The Friends of Wallowa County Recycling would like to thank all of you who have left donations at the Recycling Center. Those donations are being used for educational materials, tools and equipment to help volunteers sort the recyclables, remove unwanted materials and are being accumulated to use for larger investments to help expand our recycling capacity. Thank you for your support and continued generosity.

We each have the ability to make a change through our individual actions, (thank you for reducing, reusing and recycling everything you can), coupled with the influence we can have on our elected officials to support legislation that will have a positive impact on the world we live in and the communities we call home.

This week, the Oregon Senate is voting on Senate Bill 582A: Plastic Pollution and Recycling Modernization Act.

SB 582A offers a visionary restructuring and modernization of the recycling industry in Oregon that will bring many benefits to Wallowa County residents and to the residents of Oregon.

SB 582A would result in shared responsibility for the recycling of materials between consumers and the producers of materials, while providing incentives to reduce waste and facilitate the recycling process. Importantly, the utterly confusing categories of various plastics labeled as “recyclable,” but for which there are no practical markets, would be rationalized, thereby helping to prevent further plastics pollution that has become a crisis for our oceans. People in rural areas like ours would be able to more easily participate in recycling programs. Rural areas like Wallowa County could receive assistance to help defray the higher cost of transportation to processing facilities, which threatens the financial viability of rural recycling programs. Everyone would know what is and isn’t recyclable, which would greatly increase the efficiency of recycling operations across the state. Producers of packaging materials would have real financial incentives to create better and more easily recycled materials. The state Department of Environmental Quality would help ensure accountability for all the participants in Oregon’s recycling system and identify opportunities for further improvements.

With the passage of SB 582A, Oregon would become a national leader in modernizing the recycling industry by demonstrating how creative thinking and innovative structures and systems can effectively address our continuing waste challenges and fix our currently broken recycling system.

Limiting the amount of paper, cardboard, metal and aluminum cans, No. 1 and No. 2 plastics we use, and bringing the rest to the Enterprise Recycling Center is making a big difference. Thank you.

In addition, we each can have a meaningful impact on the waste management/recycling world we live in by sending an email to Sen. Bill Hansell strongly asking him to support SB 582A. The senate votes on the bill this week, so it is urgent that each of us sends an email to Sen.BillHansell@oregonlegislature.gov before Friday, June 25. A short and sweet — or more detailed — email asking him to vote for SB 582A is all it takes.

We are all working hard to lessen the waste we each generate, and make sure we are recycling everything we currently can. Emailing Sen. Hansell in support of SB 582A is one more way of encouraging our elected officials to do the same.

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Peter Ferré is a member of the Wallowa County Recycling Task Force.

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