On The Road: BRING Recycling Tour

30 Sep 2015

​AOR's second "On the Road Tour" was held on September 29 in Eugene at Lane Community College, Bring Recycling, and the Lane County Transfer Station. We had an intimate group of roughly 20 AOR members from all over the northwest. One member even joined us from Port Angeles, Washington!

We started our day with an engaging presentation by Carolyn Stein, Executive Director of BRING Recycling. Carolyn started her presentation with a detailed history of the organization (take a moment to read about Bring’s long and amazing history here). Carolyn went on to tell the group about BRING’s “Rethink Business” program, which offers free sustainability assistance to businesses.

After Carolyn walked us through BRING's “Re-Think Business” program, Stephanie Scafa from the City of Eugene shared information about Eugene’s sustainability programs, including the Bold Steps Award. The Bold Steps Award recognizes Eugene-based sustainable businesses, and represents a partnership between The City of Eugene, Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy and BRING’s RE:think Business program.  Each year, the city of Eugene selects three semi-finalists for the award. The semi-finalists receive a promotional video about their program. One winner is selected from the group of three semifinalists, and that winner receives the “Stanley Cup” of sustainability, the Bold Steps Award (the trophy is passed from winning business to winning business, like the Stanley Cup). You can see photos and get more information about the Bold Steps Award here:  

Take away's from the event :

  • Don’t duplicate efforts, instead leverage your programs for maximum output. For example, the Re-Think Business award focuses mostly on the environmental aspect of sustainability, while the Mayor’s Bold Steps Award weighs the economic and social aspects a little more heavily.
  • Consider offering promotional materials for businesses or organizations that go through a sustainability process. The City of Eugene pays a PR firm to develop professional videos for their Bold Steps semi-finalists.

After the presentations, the group enjoyed a lunch and then headed off to Bring Recycling for a tour. If you are in the Eugene area, you should stop by to see the awesome reuse ideas in action at Bring. You may even find something special for your home among their used building materials. (show photos)

When we finished up our tour at BRING, we headed over to Lane County’s Transfer Station where Sarah Grimm, Lane County Waste Reduction Specialist, and long-time AOR member, gave us a tour. We were impressed with how well organized their public drop off area was, and we learned about their various partnerships with St. Vincent de Paul, most notably a reuse drop off station for items like books and furniture at the transfer station and mattress recycling.

This visit concludes the 2015 On the Road events, but we'll be back in 2016 with more tours. If you have a suggestion for an upcoming tour, or would like to host a tour of your facility/organization, we'd love to hear from you! Please contact Pam Peck, AOR's Education Chair, and tour organizer extraordinaire. 

Thank you to Laurel Bates for contributing this article.