Portland man helps neighbors get rid of hard-to-recycle items
PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - A Portland man is making it easier for people to get rid of hard-to-recycle items by collecting it from his neighbors’ front doors.
James Harris may only be 24, but he’s already operating his own business.
“When I was younger, I used to like to dig things out of the trash that could be recycled and recycle them and my mom thought, well, I could do this for others too,” said James.
From there, James Recycling was born.
He picks up hard-to-recycle items, like Styrofoam, certain plastics and electronics.
It started with mostly people in his southwest Portland neighborhood and then expanded.
“We went from like a few neighbors to over 400 customers,” said James.
“Well, like he said, it was based on his interest and just kind of a hobby at first, like around the neighborhood,” said James’s mom, Kathi Goldman. “But as it grew, I realized it could be a job for him, and there isn’t a lot out there for people who have diverse abilities.”
James is on the autism spectrum.
“It’s been great for him because he has something to do,” said Goldman. “He has a job.”
“Also, he on his rounds, talks to all the neighbors and knows everybody,” continued Goldman. “So, just this social growth has been really amazing to see.”
Goldman said his customers also get to interact with him.
“Everybody knows him now and they accept him, and they get to meet somebody who’s on the spectrum and they realize that, you know, a person can just talk to him,” said Goldman.
His mom said James recycling is growing, not just in customers but employees.
“We have a partnership with Exceed Enterprises,” said Goldman. “They’re a local nonprofit and they specialize in finding adults, finding employment for adults with different abilities and vocational training.”
“So with them, with a partnership with them, we’re going to expand and offer other people, like James, opportunities,” she continued.
And opportunities are what James is also giving his neighbors with his business.
“To save the planet, like help with the climate,” said James.
James brings all the items he collects to Denton Plastics in town, which normally only works with industrial materials. But his mom said they heard his story and made an exception.
James also hosts events, where people can bring recycling to him once a month.
For more information on James Recycling, click here.
Copyright 2022 KPTV-KPDX. All rights reserved.