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Recycled Living: Solving Homelessness with Recycled Plastic

Introducing a Vessi Community Fund recipient, Recycled Living

Earlier this year, we opened up applications for our Community Fund program, seeking everyday heroes who are making positive waves in their community.

The Community Fund helps us give back to the Vessi-wearing Puddlehunters doing great things in entrepreneurship and sustainability. We can't do what we do without our community, and the Community Fund helps us give back to those who matter the most.

Introducing Recycled Living, a Portland based non-profit created by Charlie Abrams. This project provides a solution to homelessness and plastic pollution by turning plastic into homes. Recycled Living is the embodiment of innovation and sustainability that our team is so inspired by and motivated towards, and so we were thrilled to support the project with a Community Fund grant.

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

Recycled Living has reached the next stage in their development. The GoFundMe is now live in hopes of raising the funding to make this vision a reality. We're so proud to support Charlie and Recycled Living through the Vessi Community Fund program and appreciate you helping out with a donation or by sharing it with your friends.

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

Can one difficult issue solve another?

Homelessness has been a nationally recognized issue in the US since 1870. In Portland Oregon, 14,000 people live on the streets with zero support from local government. 

A recent report released by Greenpeace concluded that 5 out of 7 types of plastic are not recycled at most recycling plants.

These are two problems occurring at once all over the world... And Recycled Living found that one problem can solve the other.

Recycled Living collects unrecyclable plastic from across Portland, then processes them into bricks. These revolutionary plastic bricks are used to build tiny homes for individuals or families experiencing homelessness, culminating in an extremely low cost housing project.

Free plastic waste goes in, and a community of places to live comes out.

The homes are inexpensive and quick to build while recycling an enormous amount of plastic. 

This project shows that a real solution to homelessness exists, and it can work anywhere.

The construction of these homes would create a free place to live while also recycling thousands of pounds of plastic. The Recycled Living community in Portland is the first of many worldwide that Recycled Living hopes to construct. 

Charlie, Portland OR 

Meet Charlie, the creator of Recycled Living

Charlie is a 17 year old climate advocate and videographer. At 9 years old, Charlie began climate advocacy within policy level. Inspired by seeing the effect one person could have on a legislator, Charlie moved on to more educational forms of advocacy, like teaching climate change at schools and working to add climate science into curriculums. Both issues of homelessness and plastic pollution weighed heavily on Charlie’s mind and he realized that solutions to both could be found in the other.

Recycled Living - Homes for the homeless made with recycled plastic

What was your inspiration behind the project?

Charlie: "I first conceptualized the idea for Recycled Living in 2017. 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."

Donate to Recycled Living's GoFundMe.

Learn more about Recycled Living.

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