About the ‘Less is More’ Class

Are you concerned about the environmental issues facing us but are unsure what you can do to make a difference? Reducing your waste is a simple, yet profound way to decrease your impact on the planet and save money at the same time.

Master Recycler, former Metro Regional Government Recycling Information Specialist, and waste reduction advocate Betty Shelley and her husband, Jon, have had just one 35-gallon can of garbage per year since 2006. After so many people asked how they accomplished this, they decided to offer a class to help others realize they too could reduce their waste. In the three-session class, Less is More: Getting to One Can of Garbage a Year, Betty Shelley teaches you her techniques for reducing waste and why that’s so important. The format is interactive and encourages participants to examine their values and behaviors and learn how to make lasting changes. Curb climate change instead of your garbage!

The class is specifically designed to:

  • Inform about where our waste comes from and where it goes when we throw it away.
  • Explain the three R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – as well as how to avoid waste before it even gets to your home.
  • Raise awareness of the impacts of water, energy and other resource waste, and explore ways to prevent using more than necessary.
  • Share techniques for waste reduction, whether it be to one can a month, a quarter or a year.
  • Provide awareness that your actions do make a difference.

Take the Class

The class is a series of three sessions, one 2-hour session per week in which the information presented builds on the previous session; please be sure that you can attend all three sessions before registering. Register early as the class is limited to 8-12 participants; the class may be cancelled if the minimum student enrollment is not met. To register, call 503-244-8044 or email betty@reduceyourwasteproject.com. Further details, such as how to access the building, are provided when we confirm your registration.

The class meets from 7 p.m.-9 p.m. at the NWEI office, 107 SE Washington St. $40 non-refundable cash-only fee due at the first session. The fee for early bird registration is $35 (seven days prior to first class). NWEI member fee is $30. Class participants are entitled to $5 off the price of an NWEI discussion course book.

In 2018, the class will be offered the weeks of:

April 2, 9 and 16 (sign up by March 23 – *see notes below}

August 6, 13 and 20 (sign up by July 27 – *see notes below}

*We are going to try a new method for choosing which night of the week to hold the classes. As soon as the minimum number of participants have registered for a class, we will send a Doodle poll with several choices of day and time. We tried this for the 2017 fall class and it worked very well. But in order for us to be able to schedule the sessions, we will need people to sign up early enough to send the poll and choose a mutually agreed upon day of the week.

And for those who are unable to attend a three-session class on a weeknight, we are offering a single 5-hour class from 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 5th. (There will be a 1/2-hour break for lunch)

Host the Class

Are you interested in having Betty present Less is More at your organization? Are you unable to attend a scheduled series? Are there more than 12 people who want to take the class together? Or perhaps you want to offer the class but three sessions won’t work? The class is easily adapted to various settings and group sizes. Less is More: Getting to One Can of Garbage a Year has been hosted at workplaces, nonprofits, libraries, faith centers and more. Contact us to discuss rates and availability.

Our Participants Say:

  • Honore

    "It's funny to think how my change in worldview and passion for recycling and materials management began in that little high school classroom with you way back in 2008(?). I'm very thankful to have met you at that time in my life. And now, here I am, following my passion, as you say, and (hopefully) making a difference in my community and my region."  (in Colorado)

  • Sheen

    “Thanks for doing the class. It truly was life-changing. You are a true inspiration.”

  • Nancy

    “The course helped me feel like there was a more extensive community of support, and it remotivated me to try to make new changes.”

  • Lane

    “Even knowing as much as I know, I still learned quite a bit that I take and use at home and in my business.”

  • Sarah

    “I feel like I was enraptured for the whole of the three weeks. The coverage of this class was so holistic, alarming and hopeful. It's so powerful to sit in a room of people with the common goals of changing this poisonous system we have.”

  • Tom

    "One of the things I liked best about this class was the sense of empowerment I came away with. I really can make a difference!"

  • Chanda

    “I’m a single-income person with a disabled spouse & a teenager. Money is always an issue. At first I kept thinking, ‘Yeah, but green typically costs more.’ By the last day, I was hit with, ‘Yeah…look at how much I waste.’”

  • Laura

    “I pledge to think more about the stuff that I buy – how it’s packaged, where did it come from, where will it go, etc. – so that I can really minimize my household’s waste.”

  • Kelsey

    “I loved how accessible everything felt. I actually think I can do this. Living with less waste is not an extreme or radical thing to do… it doesn’t seem that hard. Tons of people are already doing it. Learning how to recycle common household stuff was so practical, it has really helped in my home…”