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Image of Ground Score workers providing tentside waste collection at houseless camp in Portland Oregon with person filming their efforts
Ground Score Association G.L.I.T.T.E.R. Ground Score Leading Inclusively Together Through Environmental Recovery

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

Ground Score’s G.L.I.T.T.E.R. Program began in February of 2021 in partnership with the City of Portland’s Impact Reduction Program (IRP). G.L.I.T.T.E.R. was created and is implemented through a trauma-informed lens by people who are experiencing, or have recently experienced, homelessness. 

GSA currently runs about 24 tentside waste collection routes in Old Town, SW downtown, the Central Eastside, North Portland, and East Multnomah County. Collection crews go out on foot or bike and leave materials in designated locations for Ground Score's e-bike and truck crews to later collect for disposal. 

A photo of a person weighing a bag of trash as part of Ground Score Association's G.L.I.T.T.E.R. Program.
Photo of Ground Score worker in a wheelchair wearing khaki pants, a greenish gray winter coat, and a black beanie smiling and holding a white bucket containing cigarette butts Ground Score's GLITTER crews picked up off the streets. This worker is in Ground Score's warehouse in Old Town, Portland, Oregon.
Outdoor photo of two Ground Score workers with blue vests on picking up litter on a sidewalk in Portland, Oregon. The worker on the left in the foreground has a white beard and is using a grabber to pick up trash and is pulling a wagon with reusable bags. The other worker on the right is facing away from the camera and carrying a reusable bag and a grabber. There is another person behind them using a machine with a hose to spray water and clean the sidewalk. There is a brownish gray brick building on their left, and there are house-type structures, bushes, a tree, and a pedestrian, in the background.
Photo of a Ground Score worker standing in the middle of an empty street in Portland, Oregon while wearing a blue Ground Score vest and holding a broom in one hand and his dog's leash on the other hand. The dog is sitting right in front of him and is a medium-sized, short-haired black and white dog. On the left side of the image are a black and yellow picnic table and a building with multiple murals. In the background are more buildings, street lamps, lanterns, and cars in Portland's Old Town.

While much of what is discarded at camps is non-recyclable, we are working to establish a more circular economy for many of the materials, particularly metals, batteries, and textiles. Clothing waste is taken to Hygiene4All PDX for washing and redistribution, and non-reusable clothes are sent for rag-making. Textile waste is also upcycled through Ground Score’s Reuse and Repair program. 

As of December 5, 2023, G.L.I.T.T.E.R. workers have collected and diverted 3,600 pounds of textiles for redistribution through Hygine4All PDX.

Ground Score Association G.L.I.T.T.E.R. Results Since 2021
Over 1 million pounds of trash collected. 360,000 indv. or 2,400 pounds of cigarette butts.
Ground Score Association Pathway to Housing

G.L.I.T.T.E.R. has directly hired 43 members of the community, over 95% of whom were formerly or currently are houseless.

Since having started working for G.L.I.T.T.E.R., 60% of those workers have become housed.

Ground Score Association Radically Inclusive

Because of G.L.I.T.T.E.R., our team is able to provide life-saving support services, including stable income, digital equity training, CPR/first-aid training, de-escalation training, and resource navigation support—including support with re-entry into the formal workforce.

Ground Score Association Radically Inclusive

Ground Score's G.L.I.T.T.E.R. program is rooted in the idea that basic sanitation—including waste collection—is an essential service and a human right. 

Two Ground Score workers  in blue vests working a G.L.I.T.T.E.R. shift outside on a sunny day in Portland, Oregon. They are standing on opposite sides of a green trash bin with the lid open, and there are three large trash bags in front of them. To the right is a cart of litter collection and cleaning equipment.

According to a 2022 report prepared by the PSU Homelessness Research & Action Collaborative for the City of Portland and the Multnomah County Joint Office of Homeless Services, supporting agencies like Ground Score that “lift up” and hire those with lived experience of houselessness in waste management improves outcomes. The report found "improved discernment between trash and personal belongings" and "lower cost for the quality of service provided," citing the example that it cost about $219,000 less to operate a Ground Score team (Greene et al., 2022).

Photo of two Ground Score workers emptying reusable bags of trash they've picked up into a metal dumpster in Portland, Oregon on a sunny day

In March 2024, Ground Score began piloting a bagless waste collection system. In 2023, our G.L.I.T.T.E.R. teams collected 859,714.87 pounds of trash in 18,789 bags. A year of bagless waste collection would prevent about 19,000 bags from going in the landfill and contaminating the environment with toxins.

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