Far West Recycling (FWR) was founded in January, 1980 by Tom Lindbloom, president of Conifer Douglas Logging in Roseburg, Oregon and Ron Frashour, former plant manager for Independent Paper Stock. The first facility of FWR was located in Beaverton. In the first month of operation, FWR sold a combined 100 tons of Old Corrugated Containers (OCC) to Willamette Industries, Albany and Old Newsprint (ONP) to Publishers Paper, in Oregon City.
In February 1982, with financial assistance from Willamette Industries, FWR purchased E-Z Recycling which was located on Swan Island in Portland, Oregon. E-Z Recycling was the recycling division of Fred Meyer.
In the spring of 1985, John Drew joined FWR as an owner/manager at the Beaverton location. John opened a brokerage division to buy and sell the trim from the box plants and materials from pulp and paper mills. In 1988 Ron Frashour sold his interest in the company to John.
The 1991 Recycling Act established curbside recycling in Oregon communities with a population of over 4,000 as the primary means of recycling household materials. This changed the emphasis of recycling from commercial and source separated with drop off depots for households, to households with source separated material collected at curbside by the local hauler. The recovery rate increased dramatically as a result of adding curbside recycling. Commercial materials were still collected, but made up a smaller portion of the total recycling stream. The state set recycling rate goals for each waste shed in 1984. FWR expanded its relationships with the franchised haulers in Washington County. FWR provided a market for the source separated materials collected by the haulers. They also provided a physical space at the FWR facility for the haulers to store and sort collected items so that they could be sold at their highest values.
The facility at Swan Island became too small for the increased volume of materials and activities at E-Z Recycling. In 1993 a new facility was located in Northeast Portland near NE 122nd. This facility was acquired with Willamette Industries financial assistance, remodeled to meet the needs of FWR, and occupied by September 1993. With the expansion at E-Z, the brokerage division moved from Beaverton to Portland. This allowed additional staff to help increase their business. By the end of 1994 the plants and Sales and Marketing divisions were functioning as equal partners and contributing to the success of FWR.
In 1994 in partnership with Willamette Industries, John Drew purchased Spokane Recycling Products (SRP) and Waste Paper Services. Spokane Recycling became a partner of FWR. These companies provide employment to 40 people and recycling opportunities to the eastern portion of Washington and western Idaho. SRP was sold in September 2011.
In 1995 two new relationships emerged, Neighborhood Recycling in Portland and Business Services Hawaii in Hilo, Hawaii. FWR partnered with Margaret and Shon Pahio of Business Services Hawaii to finance recycling equipment and a building so that they could offer recycling opportunities on the Big Island of Hawaii. Neighborhood Recycling became a part of the FWR family in October 1995, when one of the oldest recycling facilities in Portland was in danger of closing their doors. After years at its historical location at Fred Meyer’s headquarters complex, Neighborhood Recycling relocated in 1997 to SE 28th and again in 2007 to SE 17th and now full cirle to it's current location at SE 26th avenue just a few blocks away from the Fred Meyer complex. Recycling operations closed at SE 26th in March 2019.
In 1999 FWR expanded to Northern California with the addition to the Sales and Marketing Division of our Southwest Brokerage Manager. Also in 1999 the Beaverton operation relocated to a new facility in Hillsboro to better serve Washington County haulers. The original Beaverton location remained as a transload facility for haulers and a drop off recycling depot for Beaverton area residents. The Beaverton location closed in 2017.
Over the years, John Drew has shared his ownership of the company with key management and in 2005, John passed the reigns of the company to President & CEO, Keith Ristau. In 2021 Keith Ristau retired and our former Chief Financial Officer, Mike McCracken, became our current President & CEO. John continues in his role as Chairman of the Board and works with our three other board members.
Today there are a total of three FWR facilities in the Portland Metro area. Four managers own FWR. FWR facilities currently process approximately 150,000 tons of recyclables annually. In addition, FWR Sales and Marketing Brokerage department buys and sells over 15,000 tons of recyclables annually. They continue to invest and grow in the future of recycling. With new modern plants in Hillsboro, Portland and Tualatin, FWR is able to offer processing and marketing for recyclables to most of the residents and businesses in the state of Oregon. All the facilities in Oregon combined employ 150 people.