Last night I became official! After 30 hours with lectures and power points and classroom activities, and two all-day Saturday field trips, I am now an official Master Recycler! I have my fancy name badge and everything. I still need to do my 30 hours of volunteer payback service to become a Certified Master Recycler. I served a few of those hours at the Home & Garden show today. Some of those hours will be served through this blog.
The purpose of the payback service is manifold. The research shows that people make changes because of contact with individuals. When was the last time you were changed because a sign told you to? Now think, how many changes have you made because of conversations you had with someone you knew or someone knowledgeable on the subject?
Through the volunteer service, Master Recyclers can help people find out about resources around town - organizations are always changing, coming and going. Laws about garbage hauling and recycling change and don't always make it to the news. Information is often spread as if in a big game of "telephone" - Master Recyclers can help get the best, latest information directly to the public so your neighbor doesn't have to depend on what he heard fourth-hand from his boss's sister's babysitter's car mechanic.
Service hours also feed some of the funding sources. We volunteers work with the general public as best we can, we track the numbers of contacts we’ve made, Metro tracks the region’s garbage & recycling to see what changes occur over time. They also track what kinds of projects the Master Recyclers come up with – it’s not all volunteering at trade show booths. As I mentioned, this blog is one of my own efforts. I’ve also posted about Renee’s Re-Use-O-Rama. Which is pretty freakin’ brilliant. Some folks are developing Green Teams at their place of work, becoming agents of change. Other folks are writing their legislators and supporting grass roots political work. It’s all towards helping all of us – us Master Recyclers included – develop better habits around reducing, reusing and recycling, and helping us become more thoughtful consumers especially when it comes to personal and environmental impact.
Want to know more about Metro’s Master Recycler and Composter program?
Want to become a Master Recycler, but live outside the Portland Metro area? Check this list to see if there’s a program near you.