TrashBuster Awards 

Recognition for Going Above and Beyond

In 1992 the Lane County Board of Commissioners and its Resource Recovery Advisory Committee (RRAC) established a process to recognize individuals, organizations, and businesses in the community who make notable or outstanding efforts in the area of waste reduction. The Trashbuster award program was born!

Trashbusters engage in a wide spectrum of activity beyond just recycling. By innovating new products, new systems and new services, by changing policies, and by shifting purchasing and disposal habits, businesses, organizations and individuals can realize economic, social and environmental benefits for our community.

Trashbuster awards are awarded in nine categories: Individual, School Program, Restaurant/Food Service, Private Business, Construction/Demolition, Product Manufacturer, Nonprofit Organization, Special Event, and Government Agency. 



Today, after 22 years,  the Trashbuster Awards program is taking a sabbatical due to challenged county administration budgets and commissioners' board meeting priorities.


2012 Award Winners Recognized  
In celebration of National America Recycles Day, Lane County Waste Management announced this year’s Award winners on November 15. Awards were presented at the Willamette Valley Sustainable Food Alliance’s Annual Banquet, at Eugene's Celeste Senior Campbell Center.

  2012 Trashbuster Award Winners

from left to right:  Steve Restad and Lynnette Gorman of Albertsons Hilyard Store,  Beto Montes and Annie Lukasik representing North Eugene High Culinary Arts. Behind them,  Jimmy Brougher of Hummingbird Wholesale, Mark Beauchamp of Café Yumm!, in front, Florence Master Recycler, Sharon Fitzgerald,  and Rachel Sanders with School Garden Project director John Moriarty.  Anne Donahue and Stephane Scafa from City of Eugene.


Food Service Trashbuster: Café Yumm!
 As an early adopter sustainable food service Café Yumm! is a success story for the triple bottom line focus on people, planet, and profits. All their restaurants provide reusable bowls, utensils, and glassware. By offering three sizes of Yumm! Bowls, they reduce food waste. Instead of providing trash cans in the dining area, bus tubs are provided to customers so that employees can hand-sort items and ensure minimal waste to the landfill. Their restaurants offer easy access to free filtered water, reducing the demand for bottled drinks. All Café Yumm! restaurants incorporate recycled materials in their buildings, from wall panels made from sorghum to reclaimed mill pond logs, and even compressed, recycled paper turned into tabletops. Café Yumm! loves food, not waste, and is composting through that program as well. Paper products (such as menus, takeout boxes, and office paper) are made from recycled content materials. Finally, Café Yumm! is the first US restaurant to host a solar-powered electric vehicle charging station. Since becoming operational in October 2011, the solar panels at their 730 East Broadway, Eugene, location have produced 42,743 kwh of electricity, which flows back to EWEB.

Private Business Trashbuster-from-the-Start: Hummingbird Wholesale. After purchasing a local wholesale business, owners of Hummingbird Wholesale set up shop with a Trashbusting ethic in all they do, employing all the standard best practices of double-sided printing, recycled content products, and reuse of “one-side good” paper. They reuse wood pallets and packing materials rather than purchasing new materials. Durable dishware and linens are provided in the company lunchroom and the multitude of recycling options provided there are labeled with clear and motivational signage. Hummingbird promotes trash-free lunch days and offers their zero waste meeting location in the Stellaria Building up for special events and meetings.

Beyond the already waste-reducing business model of making bulk purchasing easier and more accessible to all, Hummingbird’s implementation and heavily promoted container return policy has fomented a powerful reuse ethic for their customers that greatly reduces the pollution of production and transport of new supplies. In just one year, their container return system resulted in 18,000 lbs of plastic that did not have to be recycled and remanufactured.

Private Business Trashbuster Transformation: Albertsons Hilyard Store. The Albertsons Hilyard Street store joined their corporate zero-waste effort In February 2012 and began making storewide transformation in their approach to waste management. Eight months later, their weekly trash tracking reported a 90% reduction of weekly waste going to landfill. Store manager Lynette Gorman noted that after implementing the weekly tracking and reporting, store staff seemed to adopt a sort of CSI-like approach to monitoring the trash and ensuring that all recyclables are retrieved. They donate reusable food to Food for Lane County, and all other discarded food waste to a local farm for livestock feed. They increased staff, vendor, and customer outreach and education about recycling options and their zero waste goals. Beyond the basic comingled recycling, the store also makes sure Styrofoam, pill bottles, shrink wrap, and hard plastics get to a recycler. Albertsons' trashbusting transformation provides a powerful and important “can-do” message to others in the grocery industry.

Nonprofit Trashbuster: The School Garden Project.
The School Garden Project approached City and County Oregon Green Schools managers when they noted the need for better nutrient content in the soil of school gardens. They created and implemented compost education instructions, programming, workshops, and curriculum to engage students and schools in the very natural connection between food waste from their cafeterias and growing healthy plants. School Garden Project worked with the city of Eugene, to directly support 16 schools’ cafeteria-to-compost projects—each diverting 8 to 45 pounds of food waste per week from the waste stream into the garden.  So far the School Garden Project's educational efforts have connected approximately 4,500 students to the most natural and important key to our sustainable community: Gardens make great food and compost makes great gardens.

Government Agency Trashbuster: The City of Eugene Waste Prevention and Green Building Program. This program has demonstrated consistent leadership and commitment to waste reduction, reuse, and prevention in the operation of their public services. The City's Green Building Incentive program promotes waste reduction in private construction projects by providing permit fee reductions, technical assistance, priority review and inspections, and publicity to construction projects that meet a series of waste reduction standards; so far 20 projects have met these rigorous standards. The City's Love Food Not Waste commercial compost program has 95 participing businesses, and is slated to divert an impressive 3,200 tons of food waste in its first year and 5% more each year after.  

The City's leadership in this year’s Track Town '12 sustainability effort carried our local event to the national level, piloting the first ever certification for multi day event category. The Olympic Track and Field Trials exceeded its goal by diverting over 78% of discard from the landfill and back into the economy. The City's long time cooperation with nonprofits, and commitment to composting, raises all boats for the sustainability of our community—creating access, resources, education and enthusiasm for turning garbage in to gardens that feed our community—schools, individuals, and local businesses alike.   

School Trashbuster: Students from North Eugene High School's Culinary Arts Program. This program achieved “zero waste” catering at three BRING Tour of Homes dinner events, then they took those lessons back to the classroom. They used durable serving ware, napkins and compostable cups. They composted all food waste; and bottles, cans, and corks were recycled or donated for reuse. Community partnerships made this powerful program possible, with professional guidance from Executive Chef Michael Thieme of Sweetwater’s Valley River Inn, and Master Recycler guidance from Annie Lukasik, students learn how to love food not waste as they prepare and serve fabulous feasts. Less than 11 pounds of landfill-bound trash were produced during the planning and execution of three catered events serving 164 people.

Individual Trashbuster Award: Florence Area Master Recyclers. After completing the master recycler training, this group has gone above and beyond expectations; taking personal responsibility and initiative in creating ongoing recycling opportunities and education in their coastal community. For several years they have hosted regular planning meetings (open to the public) and have coordinated the recycling at the Florence Relay for Life and Rhody Days Carnivals. They’ve maintained community drop-off sites for Styrofoam, put together a durable dishware kit for  zero waste picnics and events, provided informational booths and speakers at events and meetings, and added achievements this year include developing the first ever “Where to Recycle in Florence” guide and putting Master Recyclers on parade in the Rhody Days Celebration!

2011 Trashbuster Award Recipients  

Back row: Tom LoCasio (Mt. Pisgah Arboretum), Nancy Owen Myers (LunchSense), Carolyn Stein (Emerald City Roller Girls), Ed Zack (Unitarian Universalist Church in Eugene), Michelle Miranda (City of Eugene Public Works), John Tasker and Caith Wiles (Market of Choice), and Annie Lukasick (Madison Middle School).
Front row: Pony Gilbert and his family (Long Tom Sawmill), and Courtney Tiernan.

To learn more about the 2011 Trashbuster Award recipients, click here.

2010 Trashbuster Award Recipients

Shawn Donnille (Mountain Rose Herbs),  Willy Breninghouse and Shari Boggs (Waste Free Oregon), Bill Fleenor, BJ Hurwich, Pat Dwyer, Julie Bailey (Mountain Rose Herbs) Rodney Bloom, Pete Sorenson, Mija Andrade.

To learn more about these 2010 Trashbuster Award Recipients click here.
All 1993-2009 Trashbuster Award Recipients are listed here.