” Paul Gilding

DEQ’s Vision Quest on the Mountain

Recycling has been an important part of Oregon DEQ’s vocabulary, but a new term — materials management — is about to get top billing in the war against waste.State waste management planners went to a resort on Mount Bachelor in Central Oregon last week on a vision quest. They were on a mission to test out concepts for new approaches to prevent Oregon from becoming buried in garbage even more than it is now.

Mount Bachelor was a fitting location. Several hundred members of the Association of Oregon Recyclers (AOR) were engaged in a conference on sustainability. And you almost — if the mind's’ eye were powerful enough — could see several huge regional landfills in Eastern Oregon and southcentral Washington filling up with garbage trucked, trained and towed through the Columbia Gorge from distant places such as Portland and Seattle. 

AOR’s 34th annual conference drew the leadership of waste regulators and recycling educators from local governments, commercial waste haulers, recycling center operators, recyclable commodity brokers and others. Many of these happy warriors of the waste world have long viewed “waste minimization” and the need for a consumer culture shift in thinking as the right way to tackle the problem.