March - 2019

Local Solutions to the Plastic Problem


The problem of plastic pollution is evident in nearly every corner of the globe and Flagstaff is no exception. During windy spring days, we’ll often see plastic bags flying by or fluttering in tree branches. In the winter, the problem is exemplified by broken plastic sleds left in the forest and at popular winter snowplay areas. Luckily, we have a few new solutions emerging locally to help deal with the problem. One is the Winter Snowplay Stewards, a volunteer group which organizes cleanup events. You can learn more by contacting Maggie Twomey at The other is NAU Graduate Student in the Sustainable Communities Program, and current Master Recycler student Tyler Linner. His Master’s Thesis involves shredding plastic not recyclable in Flagstaff and melting it down to be re-purposed. He was recently interviewed by KNAU during a demonstration event at Snow Mountain River, a local outdoor gear consignment shop. Check out the article here:

2019 Master Recycler Course

The 2019 Master Recycler course is underway! We have a great group of motivated people who are making the classes lots of fun with engaging discussions. A big thank you to all of our presenters this year too.

For the 2019 course, we are offering an optional Saturday field trips to the NAU Food Recovery and Compost Program on March 9th from 10 am - 1 pm. Any former students are welcome to attend. Please RSVP to Felix at if you’d like to join us.

Mentor Program

As part of our ongoing efforts to improve the course, we’d like to offer an invitation to former students to speak to the new class about volunteering. This can often be a source of confusion and we’d appreciate your help in passing along your knowledge and experience to the new students about tabling, volunteering at events, and implementing your own programs. We will have time set aside during the final class, scheduled for April 4th for you to speak. Please RSVP to Felix at if you’d like to participate. Another feature we’re introducing is the ability to leave comments on the newsletter page. We’re hoping to use this feature to connect people who are interested in partnering up for volunteer events. Please give it a try and give us feedback!

Master Recycler Happy Hour

Let’s celebrate this year’s graduating class of Master Recyclers by getting a chance to introduce everyone. We will meet at Charley’s Pub & Grill after the conclusion of the final class on April 4th at 7:30 pm. Please feel free to bring your families along too.

Make Sure to Report Your Hours

Even if you've completed your 30-hour commitment, we'd appreciate you continuing to report your hours so that we can measure the progress of the program and improve your experience.

Upcoming Volunteer Opportunities

There a few different opportunities to volunteer this month. STEM night at the NAU Skydome will take place on March 11th. This is a very fun event that will provide an opportunity to play the waste game, educate the community on recycling changes, and demonstrate how vital STEM education is to Materials Management and the recycling industry. SOP Drop-Off Day is scheduled for April 6th at the MRF. This is a new project in development by Ward Davis. SOP stands for Sorted Office Paper and it is the most valuable category of recycled paper. We’re organizing a monthly drop-off event for people and businesses, find out more here. The cart tagging project was extremely successful with over 1000 tags distributed to the community that provide updated plastic recycling information. Thanks to all the volunteers who participated. We still have more tags available but will be moving this project to the ongoing opportunities to be done by volunteers when their schedule allows. If you’re interested or have questions please contact Felix at Just click on the volunteer opportunity you are interested in for contact info. Be sure to keep checking back, as we continue to add volunteer opportunities.

As always, feel free to create your own opportunities and let us know if we can help you by providing outreach materials, helping create presentations, or in any other way.

Volunteer Appreciations


Laura Bohland and Francisca Alvarado, have surpassed their 30 hour commitment. A sincere thank you to these 2 for giving back to the community through volunteering at events such as Earth Day, Drop-Off Day, Flagstaff Farmers Market, and helping to edit the Master Recycler Handbook. Their combined efforts have directly reached 442 individuals. Thanks for making a difference!

Not sure how many hours you’ve completed?

We've compiled all volunteer activity into a Google spreadsheet, which summarizes the various activities each Master Recycler has completed. If you scroll to the bottom, you can find the total number of hours you have completed. We'll be updating the spreadsheet at the end of each month. You can access the spreadsheet here.