Guest Opinion by Risa Buck

There are some changes on the horizon supported by the state of Oregon that fall under the category of making less garbage and diverting more recyclables from landfills. I hope that in the near future manufacturers will continue to take more responsibility for every product produced. This would include the true and comprehensive cost of creating, transporting, selling and eventually disposing of "stuff." I feel hopeful that Oregon is moving in a positive direction.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2009, a couple of new and statewide recycling opportunities have become available. The first one is free electronic recycling for TVs, monitors and computers. The second is a nickel deposit on plastic water bottles.

Electronics recycling has been available since June in the Rogue Valley, but starting Jan. 1 the state of Oregon will be supporting these efforts. Oregonians will be able to recycle up to seven units per day at designated collection spots around the state. In Southern Oregon, folks can take electronics to the Valley View Transfer Station in Ashland at 3000 Valley View Road, and Rogue Transfer and Recycling at 8001 Table Rock Road in White City.

Recyclers beware, because not all who claim "recycler" do so responsibly. We chose ECS Regenesys because the materials stay in the U.S. and are regenerated back into raw materials. For more information, check out This new program is financed by electronics manufacturers and jointly implemented through the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality. For more information on the program, visit

Take the time to check out recycle claims. Only YOU can keep electronics out of the landfill, and now it is easier than ever before.

The second recycling opportunity is an expansion of the Bottle Bill.

In an effort to reduce waste, prevent litter, increase recycling and promote producer responsibility in Oregon, starting Jan. 1, 2009, every plastic water bottle will have a 5-cent deposit. Any store larger than 5,000 square feet must accept all water bottles (no lids). Stores smaller than 5,000 square feet are only obligated to redeem the plastic water bottles they sell. The limit is 50 bottles per person per day. For more information, visit

To be safe, redeem your plastic water bottles at place of purchase. The goal is to divert more plastic water bottles from landfills and littering. Recycling plastic water bottles into new products helps conserve energy and natural resources. Better yet, drink water in reusable containers.

The world of recycling is ever changing. If you are interested in regular information on recycling opportunities, check out or check out the display boards at the recycling center. If you are interested in updated information on harder to recycle items from appliances to yard debris, go to for the Jackson County Recycling Directory. Reduce, reuse, then recycle! Thanks and Happy New Year.

Risa Buck is the waste reduction educator at Ashland Sanitary and Recycling.