Portland teen on mission to recycle plastic into tiny homes

Portland teen on mission to recycle plastic into tiny homes

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A Portland teen may have come up with a way to get more people off the streets and recycle “un-recyclable” plastic at the same time.

Cleveland High School senior Charlie Abrams taught himself how to build an industrial shredder. He’s also become an amateur welder, building the steel molds he needs to make his vision a reality.

The molds are part of Charlie’s machine that turns un-recyclable plastic into plastic bricks that he wants to use to build tiny homes for the homeless.

“The plastic is fed into the shredder, turns into flakes and enters the mold,” explained Charlie. “The mold then goes to the heating chamber which is set up so we can type in the malleability point of the plastic.”

Charlie started his activism at a young age.

“After nine years of various forms of advocacy on the city, state and national level, I decided to take matters into my own hands,” he said.

In 2017 as he watched the homeless crisis grow out of control along with pollution, Charlie had the idea for the nonprofit organization Recycled Living. He built the machines to make the bricks, taking donated plastic from Portland grocery stores and businesses.

A mock-up of Charlie Abrams’ Recycled Living tiny houses. (Recycled Living)

“One of the people we work with is the Portland Traffic Supply Company,” he said. “They get shipments of poles to make traffic signs just layered in plastic.”

Charlie has won some contests to establish seed funding and while many questions remain, he’s been talking with his contacts at the city about where his vision could go.

“Now we’re at the point where we’re ready to create this community of tiny homes for people and families to live in who are experiencing homelessness,” Charlie said.

Charlie has set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for the construction of the homes.

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