Session Descriptions

Looking for a quick summary of the conference schedule? Check out the AGENDA.

Want to learn more about speakers and moderators? Check out the BIOS or click on a name below.

June 19 - Wednesday

Welcome and Keynote: The Story of Plastic presented by Megan Ponder

Welcome: Ali Briggs-Ungerer, AOR Chair Keynote Speaker: Megan Ponder, MJP Consulting/Story of Plastic

More Perspectives on Single-Use Plastics

This session picks up where the opening keynote leaves off. You’ll hear short presentations offering a diversity of perspectives: an Oregon manufacturer and user of recycled plastic, a city that chose to broaden its waste prevention efforts rather than pursue a narrow ban, and a respected DEQ scientist. The panelists will engage with each other, our keynote speaker, and audience members in a thought-provoking dialog about society’s potential responses to the challenges of single-use plastics. Come prepared for some lively conversation and deepen your understanding of this complex and important topic.

Speakers: Megan Ponder, MJP Consulting/Story of Plastic; Gary Panknin, PakTech; Pete Chism-Winfield, City of Portland; and Peter Spendelow, Oregon DEQ Moderator: David Allaway, Oregon DEQ

Building for Success: Using Code to Improve Multifamily Recycling

Some municipalities are tackling the issues that multifamily recycling programs face – contamination, illegal dumping, and unsafe conditions for tenants and service providers – by using code changes to prevent problems before they even start. We will hear from Portland and Seattle area municipalities, as well as a consultant, about the process of gathering community input through inclusive communications, pursuing policy changes, and important lessons learned. Oregon DEQ will also give an update on its statewide Multitenant Recycling Opportunity Project. This session will demonstrate how multifamily recycling policy can lead to more equitable outcomes, fight recycling contamination, and clarify requirements for property developers.

Speakers: Sara Kirby, MetroAndrea Lai, Cascadia ConsultingAngela Wallis, Seattle Public Utilities; and Jenna McInnis, City of Kirkland Moderator: Sanne Stienstra, Oregon DEQ

Food Waste Prevention — Local Success Stories

Wasted food is a significant problem. It’s estimated that between 25 and 40 percent of all food grown in or imported into the U.S. is never eaten. Wasted food - that is, throwing away food that could have been eaten - is preventable. And prevention - avoiding the wasting of food in the first place - has far greater potential to reduce environmental impacts than recovery methods such as composting or anaerobic digestion. The U.S. EPA estimates that one ton of prevention has a greenhouse gas benefit equivalent to 6-7 tons of food waste recovery. 

Oregonians are rising to the prevention challenge. Come hear from organizations and businesses across the state who are actively engaged in implementing programs designed to prevent the wasting of food by households and businesses. Learn about their successes, and how your organization or business can achieve similar results.

Speakers: Jeanette Hardison, Corvallis Sustainability CoalitionAni Kasch, Central Oregon Environmental Center; Alex Bertolucci, Washington County; and Scott Youngblood, Embassy Suites by Hilton Portland Washington Square Moderator: Elaine Blatt, Oregon DEQ​

June 20 - Thursday

Bridging Generational Differences

How can we engage the future stewards of our planet with the knowledge learned from the past? Join us for an inspiring and dynamic session led by UO Zero Waste Program Manager Karyn Kaplan that will ignite hope as youth at their best share their thoughts, ideas, and vision for the future. Metro interns will provide their powerful perspective on what worked to make their internships meaningful in a panel discussion led by Metro’s Jon Mayer. Elders of the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde will speak to their experiences in a message to young people in a video presented by Leslie Lanzar, Recology Cleanscapes. Finally, youth activist Brennen Matherly will deliver his passion for “Strawless Oregon.

Speakers: Jon Mayer, MetroLeslie Lanzar, Recology; Aileen Bahena, Metro; Sydney Kelly, Metro; Yaquelin Garcia-Delgado, and Brennen Matherly, Strawless Oregon Moderators: Karyn Kaplan, UO Zero Waste Program and Jon Mayer, Metro

Attention to Differences in Planning: 2030 Metro Regional Waste Plan

The 2030 Regional Waste Plan is the greater Portland area’s blueprint for investing in the garbage and recycling system, reducing the environmental and health impacts of products that end up in this system, and advancing progress towards Metro’s racial equity objectives. Metro worked closely with eight community-based organizations and an equity work group to take a racial equity driven approach to developing the plan and writing its content. Learn how Metro utilized new tools and methods to address policies and practices that maintain inequities as a part of the development of this ambitious plan.

Speakers: Marta McGuire, MetroRob Nathan, Metro; Laura Kutner ​Tokarski, Trash for Peace; and Elizabeth Cole, City of Beaverton Moderator: Dan Blue, Metro

Kicking Contamination to the Curb

Since the market disruption, reducing contamination in the recycling stream is more important than ever. This session will highlight different approaches to changing customer behavior, what is working, and what is not.   

Speakers: Holly Deemer, Rogue Disposal & Recycling and Sarah Benedict, Recology Davis Moderators: Denise Barnes, Rogue Disposal & Recycling and Jamie Rosenthal, Recology Ashland

Plenary: Deciding to Diversify Your Workforce

To truly be an inclusive organization requires strong leaders that understand how to weave equity and inclusion tenets in all they do. Serilda Summers McGee with Workplace Change will speak to AOR’s membership about recruitment and retention best practices, microaggression recognition, and the signs and symptoms of implicit bias in the workplace.

Speakers: Serilda Summers-McGee, Workplace Change Moderator: Kristin Leichner, Pride Disposal

AOR Year In Review - AOR Board Panel 

How has AOR served you this past year and where are we headed in the future? Join the AOR Board for a thoughtful and interactive conversation about how AOR fulfills its mission.

Speakers: AOR Board Moderator: Ali Briggs-Ungerer, AOR Chair

Legislative Update

Oregon’s legislators will consider many issues of interest to AOR members in the 2019 session including: a statewide plastic bag ban; producer responsibility for drugs, household hazardous waste, and mattresses; changes to the bottle bill; and a right to repair bill. The legislative session will come to a close in late June of 2019. This roundtable discussion will feature AOR’s lobbyist and members of AOR’s legislative committee providing updates and perspectives on the session to date.

Speakers: Chris Parta, Parta Oregon and Justin Gast, Oregon DEQ Moderator: Pam Peck, AOR Legislative Chair

Food Waste Stops with Me Campaign — The Power of Partnerships

Food Waste Stops With Me (FWSWM) is a collaborative statewide campaign that connects food service businesses professionals to resources and technical assistance to help them prevent food waste, donate edible food, and set up successful food scraps composting programs. The campaign is a collaboration between private, nonprofit, and public agencies including the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association (ORLA), Oregon Food Bank (OFB), DEQ, Metro, and local governments. Learn about the benefits of this collaborative approach from the industry groups and organizations that partnered to develop the campaign and resources. This session will highlight:

  • The important public-private partnerships with ORLA, OFB, and organizations like the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
  • Tools and resources like WWF’s Hotel Kitchen Toolkit and Workshops, videos and webinars, and capacity building for local government waste reduction specialists.

Speakers: Wendy Popkin, Education Foundation, Oregon Restaurant & Lodging AssociationPete Pearson, World Wildlife Fund; and Katie Pearmine, Oregon Food Bank Moderator: Holly Stirnkorb​, Metro

Reuse Lightning Round

This lightning session gives a brief overview of different areas of reuse from organizations across the state. Join us as we take a quick look at the different opportunities available to repurpose and re-utilize as an alternative to discard and recycling. 

Speakers: Laura Kutner ​Tokarski, Trash for PeaceEben Polk, Clackamas CountyJocelyn Gaudi Quarrell, Go Box PDX; Willa Bauman, Tool Box Project; Cheryl Baker, Buy Nothing Project; Paul Bergeman, Wild Ride Brewing; and Dave Danek, DIYcave Moderator: Alicia Polacok, City of Portland

Networking Cocktail Hour

Dinner Banquet/Election Results

One of the conference highlights, the dinner banquet allows attendees to gather and discuss the great sessions they’ve attended, mingle with sponsors and exhibitors, and just catch up with old friends. We’ll also announce and introduce AOR’s newly-elected board members. 

June 21 - Friday

Recycler of the Year Awards Breakfast

Join AOR in recognizing outstanding contributors to recycling and waste prevention in Oregon. Each Recycler of the Year award winner will share information about their program and answer questions from the audience.

Markets Panel

The story of massive disruptions in the markets for recyclable commodities continues, and the economics of recycling have definitely changed. The import restrictions on the trade of recyclable commodities with other countries has dominated the discussion for months. Come join the experts as they discuss historic trends, possible futures of the different materials, and the related market environments; as well as first-hand experiences of visiting some of the end markets. Materials covered will be plastics, metals, and fiber (paper) grades. Emerging and existing markets domestically and globally will be discussed, as well as barriers and opportunities that may be coming. This session will be a recap of what has happened to recycling markets over the last year, why it happened, where they stand today, and a glimpse of what may happen next. 

Speakers: Bernie Lee, ISRIDylan de Thomas, The Recycling PartnershipEadaoin Quinn, EFS-plastics; and Jay Simons, NORPAC Moderator: Vinod Singh, Far West Recycling

Turning Education into Community Action: Inspiring Behavior Change through Interactive Programs

Join members of Metro’s Youth Education Programs team to discover interactive, researched-based school and community programs that help youth develop knowledge, skills and behaviors in preventing waste and addressing climate change. Participants will 1) learn how Metro is linking food waste prevention messaging to wildlife conservation, and how partnering with the Zoo Ambassador Volunteer program promotes self-efficacy and reaches a diverse audience and 2) explore Metro’s climate change classroom presentation series that is framed by hope, consensus, equity, and opportunity for action, and is grounded in a systems-based understanding of the connection between consumer products and climate. Presenters will also highlight current and future work being done to make education programs more inclusive and culturally relevant to a variety of audiences.

Speakers: Lake Thelen, MetroNicole Hernandez-Marrs, Metro Moderator: Jon Mayer, Metro

Closing Remarks