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Ground Score Association is a peer-led initiative of Trash for Peace

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Ground Score is an association of informal recyclers, dumpster divers and other environmental workers who create and fill low-barrier waste management jobs.  Ground Score is collectively-organized and seeks to be radically inclusive, prioritizing work opportunities for those facing work and housing insecurity.  Ground Score seeks to build a more environmentally and socially aware community, while also changing society’s perceptions of what and who is considered valuable. 

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How We

Ground Score Association is a ‘peer-led’ initiative, organized and led by and for workers who identify as canners, scrappers, dumpster divers, waste pickers, and/or ground scorers. Ground Score holds monthly organizing meetings to facilitate training, develop policies collectively and foster the democratic growth of the association. An elected Labor Council helps to resolve disputes and develop new policy proposals. 

Workers are selected by coordinators for jobs based on a combination of factors that have been voted on by those who attend monthly organizing meetings. Workers who attend meetings and have demonstrated a good ability to organize workers may transition into Coordinator or Lead Worker roles to manage workers during job opportunities and help facilitate organizing meetings. 

Ground Score workers are paid a minimum $20/hour and that is constantly being evaluated to ensure a living wage is being provided.

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Advocacy and Research

Ground Score engages in advocacy and research to raise awareness about the realities and contributions of informal recycling (like canning, dumpster diving, and other forms of waste picking).  This work has influenced policy and practice in our waste system, including the unlocking of public trash cans, the appointment of Ground Score workers on Oregon's Bottle Bill work group, and a change to Portland city code that legalizes canning.  

peoples depot

The People’s Depot (TPD) is an independent bottle redemption service run by and for canners (informal can and bottle collectors). The depot was born out of the COVID-19 pandemic when access to bottle redemption became limited and people were in critical need of income. The People’s Depot currently generates regular work for 15 people, who sort and count cans and bottles Monday-Saturday at two locations in Portland, and serves hundreds of canners a week.


The People's Depot

People's Depot in 2021

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Ground Score’s G.L.I.T.T.E.R provides litter collection and tentside waste collection services for houseless camps across the Portland Metro Region. The program name was sourced by workers, and stands for Ground Score Leading Inclusively Together Through Environmental Recovery. 


10,000 +

pounds of trash collected each week

$12,000 +  

distributed to the most vulnerable workers of our community each week

50% +

of cans and bottles that come through People’s Depot diverted from landfills

70 +

jobs are provided to workers of the houseless community each week

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Our Impact 

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We can always use socks and clean rain gear for our workers.

In addition, $20 pays one Ground Score worker for an hour of work.

Contribute today

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