye Marshall for more information.


The Styrofoam Dilemma

Yeah McMinnville!!! We have worked out an arrangement with Recology to gather our Styrofoam pieces and bring them to Agilyx in Tigard for their processing. We are truly fortunate that not only do we have a polystyrene recycler within an hour of where we live, but our trash hauler WANTS to do the right thing and find recycling solutions wherever possible.  Image result for agilyx

So, a bit over a month ago on December 26 the collection process started at the Recology Recovery Zone at 2200 NE Orchard Avenue. Monday through Saturday from 8am – 5 pm there is a Recology worker available to collect your Styrofoam. Residents of McMinnville (city) can drop 1 cubic yard for free daily.  People living outside the city limits who are Recology customers can also drop off Styrofoam but there is a small charge. IMG_3595

The initial phase includes Styrofoam blocks and other larger pieces. In time, smaller pieces like Styrofoam clamshells will be included as well as other polystyrene that is commonly used, like the red Solo cups and other #6 plastics.  Also in time, once the whole process has worked out the inevitable kinks that any new project has, attention will turn to the large Styrofoam disposal locations. These are the large stores that sell appliances and furniture, all of which come in protectively packaged and wrapped.  The Information meeting Monday, February 4 5:30 at the Carnegie Room of the Mac Public Library will provide more information.

This is EXCELLENT!!!   So, why is this a dilemma?

Well, we know just about everyone is ecstatic about this new service and we are too. Do not misunderstand me, please!

The dilemma comes down to this: while Styrofoam is large and does not naturally break down and takes up a lot of space in landfills, it is not heavy, so the impact that removing it from the landfill is not as large as it feels.

We need to do more and guess what? We’re working on it.

A dedicated small group of volunteers, including the people at Cellar Ridge Construction have begun to develop solutions to the problems caused by construction and demolition debris.

Many have us have enjoyed watching those home improvement shows where demolition  typically involves a large sledgehammer and a dumpster.  No doubt about it, smashing down a wall can be cathartic to the psyche, but the debris ends up hogging a lot of space in the landfill and weighs a lot!

Cellar RidgeSo, Cellar Ridge, who has been using sustainable practices wherever possible,  will help us address the cost savings that a slower, methodical approach to removing usable components and permitting re-use can provide. Imagine not having to pay for so many truckloads going to the landfill. This is a win for the contractor!!

And there is another component to the dilemma: we need more people to help work this out. We are especially looking for those people with the experience of working with materials like this, but anyone who enjoys a good research project can help.

(By the way, we almost always need more people to help……..and event season is coming soon. You will hear about volunteer opportunities starting soon.)

What’s Happening?

There has been a bit of a lull with active Zero Waste McMinnville volunteers as the hectic events season ended with the last Downtown Farmers’ Market.  It gives us all a moment to catch our breaths and regroup. We don’t stop working towards our goal; in fact, the committee work gears up since each of us is not pulled in six different directions any given day.

So, part of what you are reading that that we are always working to get to that goal of 90% of trash diverted from the landfill by 2024.

But more importantly, part of what you are reading here is also a statement of fatigue: we are a small and mighty group but we really would be willing to have more of you join us in chasing the goal. That eases the tasks each one of us handles.

We’ve heard you: you appreciate what we’re doing even as some in town may not agree with all aspects of the decision making. Actually,  agree with us or disagree, the best way to get yourself heard better is to join us. The next meeting will be Monday, November 5th at 5:30 in the Carnegie Room at the Public Library.

Right now there are several committees in active planning.

  • Styrofoam collection: we know you want it. Styrofoam comes into our homes in several ways including the trays under the meat you purchase at the supermarket, many of the take-out containers used at restaurants, and of course, the packing materials in boxes that get mailed to you as well as appliances and furniture you purchase here in town.  While we all get some Styrofoam, we support Recology’s decision not to have a curb-side collection.  It costs them a lot to run pick-up service and in a situation like this, the household volume does not support that level of activity. We believe that establishing a collection area at the Depot would be a good solution. Similar to other items (like cardboard, textiles, books, glass, electronics and more), a collection container for Styrofoam will probably provide you an outlet without much bother. Unfortunately, Recology’s space is tight inside the Depot. For the Styrofoam to be viable to Agilyx (the company that can break it down into its components and then truly make it available for new/recycled Styrofoam to be manufactured), it needs to be protected from the weather. We are asking residents of McMinnville to sign a petition asking the City Council to add a stipulation to the contract with Recology to provide this service.   As a way to demonstrate to Recology that the public wants this service, we are trying to set up a collection day, probably in January  (after all those padded packages arrive as part of holiday shopping). Watch our website calendar as well as announcements on the Facebook page to participate.


  • Composting collection: Currently you can use your Yard Waste trash bin to include uncooked fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, and a few other raw produce leavings. Do not include egg shells, as they take a bit longer to break down into the good nutritional calcium element and remaining pieces of shell flecks in the compost produced by Greenlands has caused some dissatisfaction.  We encourage you to have a small compost pile in your own yard if you have space, as the nutrients that develop in the rich decayed material will feed your flower and food gardens. More items can be used in a home compost pile as seen in the photo.  Zero Waste has been working towards implementation of a commercial pick up from restaurants, schools, the hospital and nursing homes. Once we implement a pilot program we can work out issues that might hamper curbside collection citywide, so it’s important we work it slowly and carefully.  We could use some help on this committee, with tasks that would include or not include physical effort.


  • By both volume (space used) and weight, debris from demolition and construction is the single largest category of trash going to the landfill. It is in the financial interest of anyone paying for trash pickup in McMinnville that we solve this problem!  We appreciate Cellar Ridge Construction  offering to help us explore our options here. This is a perfect example of a type of special expertise that is needed for this task. People with large scale experience knows not only the issues they themselves deal with, the solutions they have developed that may be viable on a larger scale, and the ability to know what the construction industry overall in areas interested in zero waste are doing to address this problem. We need not reinvent the wheel, so to speak, if another location already has developed a solution.  If you have the time and knowledge to lend a hand with this problem, please let us know.  When we have larger committees, each person’s time involvement lessens.  We love our volunteers and do not want them to fatigue out of chasing the mission


  • We are planning an Earth Day event that we have great hopes will excite you! We’ve posted  in this blog as well as on Facebook numerous stories about places around the world where amazing useful items and artistic decor are made using items that would otherwise end up in the trash. We hope you will be excited to explore The McMinnville Recycled Arts Festival!!  The committee has been working hard the last few weeks and we will be announcing the when/where/why/who/how information asap!  This will be a juried event which means the artisans who will be participating will have to submit extensive information about their products for us to determine they meet our quality standards. All prices will be offered. This will not be an exclusive event but one where everyone living in the area will enjoy not only the creativity of the artists, but how the usefulness of many of the handcrafted items would fit your own needs.


  • Another committee that is approaching the culmination of planning is the Merchant Awards group. We recognize that each of us probably needs to be more mindful of the materials in items we purchase and how we can best use them when we no longer need it. It’s easy for people to be reluctant about the changes they can make and Zero Waste McMinnville wants to recognize the amazing steps some people are taking to minimize their contribution to the landfill. Our first phase of this involves award to shopkeepers, restaurants, and other similar businesses who have met standards we have suggested for best practices.


  • There are several more committees and working groups that help Zero Waste McMinnville develop an action plan for reaching the mission. One aspect is working with the youth in town. An active committee is introducing the Green Schools program in city schools. Last year Patton Middle School participated and were amazing creative and excited participants.  Because of the help we provide at area events, we see that overall, the children of this city already are aware that they have a role in helping our environment be healthy.  Kids often show their parents how to sort their trash, for example!  Our intern Maddie is developing ideas of other ways to reach out to the school-age population here.


We are not a large group, but we are attracting more people to this way of thinking and many more are volunteering their energy, as they can. We do not abuse our volunteers. We encourage you to find the best fit…there are so many ways…..but not to overdo.  Another way you can join our group is to consider a financial contribution. Our annual Sustaining Circle dinner is scheduled for Friday, November 16th  and we would love for you to be there. This year we are excited to host the event at Youngberg Hill Winery 

Wow! A New Look at “Styrofoam”!!!

Get ready to hold on to your hats!! This may flip everything you ever thought about recycling!

Back in February we shared with you about Agilyx, a company located just up the road in Tigard that has been getting a LOT of national attention. In the blog,  First Choice: Stop Using! Second Choice: Recycling ComingI wrote that you should stop using polystyrene products (like Styrofoam coffee cups) but to keep your ears open, since the Styrofoam Committee was working hard for McMinnville.  We’re getting oh so close, now and it is time to give you an update!

First, let’s get this out of the way. Most of us call it Styrofoam, but it is important to state that that is a trademarked name, just like Xerox and Kleenex.  And just like Xerox and Kleenex, the term Styrofoam is used by most people for ALL similar products, no matter the manufacturer.

We’re talking about a kind of plastic that up to now has not typically been part of the recycle stream and took up a LOT of space in landfills.  So of course Zero Waste McMinnville has been seeking a solution as part of our goal to reduce the amount of trash heading to the landfill.

The Styrofoam Committee identified that the city of Tillamook had received a grant to purchase a densifier, a machine that would smash certain kinds of Styrofoam into denser smaller pieces. An arrangement is being made to periodically use this densifier, located on a trailer for easy transport, in McMinnville. Some of the waste will then be carried back to Tillamook for them to use and the rest will go to Agilyz.styrofoam 3

The magic that Agiliyz’s proprietary process uses breaks down the plastic, the polystyrene, into its styrene oil origins with little waste.  This oil, then, can be reused to make more polystyrene. And again and again, unlike other plastics which can be recycled only once before they can not perform well any longer.  agilyx banner

The next piece of the puzzle is how to collect it. While Recology’s curbside pick-up has expanded beyond landfill trash to mixed recycling, glass, and yard waste, they can’t pick up EVERYTHING we want to get rid of. People who are excited about other kinds of recycling already understand how to bring other items to the Depot. Check out the blog, Move over Wineries! There’s a New Tourist Destination in Town!  that explained how so many items are collected there!   Recology is looking for space for a Styrofoam collection point that will keep the disposed items dry. DSC_0091

What does this mean to us living in McMinnville?  Well, pretty soon we will let you know where to bring your Styrofoam!  That means those slabs of foam inside the box that packaged your newest television or computer or other precious item will be able to go into the recycling stream!!!

And while we want all vendors at Zero Waste events to stick with compostible food service items at this time, it will probably make them thrilled to know next year we should be able to happily accept polystyrene items.  These tend to be less expensive,  which businesses with slim profit margins appreciate.

When the time comes we will provide clear information on how to identify those plastics that fit the Agilyx requirements. Meanwhile, please understand that this is Zero Waste McMinnville at work: a small group of impassioned volunteers who recognize that our city CAN be cleaner and have a smaller environmental footprint.logo

Please join us. We have more projects that need attention, including one where no current volunteer has any expertise: construction and demolition waste. This is the largest and heaviest segment of trash that goes to the landfill and if we can divert that, we will be well on our way to making McMinnville the first city in Oregon to be a Zero Waste city!


Part of the Community

A small city, like McMinnville, offers its residents a chance to get lost, as it is large enough. It also offers a chance to be part of something, as there are multiple events and activities.

I urge you to join, to be a part of this community. It is a tremendous feeling to be part of an activity from the “inside” or “backstage” crew.

For example, in only a few weeks McMinnville will be rolicking with its annual UFO Festival. As much as I generally try to avoid crowds, this is one event I love to attend. I put on something a bit weird and feel that I can let my inner child out to roam for one afternoon.  DSC_0008

My practical side volunteers with Zero Waste McMinnville. I go early to volunteer, thereby grabbing a parking space pretty close to the action.  The work always stops for the parade, so there is nothing lost in volunteering. What you gain is being an active participant in reducing the amount of trash that goes to the landfill.

At the UFO Festival, at the weekly farmers’ markets, at TurkeyRama and at several more public events that attract residents as well as visitors, there are several kinds of tasks that need volunteers. farmers market as

If you are a people person, we need you to help stand or sit by one of the collection station as a Station Host. This is the place where people (learn to) sort their garbage into “recyclable”, “compostable” or “landfill”. There is a bucket for liquids left in drink containers, and another container for cans and bottles. Most of the time, people appreciate the help learning, especially now that Recology had to adjust what can be taken for recycling.  There are, however, always a few people who just get glee out of purposely doing it wrong. You learn to ignore them.

Two other tasks may be for you if you don’t want to interact with people much.  One is the Runner, who uses a 2-wheel dolly and collects the trash bags and brings them back to the sorting station.

The Sorters, wearing gloves and aprons, actually open all the trash bags and then “super sort”, clearly making sure the right trash goes into the right category. Everything is weighed in order to check how the event is doing each year.

Volunteer shifts are generally 3 hours long and some events need 4 people (Farmers’ Market) and some, like the UFO Festival, TurkeyRama and the Highland Games need over 50 people!

  • If you sit at home feeling blue because you don’t know anyone, join us.
  • If you enjoy doing things with your friends, join us.
  • If you want to go to the event, join us.
  • If you have never been to the event, join us.
  • And, for the Highland Games, if you want to go but don’t want to pay admission, join us.

To join in the fun go to the EVENT SIGN-UP page. The volunteer coordinator will contact you and answer your questions.

Wanted: Photo Journalist

Zero Waste McMinnville now has an Instagram account and needs someone to manage it. If you don;t know what Instagram is, this opportunity might not be for you but that depends on your learning curve for a new app. Scan_20180419

Instagram is a way to communicate with others through photographs and short descriptive captions.

Knowing how to connect with people, especially here in McMinnville, who will enjoy learning about how to be a Zero Waster is important, so knowledge of how to use the software is important. farmers market as

In order to achieve our goal of diverting 90% of the trash away from the landfill by 2024 we MUST reach more people through our marketing efforts.

The ideal person would be someone who is interested in this project, willing to show up at events where Zero Waste is helping sort the trash, and has curiosity to add other photos of interest in this subject. Please contact Beth Rankin at or message back.

Summer Intern Wanted!!

by Cole Keener

Are you looking to get more involved in the community? Are you looking for a summer internship here in McMinnville? Do you want to help make McMinnville the first city in Oregon to reduce garbage 90% by 2024? Well, Zero Waste McMinnville is the right choice for you!logo

There is currently an opening as a summer intern at Zero Waste McMinnville that is looking for a dedicated volunteer that will take the non-profit organization to exciting new heights! This unpaid internship opportunity will enhance the student’s project management, administrative and communication skills, which can be utilized in future for-profit or non-profit work experiences. This internship may count for college credit as the university or college allows.

The internship runs from June 1st-August 15th.

The Responsibilities include:

  • Assisting with the marketing team
  • Working on improvements with the current website
  • Attending general meetings every 1st and 2nd Monday of the month
  • Volunteering at events throughout the summer

The Desired Qualifications and Skills include:

Freshmen through Senior undergraduate student, or a recent graduate, with an interest in non-profits.

  • Accuracy and attention to detail is a must!
  • Excellent communication and organizational skills.
  • Ability to work within deadlines and in a professional manner.

Our marketing team has come up with some great ideas for the future of Zero Waste McMinnville and we want an individual that will help build on these ideas put in place.

Being more educated about the environment is so important and it is something we as people take for granted. We at Zero Waste McMinnville put the environment first and are always looking for ways to improve on waste consumption every single day.

As an intern, you will be able to build everlasting connections with dedicated volunteers currently with Zero Waste McMinnville. These volunteers dedicate their time and energy into something they care so deeply about.

Don’t worry about knowing the difference between a compostable and a recyclable…We will teach you more about it!IMG_2155

To apply for the summer intern position, please contact Beth Rankin at 304-654-5634 or email

We hope to work with you soon!


Focusing On The Goal

Dreamers who get angry just enough that so many just can’t see what is right in front of them.  These are the ones who understand just what a precious place our home in space is, this Earth. And these are the ones who also understand that others do not have that enlightenment about our environment, and so they decide to teach.

Farmers who work the soil to produce nutritious food know the real dirt.  These are the ones who understand just how important clean water is, how the soil must be clear of toxins, how activity on their piece of land affects the land around it.

Children born and yet unborn whose health depends on clean air, clean water, clean food deserve us to sustain a healthy environment.   These are the ones who will be affected with toxicities in the air, water and soil, and whom we have a duty to protect.

Skeptics who shrug and say they are just one person in a sea of stubborn habits. These are the ones who sometimes learn well with carrots (information explaining the benefits of a change in sustainable behavior). And these are also the ones who might need the stick to learn, persuading them to make the small effort to change.

Drive-through and take-out convenience store eaters who have lots of stuff to sort properly. These are the ones who understand which wrappers and containers can be recycled and which, unfortunately, will end up at the landfill. And these are also the ones who refuse to take the few seconds to sort and thereby send more to the landfill, causing our trash service fees to possibly increase.

Businesses who reduce the size of the packaging and switch to recyclable or compostible materials are seeing reduced packaging costs overall. These are the ones who are willing to consider a change to new materials as not only a resident of the Earth but recognize a popular marketing move also.

People who appreciate the beauty of McMinnville and the surrounding countryside probably also feel that each and every time they drive home from Portland.  These are the ones who know that litter is an eyesore and so carry their trash home for proper sorting. These are the ones who go the step further and pick up any litter they see.

People who get it, who understand each of us is a tiny but important part of the Whole and we each can help by making sustainable choices.  These are the ones who pitch in, maybe one event a year or maybe more. These are also the ones who can’t personally work on the programs but can help be Sustaining Circle members who can add financially to support the activities.

All these and also you. We can make Zero Waste McMinnville zero waste by 2024!!!



With the Right Attitude and a Plan

Located in the middle of some of the most productive and respected wine country in the world, McMinnville celebrates often if not continuously the amazing depth and breadth of its Pinot Noir production.  Each year at the end of July the International Pinot Noir Celebration invades the Linfield College campus.GrandSeminar_graphicsm ipnc

This event draws over 1200 visitors from around the world. This year they paid $125 or $250 for two a la carte events or $1295 for the entire weekend.  The Celebration is sold out; this is a prestigious event beloved by oenophiles and many people return year after year.

Not only do the celebrants return, but so do most volunteers. To keep an major event like the IPNC running smoothly, a great deal of planning takes place and volunteers are encouraged and appreciated. The activities start early with a pre Thank You dinner just for volunteers. With free wine of course.  Meals are also offered to volunteers throughout the event so no one goes hungry…and yes, there is plenty of wine if you want.

A successful event planner knows that waste management has to be carefully arranged in order for the grounds and buildings to stay clean and the celebrants not aware of any “dirtiness”.  We’ve all been to indoor and outdoor programs where garbage cans overfilled and messes were unattractive.  You can use how trash is handled as a measuring tool to rate management of an event.

A few years ago Zero Waste  McMinnville started working with the planners at IPNC and the experience has just gotten better and better.  In 2015, the total amount of trash that was collected was  1192  pounds. Of that over 943 pounds, or  79 percent of all trash, were diverted from the landfill. Mostly bottles. Obviously, if there is wine to be served, there will be empty bottles to recycle.

Last year  over 1267 pounds of trash was generated with  74 percent diverted from the landfill. This year was even bigger and better and I don’t know the numbers yet but I’ll explain why I can feel sure of that.

The people planning IPNC understand there is a wonderful conservative concept in aiming for zero waste. Conservation of our environment is a goal they hold dearly as they encourage the enjoyment of the wines that are produced right here in our beautiful Willamette Valley. Conservation of healthy farmland which not only produces wine grapes, but also hazelnuts, grass seed, landscaping plants, and so much more. Conservation of our visual landscape that might, in other places, not be protected from suburban development.

Tuna appetizer

One of the volunteer positions is to assist during the lunches. The 3-course lunches serve local foods as much as possible with chefs from restaurants in the Northwest.  The setting under the towering oak trees with large umbrellas scattered around keeps the grove cool for the midday meal.  Tables were covered with linen and set with cloth napkins. China and various sizes of crystal complete the place settings.IMG_2473

IMG_2485For each course, servers quickly provided plates of food and later, removed the place setting.  They brought the dirty plates to a sorting station where all food waste was scraped into bins, the dishes and silverware and glassware loaded in trays to go to one of the campus building’s kitchens to wash. The food waste was removed by Zero Waste volunteers and then taken to a large collection area, out of sight of the festival attendees.  Zero Waste volunteers also collected paper products and other recyclables.  Trucks pulled up, also out of sight, to load and carry the dishes to the kitchen.  Linens were collected as the guests left for their afternoon activities, and those were sorted for proper washing. Zero Waste complete clean-up planning included scheduling removal of the food waste by Recology for Greenlands composting.

To one of the planners, there may have been glitches. But to me, as a Zero Waste McMinnville volunteer, it appeared like a well rehearsed dance.  Issues that arose were taken care of almost instantaneously. IMG_2483.JPGFor example, it was apparent the dish scraping area did not have enough containers for the glassware. Quickly reported and within 10 minutes, long before they were needed, many more trays arrived. As I mentioned above, volunteers repeat their offer of help over many tears, so they KNOW what is needed and yes, I really now believe when the director stated her appreciation at the pre-event dinner for the volunteers, that she understands;  she never could do it without all of us.

For each of us helping out, we had a pretty small and easy task. But when each of us did our task with an attitude of involvement and enjoyment, the major event  became a success.  So it is with our mission to help McMinnville become the first city in Oregon to achieve such a wonderful goal as less than 10% of our trash ends up at the landfill. If each person in Mac would get excited to be working on such an important factor in our environment while recognizing the effort is easy, then TOGETHER we can achieve Zero Waste.