Portland, OR

What are those little white boxes popping up on porches all over Portland?

Rose Bak

New service aims to help recycle items that can't go in the blue bins.

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Photo courtesy of Ridwell

Have you seen strange little white boxes on porches in your neighborhood?

My dog was eating grass when I noticed a white box on someone's porch, emblazoned with the name "Ridwell". As we continued walking, I noticed that there were several of these Ridwell boxes on porches all over my neighborhood so I decided to do some research. I figured they were a delivery service like Alpenrose, but it turns out that Ridwell is something totally new: a recycling pick-up service.

Ridwell offers Portlanders the opportunity to easily recycle things that can't go in the blue recycling bins for your regular trash pick-ups. And you don't even need to push it out to your curb. Ridwell picks items up right from your front door.

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Photo courtesy of Ridwell

Ridwell started in Seattle. Founder Ryan Metzger was looking for a place to properly recycle batteries. After finding a place that would take them, he and his son gathered up their batteries and, being a nice neighbor, offered to take some items for their neighbors. Soon Metzger was operating what he called a "recycling carpool" for friends and neighbors across the city. Recognizing an untapped business opportunity, Metzger started Ridwell in 2018.

The company has three main goals:

  1. Make it simple to get rid of your stuff responsibly. We pick up your stuff at your front door and we make sure it gets sustainably reused or recycled. You know your stuff stays out of the landfill.
  2. Develop and discover new options for old things. We invest in new recycling partners and processes to promote waste diversion. We seek out new reuse partners to find homes for things that still have value.
  3. Support responsible consumption by helping companies close the loop. We help consumers find companies that commit to sustainability. We make it viable for companies to reuse their packaging and product materials by picking up from consumers and delivering back to their warehouses.

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Photo courtesy of Ridwell

Earlier this year, the company expanded into the Portland market and they have already signed up thousands of residents who are looking for a way to safely dispose of hard to recycle items. You receive a Ridwell bin and labeled canvas bags you can use to separate items for pick-up. You leave them on your porch and the Ridwell team picks them up once every two weeks.

Ridwell has a long list of items they can help you recycle. Common items include clamshell containers, those blue Amazon envelopes, batteries, lightbulbs, fabric, styrofoam, fluorescent lights, and plastic bags. They also have periodic and seasonal rotations of what they will accept. Examples include underwires from bras, Christmas lights, and wine corks.

In an effort to give back, Ridwell has a rotating list of items they will collect and deliver to one of their partner nonprofits. Current local partners include the PDX Diaper Bank, the Children's Book Bank, and WashCo Bikes.

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Photo courtesy of Ridwell

The company says that it has diverted more than one million pounds of waste from landfills since the company started. They work with local recyclers who are committed to "sustainably reuse and recycle" items they receive from Ridwell.

Ridwell offers services throughout the Portland metro area including the suburbs. Pricing for the basic service ranges from $12-16 a month, with discounts for pre-paying. Additional items can be picked up for an extra fee.

For more information on how you can recycle more of your trash, check out the Ridwell webpage here.

#portland #multnomah #oregon #green #recycling

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Rose Bak is a freelance writer who lives in Portland, Oregon with her family and special needs dogs. She writes on a variety of topics including local news, homelessness, poverty, relationships, yoga, and aging. She is also a published author of romantic fiction. For more of Rose's work, visit her website at rosebakenterprises.com or follow her on social media @AuthorRoseBak.

Portland, OR
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