How to become a master recycler

The Metro-run program trains business owners and citizens, turning them into volunteers who can empower their neighbors, families, friends, and coworkers to take action.

Master Recycler Lauren Manlove poses in a yellow flannel shirt with a DeWalt drill.

A love of repurposing and learning led residential contractor Lauren Manlove to the program.

Photo by @msfixit_or

Among us walk people of exalted eco-mindedness. These senseis of sorting, nay, these master recyclers, have undergone extensive training to attain such a title — and we could all learn a thing or two from them.

Across three counties, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and Metro partner to offer the Master Recycler Program, which empowers people to inspire change and make a difference in their communities.

Over the course of eight weeks, participants tour local recycling centers, compost facilities, and hazardous and municipal waste sites to see firsthand how these systems work. They also learn about topics ranging from food waste prevention to equity in the environment, gaining invaluable skills from the experts.

Heavy machinery pushes a pile of plastic materials at a material recovery facility.

When in doubt, throw it out. Contamination is the No. 1 issue at sorting facilities.

Photo by @msfixit_or

Once certified, master recyclers join a team of 2,000+ volunteers who are equipped to oversee recycling for events, host fix-it fairs, give presentations, and carry out additional types of outreach.

The course is offered once a year:

  • Multnomah County (January/February)
  • Clackamas County (April/May)
  • Washington County (September/October)

Applications are now open for the fall course in Washington County. The deadline is Wednesday, Aug. 16.