Talking Trash


I can’t get over the number of conversations I have with people about trash and recycling. I’m not talking about the conversations I have with my colleagues, where talking trash is our job.

For example, here are some of the questions I’ve gotten in the last few months:
-“So… why aren’t plastic bags allowed in our curbside bins?”
-“Do the numbers on the bottom of water bottles indicate the amount of times you can reuse the bottle safely?” (no, they don’t).
-“Um, can I have some of your worms?”
-“Dude, do you really jump in dumpsters for a living?”

I would like to share answers to these questions, as well as some of the in’s and out’s of the garbage/recycling world of Portland, with the ignite community.

Thank you for your time.

Meredith Sorensen

Affiliation Community Environmental Services, PSU

Meredith Sorensen has a slightly freakish interest in trash. Composting bins make her squeal with delight. A well-sorted recycling bin set at the curb? Smiles all around.

Since moving to Oregon in 2005, Meredith has embedded herself (sometimes by jumping in the dumpster) in the waste scene in Portland. Most often she can be found at PDX Airport, where she coordinates the waste minimization and recycling program for millions of passengers and thousands of employees. Meredith was recently granted a fellowship to look at waste management strategies of different countries around the world.