By Lisa Britton

For the Baker City Herald

Ann Mehaffy wants to talk about garbage.

And not just trash, but also reusing and recycling stuff instead of sending it to the landfill.

She’s helped start Baker City Trash Talk, a group that now has a Facebook page to share tips on reducing waste, as well as products, materials and demos “for recycling, reusing, reducing and basically managing trash.”

“We feel collectively committed to starting a conversation about garbage,” she said.

Mehaffy has a history of talking about trash — in the 1960s, her mother started a recycling center at her church.

“My mother was a hardcore recycler,” she said.

Mehaffy herself takes the same tactic — for instance, she cleans dog food bags and sews them into reusable grocery bags.

Lately, a new development in the recycling world made Mehaffy take a little closer look at recycling.

China recently decided to restrict the amount of recyclable plastic it imports from the U.S. As a result, Baker Sanitary Service stopped accepting those containers in September at its recycling center at 12th and Campbell streets in Baker City. The issue has affected recyclers across the state and region.

When the Trash Talk group was getting started, Mehaffy called David Henry, president of Baker Sanitary. After an hour-long conversation, she had a clear picture of the plastic recycling situation, which affects a lot more people than just those in Baker City.

“Everyone is having to deal with it,” she said.

Baker City Trash Talk will show the film “Garbage: The Revolution Starts at Home,” at 6 p.m. April 18 at the Iron Gate Theater on Main Street. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m.

The film follows a family who saves every scrap of garbage for three months. The family then “takes a journey to find out where it all goes and what it’s doing to the world” (film description from

See more in the March 9, 2018, issue of the Baker City Herald.