Your Teacher

Betty Shelley and her husband, Jon, have produced just one 32-gallon can of garbage per year since 2006. Betty is a Master Recycler and a waste reduction advocate in Portland, Oregon. She finds waste reduction to be a creative way to help reduce her impact on the Earth’s resources, and a great way to save her own resources. In 2013, Betty won the NW Earth Institute Founders Earth Leadership Award, given to those who have “demonstrated leadership toward creating a thriving future for all.”

“Seeing how class participants have that moment of discovery that they really can make a difference in their personal lives and help the planet at the same time is so gratifying.  They realize it’s just really not that hard.”  Betty Shelley

Our Participants Say:

  • Jaylen

    “I liked the idea that everything comes from the Earth, and the need for reuse and refusal is tantamount. I liked the Re- exercise…Thinking of all the ways we can Re- in our lives was great.”


  • Tracey

    "The variety of ways you taught the material kept me engaged and focused (you’re a master teacher also). I liked all the exercises, group activities and videos; the power of group learning was quite evident. Your passion and sincerity are quite obvious. I felt I was being taught by someone who walks their talk, enjoys it and was inspiring."

  • 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)

  • 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.”

  • 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…”