Photos courtesy Recology Humboldt staff.


Recently, an Oregon resident accidentally tossed out nearly $23,000 when he decided to recycle an old shoe box. He called up his garbage company — Recology Ashland — to tell them he mistakenly recycled a Vans shoe box with the money inside. Recology Ashland sends their recycling to our sorting center on the Samoa Peninsula, and the Oregon staff called over to Humboldt to give the crew here a heads-up.


“This is a first for us,” said Brian Sollum, operations manager for Recology Humboldt County. “Never have we heard of someone throwing money away. It’s rare to be able to find it.”

Sollum told the Outpost that trash in Humboldt County gets shipped to the Dry Creek landfill near Medford, Ore. On the way back, drivers pick up loads of recycling to be sorted here at the Recology center. Once the recycling arrives at the sorting center, it is loaded onto a conveyor belt that heads to staff to be sorted by hand.

“[The money] fell out of the shoe box and it was literally a pile of cash coming up the conveyor belt,” Sollum said.

Sollum went on to say the recycling center receives calls from customers every now and then about personal items they accidentally threw out. He said many years ago the now-defunct retail chain Gottschalks — formerly located at the Bayshore Mall — threw out a $60,000 deposit that was never found. Sollum said this incident stands out because the owner will be getting his money. Sollum called it a “success story.”

“We called the Recology Ashland customer and made his day,” Sollum said. “He will be driving down this afternoon or tomorrow to retrieve his money.”

Staff counting the shoebox loot.