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Recycled Living: Plastic Pollution & Homelessness

Community Fund Grant Recipient: Recycled Living

Charlie, Portland OR 

About Charlie:

Charlie is a 17 year old climate advocate and videographer. At 9 years old, Charlie began climate advocacy within policy level. He was inspired upon seeing the effect one person could have on a legislator. He moved on towards more educational forms of advocacy, particularly teaching climate change at schools and working to add climate science into curriculums. Both issues of homelessness and plastic pollution weighed on Charlie’s mind and he realized that one could alleviate the other.

Concept art of Recycled Living's Tiny Home made with recycled plastic

About Recycled Living:

Portland, Oregon has both one of the highest homeless population and amount of plastic pollution in the nation. Recycled Living uses the plastic trash in the city to create sustainable building materials used to build tiny homes for the houseless. This provides free housing in Portland while cleaning up tens of thousands of pounds of plastic.

Last year, there were 10,000 tons of plastic. So much plastic normally ends up in the landfil… but Recycled Living will take that plastic, shred it into flakes, melt and compress into solid bricks which would be used to build tiny homes.

Until now, Recycled Living was purely self-funded through Charlie’s work as a freelance videographer. Because industrial grade machines are expensive, Charlie has funded and built all of the machines himself. The Vessi Community Fund grant will go toward building the very first home and constructing the rest of the machines required to build all future homes.

Recycled Living has the opportunity to alleviate both homelessness and plastic pollution in Portland… and one day, around the world.

What was your inspiration behind the project?

Charlie: "In 2017, I first conceptualized the idea for Recycled Living. The issue of homelessness was at the front of the media's attention in Portland and no real solutions were being made. At this same time, plastic pollution was on the rise. Some interstate highways had over 9 tons of recyclable plastic. After seeing these two issues side by side, I started to wonder if one idea could be a solution for both.

However, this project remained an idea until this last year. I saw how people living without homes disproportionately felt societal issues like COVID-19, wildfire smoke, severe weather, and increased housing costs.

I realized that a solution to these two huge issues within my city needed to be implemented. We simply could not wait any longer."

What is your message to the community? 

Charlie: "I want to sincerely thank Vessi for their support of this project. We are working towards solving two of the largest issues my city faces, and soon in cities across the globe as well. Because of support like this, this innovative idea will become a reality. We are excited for the future of building this non-profit and the positive effect it will have around the world."

Learn more about Recycled Living.

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