One of the resources we have available here on the Rethink Waste Project website are downloadable signs and bin labels for use in your home or office. Put them up in your home, kitchen at the office, your church, your vacation rental, whatever place you regularly go to that needs a little better signage.

  • RECYCLE this sign covers what goes in your curbside recycling cart here in Deschutes County.
  • COMPOST this sign covers what goes in your backyard compost or yard debris bin, available within Bend & Redmond city limits.
  • TRASH this sign covers what should be landfilled (and not recycled) or avoided in the first place if possible.

Download these handy bin labels to print (and laminate if possible) and tape them up to your containers if they aren’t otherwise obvious.


matt welding front

We are so excited to partner with DIYcave next week for our first ever Summer Repair Cafe! Some of you may remember that is was back in the Fall of 2013 that we held our very first repair cafe at Pakit (check out the video!) So it is with some nostalgia that we return to the very same space where Aaron Leis, Dave Danek and Tim Willis have come together to transform the former beloved junkyard into a bright space filled with tools and machines for the community to access. Here at the Rethink Waste Project, we’re all about access over ownership, and the DIYcave provides that service through classes, memberships or day use.

As with our last 5 repair cafe events, volunteer fixers will be on hand to repair your broken small appliances, mend your clothes or outdoor gear (no alterations please), provide light jewelry repair and fix your small furniture. (In fact they have fixed over 134 items to date!) What’s new at this event, is DIYcave will provide the tools and expertise to repair broken metal items with welding!

We are thankful to DIYcave for hosting us for the Summer Repair Cafe next Tuesday, July 14th 5:30 – 7:30. Also many thanks are overdue to the volunteers who have come once – or every time – to make the Repair Cafes successful! Thanks to Rick Pugh, Ben Lewis, Allison Murphy, Ed Endsley, Mike De La Mater, Doug Butler, John Domogalla, Kent Garliepp, Robin Jurasinski, Tami Potts, Charlene & Richard Nesslein, Chuck Meyer, Mark Clark, Amy Ward, Lloyd McMullen, Sara Yellich, Josh Sims, Sam Powell, Luke Donney and the rest of the Gear Fix crew!

Don’t have any broken items, but curious about Repair Cafes or just want to check out the DIYcave? Come on down! This event is FREE and open to the public!

Summer 2015 Repair Cafe at DIYcave
Tuesday July 14th, 2015 5:30 – 7:30
444 SE 9th St,Bend (former Pakit space – here’s a link to a map)

About DIYcave: DIYcave is based on a premise of self reliance, responsibility and sharing. The opportunities available at DIYcave are only limited to the imagination of the creator and proper execution. DIYcave is striving to provide quality tools for use in a safe environment. The goal of DIYcave is to empower people to see their ideas through to a finished product, to allow people to undertake projects which they are capable of but lack the tools or environment needed, and to teach people skills that may not otherwise be feasible without enrolling in a scheduled course. Finally, DIYcave wants to create an environment in which ideas and expertise can be shared and everything from common problems to imaginative visions can be achieved. Check out their website for a list of classes and membership options.



compost sm

1. Put a stick of butter in it.

Last week I dumped out the compost bucket under the sink at The Environmental Center, and at the very bottom was part of a stick of butter. Yeah, so that stunk up the compost pail, the kitchen, and then the outdoor bin for like 2 days. So if you want to make sure your compost bin doesn’t smell, don’t add food that has any animal products or oil/grease on it. No leftover salad that was tossed with dressing. No leftover rice that was cooked with chicken stock. No bread with mayonnaise on it. And definitely no sticks of butter.

TIP: Keep your home compost (yard debris bin included here) limited to fruit and vegetable scraps, spent coffee grounds and tea bags for a stink free bin!

2. Have a big kitchen compost pail.

If you dump out your kitchen compost pail and it stinks – before even adding it to the compost pile – it’s been sitting there too long and it’s begun to rot, probably in an oxygen deprived environment. If you are using something like a 5 gallon bucket or other large improvised container, the food is simply rotting before you fill it up. If you have a small container and it takes you awhile to fill that up, it’s a good reflection of your diet – you’re eating out, or eating prepared or packaged food and so you’re just not adding enough veggie or fruit scraps to fill it up in a reasonable amount of time.

TIP: Get a smaller kitchen compost pail and/or dump it out once a week regardless if it’s full or not (and order a CSA – you’ll fill it up with kale stalks in no time!)

3. Ignore It.

Have you seen the sticker, COMPOST HAPPENS! Well it does, but here in Central Oregon we need to do a little work to create the ideal environment for decomposers (the bacteria, fungi and little critters turning your food waste into nutrient rich compost) or else your bin might stink, or just not break down at all. Decomposers, like all living things, need FOOD (your veggie and fruit food scraps), WATER (get more in by adding water to your kitchen compost container before dumping it in your compost bin), and AIR (achieved through turning a compost pile, spinning a tumbler or adding worms.

TIP: Add worms! They do the work for you as long as you keep them fed and warm.

In the end, most of the time your compost bin should smell like good ‘ol dirt! If it doesn’t that’s just your signal that somethings up. Get in touch if you need some help troubleshooting your compost bin or getting started!

Email denise or call 541.385.6908 x14


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Furniture Flip only  sm

We’re so excited about Bend ReStore’s new annual event – Furniture Flip! The ideas is this – artists/designers/upcyclers compete over a limited time to upcycle 3 pieces of furniture from reStore and other resale outlets to turn them into really cool items that you will want for your home! The items will be sold at the unveiling event at Armature on April 25th (after the Earth Day Fair & Parade at The Environmental Center).

Yesterday, the chosen designers were given the rules, $100 to spend at reStore, and open run of the place to pick their first items!

Bummed you missed out on participating? Well the good news is that this will be an annual event. So here’s some websites to get your creative side going to see the potential in stuff next time you visit reStore.

Be sure to get mark your calendars for the Earth Day after party at Armature on April 25th to see the final Furniture Flip pieces!




I love reuse. From creatively upcycling, to avoiding disposables and shunning ridiculously over packaged goods, on any given day I’m usually reusing something. It has a big impact on reducing what we contribute to the landfill every month, but I know the bigger impact is upstream when all those disposable goods are produced. So here’s my Top Ten Ways I Reuse – and you can too!

1. Pack My Coffee Mug. (or a mason jar with this lid and a beer coozie). Easy to remember if I’m bringing the rest of my coffee to work, otherwise I try to pack it in case I get some more on the go.

2. Dress My Kid in Hand-Me-Downs. She hasn’t even worn everything we have, and I have bags more in the closet as she grows. I’ll check out consignment stores and online swaps if I need something specific. At some point I’ll have a closet full of clothes to pass on to someone else.

3. Wipe The Counters – and Messy Faces – with Washcloths. While disposable wipes are handy for diaper time and on-the-go, we use washcloths for everything else and keep a paper towel roll for emergency use. Start by getting them off the counter and into the cabinet.

4. Donate Stuff I Don’t Use. If I feel like it has any chance at a second, third or fourth life, I pass it along.

5. Pack My Lunch in a Jar. These handy inserts from cuppow make separating items easy.

6. Put A Cloth Diaper On My Kiddo. Not everyday, and lately less than I used to, but as far as I see it every time I use a cloth diaper it’s one less diaper to sit in a landfill for 10,000 years.

7. Rinse Out A Ziploc. On any given day there are a slew of plastic bags drying out waiting for their next use. We buy about 1 box of ziplocks a year and get by reusing those and other resealable plastic packaging until its not worth easily rinsing out.

8. Wear Hand-Me-Downs Myself. Whether its from a thrift store, consignment store or a girly clothing exchange, most of my clothes had a life before mine (and they would after me too, if I wasn’t such a spiller).

9. Peruse Craigslist. When I’m on the lookout for something in particular, like a used chair or a sewing machine, I check it daily.

10. Make Something. I love reclaiming, repurposing and upcycling stuff into better, functional stuff. Like these map journals.

11. BONUS! We use toilet paper rolls to keep small extension cords organized.

What’s your favorite way to reuse?



Zero Waste Home sm

2015 offers us all another bright chance to start fresh. Make this the year you increase your health and happiness with less stuff and less chemicals. Here’s what a Less Is More approach to 2015 could look like for you!

Less Stuff.

Buy less, organize less, straighten less, declutter less. All of it results when you have a goal to just have -and buy – less stuff. Here are some ideas I’ve come across that can help you think about the stuff you own, or to challenge you to buy less or get rid of things more. Use them together or separately.

  • Don’t Declutter, Simplify. Decide you don’t want to declutter anymore – and go on a binge and get rid of that stuff forever (by get rid of, of course I mean donate and recycle!)
  • Love it or Leave it. Ask yourself if you love it, if it gives you joy. If it doesn’t, its just stuff, and its taking up valuable space – physically, mentally, emotionally, sometimes financially.
  • One item a day. Have a bag or box and donate it when its full. Start a new one.
  • Create a challenge. Each week choose a different drawer, room, or project area to tackle. Take an hour or the whole week. But don’t move on until that’s finished.
  • Do a 30 Day Challenge.
  • Downsize 2,015 items in 2015.
  • 52 Week Declutter List.
  • Buy Nothing Year.
  • Tips: Start with the area that bugs you the most. Clear it out. Love everything in it. Pass on unloved items to a thrift store. Get inspired to do the rest.
  • If you keep – and only buy – things that you love – than your house/room/closet etc is full of things that you love! See how that works? Get inspired at the Zero Waste Home!

Less Chemicals.

Make 2015 the year you reduce your exposure to everyday chemicals. Here’s a few challenge ideas and resources from our go to website for this kind of thing, the Environmental Working Group to help you tackle this monster.

How are you living More With Less in 2015?

wrapping paper under tree

Hopefully you’ve chosen gifts well suited for the recipient, bought them an experience, or made them something yourself. Whatever you chose for your gifts, here’s a guide to dealing with the inevitable waste from your gift exchange this year.

Before your party – set up a quick station using any kind of container to separate out what you can REUSE next holiday, what can be RECYCLED, and stuff to put into TRASH. Note: If you put everything in a big garbage bag, one bag, it WILL all end up in the trash.


  • Gift bags
  • Ribbons & Bows
  • Gift boxes that flatten for storage
  • Cloth wrapping or bags
  • Wrapping paper you really like
  • Tissue paper in good shape




  • Wrapping paper (except the kind that’s plastic foil)
  • Flattened cardboard
  • Paperboard packaging
  • Paper holiday cards
  • Ripped paper gift bags



  • Plastic packaging on toys, electronics, etc.
  • Foil wrapping paper
  • Tissue paper you don’t want to reuse
  • Photo printed holiday cards



Curious about what to do with a specific item you have after the holidays? Ask us!

Check out our other Less Stuff, More Joy Holiday tips and ideas!

gift cards

How to Adapt When What You’re Selling Is Stuff 

More and more people are shifting the way they celebrate the holidays, including simplifying and focusing less on stuff and more on joy. People want a holiday wrapped in meaning, not just more stuff. How can your business adapt – especially if you sell stuff? Think outside the (gift) box.

Accessibility is the New Ownership

As a generation, millennials increasingly desire access to stuff to use when they need it, but without the hassle of storing and maintaining it. This is also percolating throughout our culture as new models of the sharing economy emerge. Do you have items you could rent? Rentals aren’t just for gear like bikes, kayaks and skis. Successful companies like Rent the Runaway do exactly that – rent high end dresses and accessories women can rent for an event they want to dress up for. Do you have any items that could be rented for short term use? Are there items that would complement your current business that you could offer for rent?

Make Memories, Not Garbage

Can you remember what you got as gifts last year? Chances are, if you got a unique experience, that’s what you recall first. If your business offers any kind of experience, be sure to let your customers know about that via your advertising and communication outreach efforts, then make it easy for them to purchase. If your shop offers goods, can you offer a tailored service or special event? A clothing store could offer personalized outfit makeovers, a gallery could facilitate a meet the artist event, a home goods store could offer a design consultation. What services could you offer that would be a unique gift for the right person?

Gift Cards For Everyone

Whether you offer experiences, services, rentals or goods – you can increase your holiday income by offering gift cards for sale on your website.  Online gift cards open up opportunities for far away family members to buy gift cards for their families right here in Central Oregon, getting them exactly what they want or need. If you don’t, you’re losing out to big box stores.  If you do this already, be sure to let your customers know so they can tell their families, and then highlight it on your website and email communications to your existing customer base. If you haven’t done this yet, a quick Google search turns up a variety of companies that make customized gift cards. Make it your business New Years’ Resolution and make it happen in 2015.

How has your business adapted to benefit from this style of holiday?

Want some assistance figuring out how your business can Rethink Waste? Ask us!

Check out our other Less Stuff, More Joy Holiday tips and ideas!




give green

Now that we’re in the thick of the busiest time of year for shopping (and hence, waste making) it’s the perfect time to think about how as consumers, when we shop is when we have the most control over the most important “R” of Reduce Reuse & Recycle. REDUCE. (AKA: Waste Prevention!) Each of these tips links to it’s own blog post for more information, ideas and resources.

1) Plan Ahead and Prepare:

Spend time really thinking about the person you are buying a gift for.  You’re more likely to get them something they will really want or need that won’t end up at a white elephant party or worse, in the trash.

2) Make Memories, Not Garbage:

Support local businesses while making memories through experience based gifts like dining, outdoor recreation, theaters, spa treatments and more!

3) Choose Quality Over Quantity:

You might save a few bucks up front, but how long before it ends up in the garbage?  Holiday sales are a great time to get a higher quality product that will last, for less.

4) Buy Handmade:

Try Etsy or local art and craft shows for handmade products.  There are tons of eco-friendly, unique and upcycled gifts available from independent artists.

5) Buy the Product, Not the Packaging:

10% of what you spend goes to the packaging, most of which winds up in the landfill.  Avoid buying over packaged goods.

6) Buy Local:

If you’re going to spend money, keep it local.  More of your money stays in Central Oregon when you support local businesses. Gift cards are one way to keep your money local support a local while being sure your loved ones get what they want.

7) Choose to Reuse:

Shopping bags and coffee mugs for shopping. Plates, cups and napkins when entertaining. Gift bags and ribbon for gift giving. Avoid unnecessary waste by avoiding disposables and using reusables throughout the holiday season.

8) Think Outside of the Box:

Don’t get stuck wrapping boxes in paper that often just ends up in the landfill.  Have fun with reusable tins, gift bags, ribbon and fabric for unique gift giving.

9) Buy Used:

Last year’s gear is this year’s bargain.  Try local resale stores or craigslist for great deals without all the waste.

10) Spend Time, Not Money:

Instead of buying something for someone, do something with them or for them.  Go sledding, bake cookies, string popcorn, have a tea party, make gifts, babysit, repair a bike, build a bookshelf, surprise them with breakfast in bed.



With the gift of experience, you give memories that contribute to happiness way more than just accumulation of more stuff.

Here’s a few ideas to get you going:

Give Kids Fun Winter Outings


Give Parents a Night or Day Out (trust me, they need it!)

  • Childcare! Offer to babysit or hire one out! Seriously this is the best!
  • Local restaurant gift certificates.
  • Equipment rentals from a local outdoor store to go skiing, biking, paddling etc.
  • Movie theater gift cards.


Give Someone A Break

  • Spa gift certificates.
  • Massage gift certificates.
  • Yoga studio passes.
  • A night’s lodging somewhere. Anywhere.


For Those That Want Skills


What experiences would you love to get as a gift?


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