Plastics recyclers gather refuse, and gather new friends

If you haven’t participated in a “Plastics Round-up”, see why this volunteer activity is important for the environment – and also a great place to meet environmentally-concerned folks …

Bag man” and Sellwood resident Bill Steimer helps out the Plastics Round-up at Floyd Light Middle School in Hazelwood.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Several times a year, Portland Master Recyclers hold “Plastics Round-ups” throughout the community.

At the Round-up at Floyd Light Middle School in Hazelwood, we were surprised and pleased to meet Bill Steimer, a Sellwood resident, helping out this outer East Portland event a couple of weeks ago.

“We moved to Portland a two of years ago,” Steimer says as we introduce ourselves. “These recycling events are a good way to meet a lot of nice people while we help the environment.”

Steimer tells us he grew up in the Midwest, and spent 30 years as an attorney in Charlotte, NC.

“We rented a house, our first year, to make sure we could spend a winter here, and found we could,” comments Steimer has he hauls another full bag of plastics to the pick-up point. “We bought a house in Sellwood; it’s a great community. Portland is so far ahead of the rest of the country when it comes to recycling. It is really fun to be a part of it.”

Master Recyclers, and Plastics Round-up coordinators Vanessa Herald and Dion Glisan help Harlan and Keigh Thomajan from Mt. Tabor.

Keeps plastics out of the dumps
We check in with the event co-coordinators, Portland Master Recyclers volunteers Vanessa Herald and Dion Glisan.

“We do this because we don’t want people to throw away plastics,” explains Herald. “For the most part, plastics are recyclable. At most locations, folks can only recycle bottles with necks on them. But here, we collect plastics labeled #1 through #7, and plastic bags. We also recycle large plastic items like laundry baskets and old play equipment.”

The Plastics Round-up is a good way to reduce waste in the landfills, Glison adds. “Our landfills are filling up, and plastics don’t break down – even after hundreds of years. It’s great to give plastic items a second life as a new product.”

Don’t miss out on the fun! Go to to learn more about this great group of environmental-conscious volunteers.

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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