master recyclerWhen I started to think about my green resolution for 2013 last month, I was quite stumped as to what I’d focus on throughout this year. In past years, I have chronicled my goals to conserve when it comes to food. In 2011, I resolved to eat locally, promising to utilize my local farmers market and to patronize restaurants that source their food responsibly. I’m happy to report that I have dutifully lived up to that resolution, and it now feels unnatural to eat any other way. In 2012, I pledged to add a kitchen composter to my list of trusty kitchen gadgetry. After six months of use, I moved on to yard waste composting in mid-2012, and I haven’t looked back. Having a superb curbside compost program in my neighborhood has been a tremendous help. This year, I’ll veer away from the food-centric resolutions and turn my attention back to recycling. As an already dutiful recycler, what further steps can I take to ensure that I understand the ins and outs of my local recycling program? And, what can I do to help positively influence my neighbors? Luckily, I stumbled upon the Master Recycler Program here in Portland. This eight-week course consists of 10 sessions providing “instruction in topics such as thoughtful consumption, recycling processes, alternatives to hazardous household products, composting, deconstruction and green building. Classes are taught by professionals from the public and private sector who are working on innovative solutions to environmental challenges,” according to the Master Recycler website. Upon graduating from the program, I will be expected to contribute 30 hours of volunteer service in and around Portland to help my neighbors learn the importance of the Three Rs. What does it all mean? In short, upon completing the program, I will be relied upon as a community asset to help others become more involved in and adept to recycling. Currently, more than 1,200 Master Recyclers are helping increase recycling awareness. It is my goal in 2013 to help bump that number higher and assist others in becoming valued eco-citizens. Check later this year for an update on my Master Recycler progress.


For interested Oregonians reading this post, please do not be deterred if you do not reside in Portland. The Master Recycler Program covers the entire state, with branches in the following communities: Roseburg/Douglas County; Central Point/Jackson County; Grants Pass/Josephine County; Eugene/Lane County; Albany/Linn-Benton County; Salem/Marion County; The Dalles/Wasco, Sherman and Hood River counties; and McMinnville/Yamhill County. For those in the Portland metro area, please note that there are programs in both Multnomah and Clackamas counties.