Writing. Photography. Video. The home of Jesuit High School student journalism.

Jesuit Chronicle

Writing. Photography. Video. The home of Jesuit High School student journalism.

Jesuit Chronicle

Writing. Photography. Video. The home of Jesuit High School student journalism.

Jesuit Chronicle

Green Team and James Recycling events support sustainability efforts

Al Kato
James, his mom, and a jesuit green team volunteer

Last year, James Recycling, a Beaverton local company, reached out to Jesuit about collaborating on a recycling event. Made possible by Green Team led by Jennifer Kuenz, the event was a huge success and the hope is for a similar event in the future.

James and his mom recycle plastics that aren’t taken in typical recycling bins. They began out of their home, using his mom’s SUV, sorting plastics and grinding them to be appropriately recycled.

James, now 25, has always had a passion for protecting the planet. At the age of four he was diagnosed with asperger’s syndrome, a form of high functioning Autism. He started his business with his mom at the age of 18 and has been working in the community since, including one previous event at Jesuit.

“I like collecting stuff by people dropping off things they’d throw away. I’m saving the planet and earning money,” James said in an interview with KGW news.

The mother-son duo has expanded to be able to process more. Now, using a van, they can take more customers in Portland. They still operate primarily in the Bridlemile neighborhood, but host events throughout the greater Portland area where customers can drop off their sorted plastics.

Jesuit previously hosted a very successful James Recycling for an earth day event, coordinated by Kuenz. Kuenz and Jesuit’s green team hope to continue their collaboration with James in the future.

“Around this time last year, they reached out wondering if we could host an event,” recalled Kuenz.

After much preparation and planning, the event was set for Saturday, April 22nd, 2023, at Jesuit High School. James and his mom arrived early with their van and began to set up all of their tents with help from company and Jesuit student volunteers.

“They have a pretty core group of volunteers and staff who work every event; they are incredibly knowledgeable about what [plastics] can and can’t be taken,” Kuenz said.

In addition to those helping set up the event itself were additional staff and companies that collaborated with James for the event. One of James’ friends DJ’ed the event, and other companies had tents with related green initiatives and products.

By the end of the event, hundreds of people had come by to drop off sorted bags at the various tents, and the sheer volume of waste collected was terrific. There were many large bags filled with only straws or bottle caps that would later be ground and recycled by James.

“My hope is that we can do it again, kind of on that same weekend; it’s a great way to connect to the community, and [James and his mom] loved being so close to us,” Kuenz said. “It’s [beneficial for] the community in many ways; we are able to provide the venue and some volunteers and create a really successful event.”

Before attending a James Recycling event, families should pre-sort their recyclables based on the number inscribed on them. A full guide can be found on the James Recycling website outlining what they can take and how to sort it.

For Jesuit families specifically, there are many ways to participate in green initiatives, and attending an event or using his pickup service is a great way to support the local community and properly recycle those difficult-to-dispose materials.

“My biggest goal for Jesuit families, I think largely, is awareness. There are kind of two ideas. [James Recycling] is an awesome service for those hard-to-recycle items, but the best thing to do is reduce, don’t use plastic straws, and don’t use plastic silverware. Some of it, too, is knowing in your local community where else you can recycle things; for example, New Seasons takes a couple of number 1 plastics, and Jesuit’s Green Team has bins for candy wrappers,” Kuenz explained.

Jesuit’s Green Team has many different on-campus programs that are accessible to all Jesuit families. So whether it’s going to a James Event, using the pickup service, or recycling with one of Jesuit’s drop-off areas for toothbrushes, candy wrappers, and more, there are many areas to properly dispose of plastics.

On Saturday, November 18, James hosted another event inside the Lloyd Center Mall and more future events can be found posted in the calendar on their website. Additionally, Jesuit will hopefully host another event later this year, ideally around Earth Day. The website additionally contains information about their pickup services, how to sort for events, and a sign-up for email notifications about future events.

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About the Contributor
Kiley Feller, Editor-in-Chief
Being born and raised in Oregon, Kiley Feller spends a majority of her free time out in nature. She loves the mountains where she skis every winter with her family and friends, the Oregon coast that she frequents with beach days and surf trips, and the many forests and lakes for hiking and swimming. She is interested in writing about the beautiful state that she lives in and how we can protect it. She is passionate about climate change and environmental conservation and wants to explore and write about Jesuit’s part in that. She also enjoys videography and interviewing and getting to know people from Jesuit. If not exploring Oregon, Kiley loves spending time with her friends. She additionally runs track for Jesuit and is looking forward to the next spring season.