AOR Board Members Take to the Streets with Fox News to Tackle Recycling Mistakes

2 May 2019


Oregon may have a great reputation for recycling, but that doesn’t mean everyone is doing it right.

Numbers show an average of 25 percent of recycling in the United States is garbage, according to the National Waste & Recycling Association.

In the Portland metro, about 9 percent of what’s in a homeowner’s recycling bin is usually trash, according to Metro.

The FOX 12 investigators, along with some recycling experts, decided to visit a Beaverton neighborhood to ask homeowners if they could take a look inside their blue bins.

The first homeowner passed with flying colors.

“We don’t see anything in there that looks like it shouldn’t be,” said Kristin Leichner, President of Pride Disposal.

The homeowner also took the opportunity to ask questions.

“You know, the milk things,” said the homeowner, Sue. “I’m always confused about so this is okay?”

“You take the lid off which you’ve done,” replied Leichner. “But the plastic part, the lid screws onto stays on.”

However, Sue is a recycling golden child some would say.

As the experts kept going, they soon found recycling violators.

“The main thing, yep, the to-go cup,” said Leichner.

“These are garbage,” added Alex Bertolucci, Recycling Specialist with Washington County. “Although they have plastic and it has the little symbol on them, these would go in the trash, and they need to be washed out if it was recyclable.”

The experts also found a paper towel and some recycling film in the same bin.

“Both of those would be garbage as well,” said Bertolucci. “Although it’s paper, it’s not recyclable.”

As the experts moved on, even more violators.

“We have a few contaminants,” said Bertolucci.

“It is a plastic bottle, which is allowed, but plastic bottles that have held things like anti-freeze or pesticides or hazardous materials, can’t be recycled, because of what used to be contained inside of them,” continued Leichner. “So this would need to go in the garbage as well.”