Plastics recyclers gather refuse, friends

by: David F. Ashton, “Bag man” and Sellwood resident Bill Steimer went some distance to help out the Plastics Round-up at Floyd Light Middle School in Hazelwood.

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 at this outer East Portland event late last year.

'We moved to Portland a couple of years ago,' Steimer said, as we introduced ourselves. 'These recycling events are a good way to meet a lot of nice people while we help the environment.'

Steimer told us he grew up in the Midwest, and spent 30 years as an attorney in Charlotte, North Carolina.

'We rented a house, our first year here, to make sure we could spend a winter in Portland, and found we could,' commented Steimer has he hauled 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.'

We checked 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,' explained Herald. 'For the most part, plastics are recyclable. At most other locations, folks are only allowed to 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 added. '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.