April is Earth Month, and what better time to examine the state of recycling in the Gorge?

Columbia Gorge Climate Action Network and Mt. View Grange, White Salmon, are holding a Zoom panel discussion made up of a local “Recycling Dream Team.” Each of the panelists represents an important niche in serving the recycling needs of the Gorge: Hazardous material recycling, household recycling, and business recycling.

“Recycling Realities” takes place Thursday, April 29 at 7 p.m. Join the Zoom meeting at us02web.zoom.us/j/84590609925, or go to www.CGCAN.org and click on Earth Month 2021 Events. The program will be hosted by Peter Cornelison, Columbia Gorge Climate Action Network, and Ruth Olin, White Salmon Grange.

After short presentations, there will be time for questions to the following expert panelists:

David Skakel is the program coordinator for the Tri-County Hazardous Waste & Recycling Program, which has been collecting hazardous waste and addressing recycling policy and outreach for households, businesses, and farmers of Wasco, Sherman and Hood River counties since 2006. Skakel is most interested in pursuing best practices that balance the three E’s (Environment, Economy and Social Equity) for end-of-life management of our unwanted “stuff.”

Ruby Irving is the solid waste director for Klickitat County and has a background in ecology, natural resources and biology. She previously worked in industrial wastewater compliance. It is her mission to help bring about a change in how we view our individual commitment to environmental issues and to rethink the five R’s: reduce, reuse, repurpose, repair, and only if it’s beneficial to saving our planet, recycle.

Julie Tucker is founder and owner of Emerald Systems LLC, a sustainable materials management company. Tucker has worked in the recycling Industry since 1987 and her background is in sustainability and electrical/power engineering in regards to renewable energy systems. Emerald Systems works with businesses, organizations, and communities to rethink, reduce, reuse and recycle their waste streams, in that order, and to turn them into resource streams by being educated conscious consumers and a part of the circular economy.

“More of our society is realizing that plastic pollution is a huge environmental problem,” said a press release. “Reduce is still the most important mantra of the recycling world. There are many alternatives now to single-use plastic, like bar shampoo. Reuse still comes in a close second. When you buy recycled material, you help decrease the market for virgin material. Products that can be made again into useful products move us towards a circular economy. That is nature’s model, and the only way to ensure an ongoing material stream without harm to the planet and its limited resources.

“To keep recycled goods viable and valuable, we need to keep the recycling stream clean. This means knowing and following the recycling guidelines in your area. We have the power to be less wasteful. Join the webinar to learn more.”