Event Recovery and Master Recyclers

Big or small, community gatherings can generate a good deal of waste and consume large quantities of natural resources. Event organizers may know a lot about organizing a marathon, but not what materials can be recycled, how to create clear signage, and how to order containers for recycling.

Master Recyclers are increasingly playing a role in helping small events achieve greener, more responsible plans for recovery at their events. Large-scale regional events will usually need a professional team to pull off the necessary coordination, but a small community event is a great project for a Master Recycler.

Here are a couple of case studies of projects where Master Recyclers have planned, implemented and evaluated recovery at events. In 2010, Master Recyclers offered their expertise in waste recover to help over 15 community organizations green their events, helping recover thousands of pounds of waste and offering public education to almost 11,000 participants. 

Montavilla Farmer’s Market Having already accomplished great recycling and compost rates at the market, Kristin Wildensee (Class 35), with assistance from Dominique Roberts (Class 41), decided to work up the waste reduction hierarchy. With the help of the Portland Recycles! Small Grants Program, Kristin purchased durable dishware for this pilot project. During the month of August, all food vendors served their food on the dishware and the public returned the dishware to the market.

St. Vincent’s Company Picnic Christine Bloom (Class 39) and Helena Lee (Class 41) worked on composting and recycling at their company picnic. Their efforts were even recognized by a story in The Oregonian.

Master Recyclers can play an important role in event recovery, but not all roles may be appropriate for payback. The mission of the Master Recycler Program is to provide education.

The best use of Master Recyclers at an event is to offer expertise in waste reduction.

  • Helping strategize, organize, implement and evaluate a recovery plan, and set recovery goals at an event is a perfect use of payback hours.
  • Master Recyclers can also assist in designing outreach materials and messages to participants about why they should recycle and what materials are accepted.
  • While it is not expected that Master Recyclers would recruit volunteers, training and supervising volunteers who have been recruited by the community organization is another great way to help.
  • Outreach, training and trouble shooting for vendors at an event is another great way for Master Recyclers to participate.

Some work that is necessary for successful event recycling does not fit the educational requirement for Master Recycler payback. Volunteers are often needed to stand at recycling/composting stations to monitor containers. This type of activity will not count toward Master Recycler Certification if that is the only activity you are offering. Hauling, sorting or auditing waste would also not be appropriate primary roles for Master Recyclers. 

Thank you for helping green the way our community gathers!