By Bonita Davis, RA Board Member 

AOR’s 40th Annual Sustainable Oregon 2018 Conference in Eugene offered a tour of BRING, a central Oregon-based non-profit dedicated to changing attitudes and behaviors regarding waste. Focusing on consumption, climate change and community resiliency, the program works to provide vision, leadership and tools for living well on the planet we all share. Created in 1971, BRING is one of the nation’s oldest non-profit recyclers, encouraging people to rethink what they use and what they throw away.

BRINGEmily Shelton, BRING Education and Events Manager, led conference attendees along winding garden pathways bordered by native vegetation and creative container and trellised plantings.  The path led from one highly innovative area to another, from beautiful garden with creative trellis designs and native plantings to the Planet Improvement Center where reuse materials were clean, sorted, and organized and ready for sale.  The wide selection of salvaged and surplus building materials, garden supplies, Metro Paint, and other reusable items made it a little tempting to deviate from the tour to shop!  More than one person was heard commenting, “I need to come back!”

Executive Director Carolyn Stein, shared her personal journey with BRING along with the organizations’ dynamic history and ever expanding community service programs.   It’s about a lot more than recycling!  Stein led us through the grounds, describing the heating, cooling and lighting systems that have been incorporated into the construction, built using donated materials, and a lot of ingenuity.  ReThink Business Manager, Danny Pearson responded to our questions about BRING’S ReThink Certification Program that offers tools, expertise, support and guidance to improve sustainable practices to local businesses.

There was a lot to see on the tour – open, airy creatively designed spaces offering donated goods, creative reuse, building and home supplies and more.   Where else would you find a not-so-real lifesize rhino, hanging out with its’ very real nutria pal in a grassy area?   Winding pathways, artistically rendered garden gates, a curved bench resembling a piano keyboard made with toilet tank lids, arches of all types, vertical gardens, and outdoor education and creative spaces made the tour exciting, inspirational and informative.  Café Yumm! Provided an excellent lunch before we departed for downtown.

Learn more by visiting  Better yet, visit BRING.  Look for it in unincorporated Glenwood, nestled between the boundaries of Springfield and Eugene at 4446 Franklin Blvd. or hop a Lane Transit District Bus from downtown for a short ride to the center.