Master Recycler Newsletter -- July 2019

Metro’s Bag Program Takes Off


With the new bag program, people in the region experiencing homelessness now have a more dignified way to dispose of their trash.

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Master Recycler Program in Spanish!


This June, 14 members of the Latino Community Graduated as members of Master Recycler Class 73.

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¡El Programa de Master Recyclers en Español!

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Este junio, 14 miembros de la comunidad Latina completaron el curso Expertos Recicladores (Master Recycler Class) como graduados de la clase 73.

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Policy Changes for Reuse at New Seasons

New Seasons has been informed by the Oregon Department of Agriculture that some of their programs for reuse are against state law. I have been in communication with their Sustainability Program Manager to better understand what has happened, what we can do to help, and how to frame it with the community. While this is a state law that applies to all stores, New Seasons was the store that was most actively encouraging customers to bring their own produce bags and bulk containers for reuse.

Key messages from New Seasons:

  • Oregon law prohibits us from accepting customers’ reusable containers, tubs or produce bags (It does not matter your container is glass, metal or plastic. They can not reuse containers you bring from home).

  • We gladly welcome your reusable shopping bags. In addition to reusable shopping bags, other approved reusable containers include: Go Box, hot beverage containers, water bottles, growlers, and anything used for non-food items (soap, shampoo, lotion, etc).

  • Customers still earn 10 bonus Neighbor Rewards points for using reusable shopping bags, and a 5 cent Bag it Forward credit to keep or donate to one of our nonprofit partners in the community.

  • We’re working closely with the Oregon Department of Agriculture to meet guidelines and have been invited to work with them on future solutions for reusable containers.

Their Sustainability Manager tells me that after working with Washington, they were able to see state laws change. She is hoping to inform possibly similar changes in Oregon. They want to keep this a positive solutions-based approach to the problem.

I will keep you all informed if there are ways that you can help. The key now is to understand their talking points above and to be patient with our friendly local store.

If you have questions or concerns, please contact me: Lauren Norris

You are invited

Master Recycler Recycle or Not Campaign Training

Tuesday July 16, 6:30-8:00 pm
Metro Council Chambers
600 NE Grand, Portland
(Parking vouchers will be available
MAX and Buses and bike parking all easy to access.)

 Metro and local jurisdictions have been working with Brink Communications to tackle the problem of recycling contamination. They conducted surveys and focus groups for the general public and the Latinx community to better understand why people recycle, what they know and don’t know about how to recycle right, and how we can better communicate to make it easier.

 The result is a new region-wide campaign that is going to make your job as a Master Recycler a whole lot easier – and even more fun!

 Come to learn about the new Recycle or Not Campaign.

  • Learn about why people put the wrong things in the recycling.

  • Hear about their strategies to “transcreate” materials for the Latinx community instead of just translate them.

  • See the new online site where people can post pictures to find out if something is recyclable.

  • Check out the new materials featuring “Star Trash”.

  • Hear strategies to reply to disappointment that we can’t recycle things that don’t belong.

  • Practice using new messages designed to respond to these concerns.


 PS. This is a great time to “refresh” your own knowledge, as well!

Volunteer Opportunities

Seeking Educators to help with special Master Recycler project. Help with a new plan to create a series of Master Recycler quizzes. If you have experience to education and writing quizzes, please help write, plan or edit quizzes. Lauren Norris

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Centurion Club

Two Master Recyclers join the Centurion Club! A special thanks for completing over 100 hours!


Tasha Johnson (Class 66) is an active member of the Westside Master Recyclers. She has been a steady force in the Forest Grove Farmer's Market Waste Center. She is one of the core planners and volunteers with PlanetCon collection events. She has also been volunteering more recently at the Washington County Solid Waste & Recycling table at the Hillsboro Saturday Market. Tasha's passion shines through in all of these efforts. Tasha said of her cohorts at Westside Master Recyclers, "I am super excited to be a part of this group!"

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Kathi Swanson (Class 68) has been a steady presence at the West Linn Farmers' Market. She helped at Repair fairs and she started volunteering at the SW Community Recycling events before she was even a Master Recycler. One lasting project was designating a Oregon BottleDrop Give program account for the Grant High School Alumni Association. As a Board member, she was actively looking for ways to raise funds for restoration of the school's Art Deco Fletcher mural. It became a Thing! Her friends and family and many involved in the Grant HS community were all picking up the iconic blue bags for collecting bottles. Kathi said, "Board members and friends all now call me the Blue Bag Lady. The Bottle Drop Give fundraising will just be a small part of the overall fundraising but it's been lots of fun, and I know people will continue to use the BottleDrop centers once our fundraising is over."


Certified Master Recyclers


Bill Crawford (Class 64) joined Recycling Advocates in the Division Street Parade, shared tips on toxics free gardening with neighbors and co-lead the neighborhood cleanups in his SE Portland neighborhood. The majority of Bill's hours were spent on the Green Team for the City of Portland's Parks dept. where he organized many big efforts. His most current is starting a team for the Plastics Free Ecochallenge in July. In the City's green team blog he gave this great advice: “Start small. But, if you’ve got a good, big idea, bring it to your supervisor, your Bureau chief, or the Citywide Green Team. Great ideas come from us all. And remember, that the first step is the hardest one.”


Cam Chau (Class 66) caught the repair fair bug early on after the course. She volunteered at five fairs in Sherwood and Beaverton. Cam also shared her enthusiasm for recycling as a volunteer at Scholls Heights Elementary School science fair. She is also helping the school with a reused bottle cap mural! It is fitting that she completed her 30th hour during the huge community effort called PlanetCon this last month. (She is pictured here showing her class the art of worm bin composting).


Conservation news

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Be the change you want to see. Inspire others and be a hero to your community by applying for a grant with the Metro Regional Government. Applications for the 2020 Metro Central Community Enhancement Grants are now open for submissions.

Use this map to see if your project falls within the target area boundary.

This year, Metro has nearly $300,000 available in community enhancement grants for Northwest Portland neighborhoods to build thriving communities, protect clean air and water, maintain healthy ecosystems and improve regional equity.

Click here for a list of grantees from the 2019 grant cycle.

Applications are due midnight, Friday, Sept. 15, 2019.  To learn more visit our webpage or attend the yearly grant info session, held on August 13th, at the Metro Regional Center.

Grants for community enhancements are awarded annually through Metro’s Community Enhancement Program. They are funded by a $1 surcharge on each ton of waste at the Metro Central Transfer Station, located off of Highway 30 in Northwest Portland. The grants benefit the neighborhoods of Forest Park, Cathedral Park and Linnton; the Northwest District Association and the Northwest Industrial Area; and an area directly adjacent to the St. Johns Bridge.

Metro accepts proposals exclusively via ZoomGrants™, an online system developed for submitting applications for grant bids. Click here to start your free account and begin your application process now. A committee of local residents will review and select which projects to fund. Grants up to $50,000 have been awarded in previous years. A typically grant covers one year (Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, 2020) for development. Grants requesting more than one year for development will also be considered.



Plastic Free EcoChallenge

JULY 1 - JULY 31, 2019


Inspired by the Australian-founded initiative, our Plastic Free EcoChallenge is a 31-day, global challenge to reduce and refuse single-use plastics. We invite you to create intention and take action on creating plastic-free habits with us!

Throughout the EcoChallenge, share your progress, success, and reflections with fellow EcoChallengers, all while earning points for completed actions. The combination of collective inspiration, camaraderie, and friendly competition makes change a little easier - and a lot more fun. After all, progress is social!

Job Announcements

Job Seekers’ board includes the following:

  • Washington County Bilingual Education Specialist

  • Community Warehouse

  • Elysium Sustainable Events

  • Multiple Solid Waste AmeriCorps positions.