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Fighting eco-anxiety through action

The American Psychological Association defines eco-anxiety as the “chronic fear of environmental doom,” and it is often characterized as feeling helpless when considering climate change.

Until recently, I experienced a high degree of eco-anxiety. However, through Lane County’s Master Recycler program, I learned to decrease my worry. The program improved my composting skills, keeping methane gasses from escaping landfills. I used the Waste Wise App to find ways to recycle, and I joined the Lane County Community Plastics Collection program, preventing 40-plus tons of plastic from entering our landfills since its onset.

Through personal action, my excitement overcame my anxiety. Now, Lane County is making it easier for everyone to take action. Effective immediately, all #2, #4, and #5 plastics collected for the Community Plastic Collection program no longer require label removal. Of course, all plastics must still be clean, dry and separated by number for acceptance. Additionally, all prescription bottles must have all personal information removed.

The program supplements curbside recycling programs offered by local waste haulers. Learn more about it at If you want to become a collector or have plastics to drop off, email with your name and street address. We will connect you with the closest collector or get you signed up so you can start your own.


Susan Kittleson manages Lane County’s Community Plastics Collection program.

She became interested in waste reduction

while previously traveling the globe leading

sales and marketing teams at Microsoft.

Instagram @wastewiselandcounty/


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