McMinnville Chamber makes small changes worth big savings, here’s how:

I come from a household that tries to reuse or recycle everything we can.  From baby food containers that now sort my nails, screws, and fishing lures to glass jars from our favorite salsa that my wife decorated to hold tooth brushes, cotton swabs and other accoutrements.  I didn’t grow up in a house that was this conscious of the waste stream, but over time with education and understanding I realized there were little differences I could make that would have a big impact both environmentally and economically.

Then I was educated on the impact businesses have on the same environmental waste stream.  I’ve never met a business owner yet who would say they didn’t care about reducing waste or were happy with the status quo in trash services.  More often than not I found my employers were happy with anything we could do to divert the solid waste stream, but they just didn’t have the time or manpower (so they thought) to make the changes.  We worked with Marion County EarthWISE program to make small changes that had some big impact.

Shortly after starting with the Chamber office I noted that we were trashing more than we should.  We made a conscious effort to make the size of our office recycling boxes bigger, double checking what was thrown in waste, and reducing the number of pickups of trash to every other week.  Not only have we saved money each month now, but I’m happy to report that in the last 3 months our trash can is only half full after 2 weeks while recycling is completely full.  A sure sign that things are going the right way! We can’t always control what is sent to us, or what we have to dispose of, but we can control how we dispose of it.

There are other things we will do: as lights burn out we will replace with energy efficient options and properly dispose of the old, we manage the thermostats carefully, we turn lights off when daylight is bright enough to provide a safe working environment.  It’s the little things that add up to big savings for a company when they make the environmentally conscious decisions.  If you have questions or would like to discuss options in reducing your waste stream I highly encourage you to contact Recology or Waste Management as both companies have fantastic resources for analyzing waste streams with ideas on how to make small changes with high impact.

We would love to hear about what you’re doing to reduce your waste flow at work.  Email ideas or comments to Nathan at

~Nathan Knottingham