Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Drop-off recycling in Portland

We drove down to Portland from Seattle for a couple of days, and while we were there of course I wanted to check out the recycling/composting scene. I heard about Far West Fibers from a friend of a friend, and was really intrigued that they accept plastics that aren't recyclable curbside. So we visited the drop-off site, which is at 12820 Marx St.

It's really great they accept so many types, but then what happens to these plastics? They get baled all together and sent overseas for sorting, which seems to be the usual case with post-consumer non-electronic plastics.

Residents dropping off their recyclables.

Aseptic containers (milk cartons, juice boxes, tofu and broth toxes) also accepted.

As are electronics

and shoes of all types

Next door is Far West Fibers' processing facility

This sign at the drop-off lot ...

led us here:

Examples of what Total Reclaim does and doesn't accept currently, but they'll soon have a machine that can process the #4 (LDPE) and #5 (polypropylene) blocks in addition to the machine they already have, which processes #6 (polystyrene aka Styrofoam) blocks. They also accept #6 cups, plates, trays and clamshells -- they simply sandwich them in with the blocks.

Which leads me to my best discovery: PC Plastics founder and CEO John Gogol. His philosophy toward recycling is the gold standard as far as I'm concerned. He partnered PC Plastics' process and talents with Total Reclaim, which is expanding their Portland facility to accommodate a process that's three times the capacity of the PC Plastics' line that they acquired two years ago. All this was under John's direction. PC Plastics LLC, a new company, markets post-consumer plastics to domestic markets, and John says he's getting more and more inquiries from companies looking for domestic sources of post-consumer plastics for their new products! There may be hope yet. From PC Plastics LLC's website:

Your recycling bin brims with last-week 's newspapers, flattened cardboard, plastic bottles and jars -"recyclables" awaiting pick-up day. But, what about those foam inserts that protected your newly-purchased laptop? Where does the plastic from your old TV go? What to do about those " nonrecyclables ?"

The answers are distilling at a small NW company, committed to recycling and reuse. Portland-based PC Plastics takes those "nonrecyclables" and recycles them into new, high-quality, plastic for TV cabinets, seed trays, planting pots, computer cases, mailboxes and more.


Much of your plastic recycling today goes unaccounted for, ending up in landfills here or overseas. Or it's being burned to create energy, all the while polluting our air. And then there's that foam that's mostly found refuge in your local landfill. PC Plastics puts your waste to work. When we take it on, we guarantee it's going to good use.

You could call it the boomerang effect. You toss us your trash, but, in this case, we'll send it back in better form.

We recycle 50 tons of plastic and foam into 50 tons of new, high-quality plastic every month. That's 600 tons of plastic and foam saved from the landfills and burn piles every year. And our volumes continue to grow.

Please click on these links to learn more. Each page is worth reading.


The recycling process

Products their plastic gets made into

What they accept

1 comment:

  1. Great post! When I read your article, I really agree with you about this. I hope you will share more with us. Thank you!
    Trade Waste