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Coronavirus COVID-19

COVID-19 Advisory: WSU Extension is working to keep our communities safe. All Extension programming is being provided virtually, postponed, or canceled. Effective March 16, 2020, WSU Extension county offices and WSU Research & Extension Centers will be closed to the public. We are available via email, phone, and webconference.

Thurston County Master Recycler Composter Volunteer Training

Program Contact: Cori Carlton, Master Gardener & Master Recycler Composter Program Manager
(360) 867-2162 •

What is the Thurston County Master Recycler Composter Program?

The Thurston County Master Recycler Composter Program is a county-based volunteer service program managed through the WSU Thurston County Extension office in Olympia.  Master Recycler Composter (MRC) volunteers are the cornerstone of the program and are the go-to resource for Thurston County residents seeking research-based, localized information on recycling, waste reduction, and composting.

What do Master Recycler Composter volunteers do?

Master Recycler Composter (MRC) volunteers are trained on how to reduce waste and increase public awareness of opportunities to prevent waste, recycle and compost in Thurston County.

MRC volunteers serve with local organizations, community members, neighborhoods, schools, workplaces, or at special events encouraging waste prevention, recycling, and composting. On-going continuing education opportunities are provided to all MRC volunteers to stay up to date on the ever-changing landscape of recycling regulations, waste reduction techniques, and composting science.

Thurston County MRC volunteers agree to give a minimum of 25 hours of yearly service to put their knowledge to use in our community and to maintain volunteer certification. This includes 5 hours of continuing education and 20 hours of volunteer activities.

Being an MRC volunteer takes time and commitment, and may not be for everyone, but it does have many benefits. Thurston County Master Recycler Composter volunteers:

  • Have access to continuing education opportunities to expand their knowledge and better serve the public in the fields of waste reduction, recycling, and composting;
  • Make a positive difference in Thurston County;
  • Develop friendships with other passionate MRC volunteers;
  • Have fun!
How do I become a certified Master Recycler Composter volunteer?

If you have a passion for recycling, waste reduction, and composting and want to serve your community as a volunteer to raise awareness, then consider becoming a Thurston County Master Recycler Composter volunteer.

All certified MRC volunteers go through the MRC Volunteer Training to help prepare them for their role as volunteers.  After completion of training, MRC volunteers commit to a minimum of 25 hours of volunteer service per year to maintain certification. Volunteer service must be completed within Thurston County.

To become an MRC Volunteer you must be 18 years of age or older, and either live, work, or operate a business in Thurston County.

What is the Thurston County Master Recycler Composter Volunteer Training?

The annual MRC Volunteer Training is taught by WSU Extension staff, Thurston County staff who specialize in recycling and waste reduction, and regional experts.

Training topics include waste prevention, recycling processes and markets, home (yard and worm) composting, wasting less food, repurposing items, greener buying choices, community outreach, youth programming, plus so much more.  Training focuses on Thurston County and Washington specific information regarding solid waste management practices, recycling processes, etc.

Fall 2021 MRC Volunteer Training Information:

The WSU Thurston County Extension and Thurston County Public Works are recruiting adults that live, work, or operate a business in Thurston County for the Fall 2021 Master Recycler Composter (MRC) Volunteer Training.

Classes will be held Thursday evenings from 6:30pm to 8pm, September 16 through November 4, with Saturday sessions on October 9 and October 23 from 9am to 1pm.

Update (08/11/2021): Training will be in-person unless Thurston County COVID policy changes and we need to move to virtual sessions on Zoom. The classroom will be set up for social distancing.

Due to COVID it may become necessary to have virtual classes, so all trainees must have a computer with internet access, an e-mail account, a web cam and microphone, and a Zoom account to participate. The MRC Program uses Zoom for other programming and training needs.

The cost of the training is $25.

Fall 2021 MRC Training Flier (pdf)

Master Recycler Composter Volunteer Training Pre-orientation video.  We highly encourage anyone interested in applying to the Fall 2021 MRC Volunteer Training to watch the pre-orientation video to learn about the MRC Program so you can determine if you want to apply.  Click on the link to access the pre-orientation video:


How do I apply to the Thurston County Master Recycler Composter Volunteer Training?

The application period for the Fall 2021 MRC Volunteer Training is closed.  If you would like to know about future training opportunities please subscribe to our e-newsletter.

Where can I find more information about the Thurston County Master Recycler Composter Program and who in Thurston County can I contact if I have more questions about becoming an MRC volunteer?

The Program Coordinator for the Master Recycler Composter Program in Thurston County is Cori Carlton, and she can be reached at or (360) 867-2162

Thurston County Master Recycler Composter Program website

WSU Extension programs and employment are available to all without discrimination. Evidence of noncompliance may be reported through your local WSU Extension office. Persons will disabilities who require alternative means for communication or program information or reasonable accommodation need to contact Cori Carlton at 3054 Carpenter Rd. SE, Olympia WA 98503, 360-867-2162, at least two weeks prior to the beginning of training.