Two Years In, Lessons from Portland’s Composting Program

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Portland’s food scraps program collected 85,000 tons of organic waste in its first year.

Portland’s food scraps program collected 85,000 tons of organic waste in its first year. Photo courtesy of Waste360.com.

After piloting curbside food scraps collection with 2,000 households, Portland rolled out its citywide composting program in late 2011 and made the controversial choice to shrink weekly garbage pickups to every other week.

Some were skeptical of the city’s bold move, but an update released last year indicated the new scheme was paying dividends. So, how is curbside food scraps collection working out in Portland today, and what do the results mean for other cities that may be debating a similar switch?

Earth911 sat down with Michael Armstrong, sustainability manager for the city of Portland, who broke down all the numbers and gave us an inside look at the city’s composting story.

Next page: How it started

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Mary Mazzoni

Mary Mazzoni

Mary is a lifelong vegetarian and enjoys outdoor activities like hiking, biking and relaxing in the park. When she’s not outside, she’s probably watching baseball. She is a former assistant editor for Earth911.
Mary Mazzoni