Bonita Davis, The Southeast Examiner’s Master Recycler, is taking this month off. In place of her regular tips here’s a look at what is means to be a Master Recycler and how to join the ranks of 1,800+ Master Recyclers in the greater Portland metro area.

Master Recyclers help neighbors, friends, family and co-workers take action by giving them information and connecting them to resources.

They assist community organizations and local businesses who are repairing, reusing, sharing, borrowing, using toxic-free products, recycling and composting.

Annually they contribute 3,500 hours and in 2018 and 2019 they exceeded 4,000 and 6,000 hours, respectively.

The Master Recycler Program (masterrecycler.org) is a collaboration between Metro, the City of Portland, Clackamas County, Washington County, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and Recycling Advocates.

The eight-week course instructs participants in sustainable consumption and production; fixing and reuse; the sharing community; toxics reduction; green building; recycling and compost processing; equity in the environment and the global markets in which recyclables are bought and sold.

The program offers tours of recycling centers, compost facilities and hazardous and municipal waste sites to see firsthand how these system work and requires 30 hours of outreach interacting with the community in projects.

Due to the in-person nature of the training, it is currently on hold until training and meaningful volunteer opportunities can safely occur. To be informed about future Master Recycler courses, email masterrecycler@portlandoregon.gov.

Those interested in learning about recycling and waste prevention can take a robust course from Oregon State University and the Association of Oregon Recyclers called Recycling 101. The 15-hour course is presented online and on-demand, so participants can access it anytime.

The eight-part course covers the effects of consumer choices on the environment and resource conservation recycling improvement in Oregon; actions that have the largest environmental impact in terms of waste reduction and commercial recycling; lessons from the successful Master Recycler program; facts about waste and why we need to reduce, reuse and recycle; steps in the material stream process and product life cycles.

Other topics of interest include composting systems to reuse and recycle organic waste; procedures for safe and legal toxic waste disposal methods and resources available for plastics, paper and other types of recycling.

For a limited time, Recycling 101 is offered for the reduced price of $35. More details can be found at workspace.oregonstate.edu/course/recycling-101.