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Leaven No Trace

A tire hangs on a log in front of part of the ‘Leaven No Trace’ sign along U.S. Highway 101.

COOS COUNTY — “Leaven No Trace” creator Raymond Block is expanding his efforts to clean up the county. Now he hopes to get the public to recycle, even if it means bringing their trash to him.

“I'm asking for number 2 plastics to start out,” Block said. “The drop off point is on Walker Road in Charleston for now.”

Block is going to grind the plastics up and ship them out in truck loads. Since he pulled 85 tons of material out of the forest, 50 percent of which were plastics, he has looked for a way to safely get rid of them. He now has buyers for the plastic in California, Idaho and throughout Oregon, and as he sells the loads he said he will save part of the money to donate later to schools.

“The problem with recycling, and why most aren't successful, is the labor costs to separate the plastics,” Block said. “I hope to employ a couple people, and later move on to aluminum, other plastics, and glass. I will keep it a non-profit owned, but community run organization.”

He said part of why people have spent years dumping their trash throughout the county is because of the high prices to take that trash to the dump.

“I hope this will benefit everyone and that sanitation will be a free thing,” he said.

When Block moved to Coos Bay, he drove around and was astounded by the amount of trash he saw. He picked it up here and there, but when he made a purpose to start cleaning the place up he found thousands or tons on every hill he walked.

“That's when I saw how catastrophic it was,” he said. “The third place I ever went to, to clean up, made me cry because I found 50 gallon bags of diapers. There were 14 tons from that one site of trash.”

When he realized there were no programs to help clean up, he decided to step up.

“I will spend the rest of my life doing this,” he said.

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Reporter Jillian Ward can be reached at 541-269-1222, ext. 235, or by email at jillian.ward@theworldlink.com. Follow her on Twitter: @JE_Wardwriter.

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