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Oregon Family Magazine

Better than Recycling, Reduce First

01/31/2019 ● By Sandy Kauten
Here in Lane County,  the majority of our community “walks their talk” and puts a priority on watching their waste in order to build a better future for their family.   While recycling is the bedrock of watching our waste, there are far greater results to be gained by other activities such as reduce, reuse, repair, share, and grow or make your-own. 

These activities provide enriching life experiences for young minds, not to mention economic support for your savings account and local businesses. The long-term health of our communities depends on our reducing pollution to air, water and climate. Lane County Public Work’s waste management division is dedicated to helping families in our communities to reduce waste in a variety of ways.  

Want to discover why something is recyclable or not?  Over 1000 individuals have taken Lane County’s Master Recycler Class. This nine-week evening class with three tour days is offered in spring and fall. It covers all aspects of Reduce Reuse and Recycle--presented by local experts in their field. It’s a great way to learn the inherent importance of protecting our earth by reducing our waste.

Learning to garden does wonders for child development. It’s a true natural wonder to bring forth life giving nourishment from the soil in your back yard.  Supporting that soil by making free fertilizer from your own food waste can save money on your garbage bill too. You’ll find discounts on worm bins and workshop schedules at

Over half of all the plastic made each year is used once and then disposed. Pulp and paper manufacturing is the third largest industrial polluter to air, water and land in the U.S., and releases well over 100 million kg of toxic pollution each year. Disposable products may provide momentary conveniences, but the manufacturing of it—motivated by our purchases, causes unhealthy and dangerous pollution.   Check out to learn how Lane County helps people ditch their disposable habits.

Of course, sending the recyclable portion of our waste DOES achieve incredible reductions in harm to the human life support system we call Earth.  But not everything is recyclable, and incorrect materials placed in curbside recycling programs (i.e., coffee cups, frozen food boxes) have caused serious problems here and abroad. Please only recycle the items described in your recycling program instructions. If in doubt, find out, or leave it out! Here’s an easy way to find out, check out the Lane County Garbage Guru at

by Sarah Grimm