Streaming Media

Publication Date


Document Type



43 minutes


Sustainability -- Oregon, Recycling -- (Waste etc.), Waste minimization


Interview of Peter Spendelow by Angie Yzaguirre in downtown Portland, Oregon on November 17th, 2009.

The interview index is available for download.


Peter Spendelow, born and raised in New York, has worked on solid waste and recycling issues for the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) since 1985. He has overseen Oregon's seven waste composition studies since 1992. He has worked on issues such as oil recycling, the Oregon Bottle Bill, and solid waste policy development. He earned his undergraduate degree from Yale, and a Doctorate in Zoology from the University of Washington. As of 2011, Peter Spendelow holds the position of Natural Resource Specialist with the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, and serves as president of Northwest VEG.


Peter Spendelow, Solid waste Analysis for the Oregon DEQ, is interviewed by Anqie Yzaguirre on November 17th 2009. Peter went to Yale and the University of Washington. He has worked with DEQW since 1985. He was involved in the political process, as he was a catalyst in helping the Portland region have the strongest waste reduction program in the nation. Sorting plastic bottles and paper is still a challenge at the waste plant, as 20 percent of the bottles end up clogging machines and end up being disposed. He is talks about the British Colombia where the state and industry is in cooperation, and the industry pays for curbside collection instead of government or the people. He believes that there are not enough incentives as of 2009 that would get companies to deal with E-waste, or other recycling and collection programs. He has seen the evolution of the Metro Waste plant, and discusses the importance of sustainable practices like recycling, and also of people to make personal choices about thinking and using less resources and energy. The ability of recycling uses much less energy than making new products from virgin material. Peter is also on the NW Veg. board, a vegetarian group in Portland. He explains how not eating meat lessens CO2 greenhouse gasses, and is an imperative of current and future generations to consume and use less.

This interview is part of “The Sustainability History Project: Documenting Sustainable Development and Practice in the Pacific Northwest” at Portland State University.


This digital access copy is made available as streaming media for personal, educational, and non-commercial use within the parameters of “fair use” as defined under U.S. Copyright law. It cannot be reproduced, distributed, or broadcasted for commercial purposes. For more information, please contact Special Collections at Portland State University Library at: or (503) 725-9883.

Persistent Identifier


Article Location