Master Recycler Program in Español
This June, 14 members of the Latino community graduated as members of Master Recycler Class 73.
This was the first community-based, culturally specific course in recycling and sustainability in Washington County, and the first recycling course in the region where every participant speaks Spanish.
Washington County Solid Waste & Recycling, the Master Recycler Program and Centro Cultural de Washington County combined resources, experience, and community relationships to design the course unique for the Latino community. The primary goal was to make the course and volunteer projects relevant and accessible by considering the Latino community’s unique culture, language and needs that have historically resulted in barriers to participation in the Master Recycler progam.
Centro Cultural’s deep connection with the Latino community was fundamental in promoting the course, attracting participants and providing a welcoming learning space. “An essential part of our mission at Centro Cultural is to empower members of the community,” says Centro Cultural Project Manager Mariana Valenzuela Figueroa “The Master Recycler Spanish class reflects our mission since it is an opportunity for participants to become leaders by using their knowledge to empower others, and to improve our environment as well."
“I am heartened to see the Latino community embracing the opportunity to develop a more equitable and sustainable garbage and recycling system,” says Theresa Koppang, Solid Waste & Recycling’s longtime manager. “As local government agencies, we have the responsibility to correct historical disparities and work toward creating a system that serves the best interests of all Washington County community members.”
“The Centro Cultural/Washington County class is an amazing group of people with rich connections in the community and a wide range of experiences they bring to the program,” says Master Recycler Program Coordinator Lauren Norris. “I can’t wait to see the projects they develop together to help their communities reduce, reuse and recycle!”
This was the second Community-Designed course. The first with a partnership with Trash for Peace and Metro to gather 20 Master Recyclers from multifamily housing in Multnomah County.
Now, with graduation behind them, each participant will complete 30 volunteer hours to obtain their official Master Recycler certification and will continue meeting regularly to work on team projects to maximize their impact. Check out their Laura Olivia Nuñez and Bricia Miranda’s first outing caught in video in this facebook post.