Portland Expands Compost, Cuts Garbage Collection


After testing curbside food scraps collection with 2,000 households for the past year and a half, Portland is expanding its curbside compost program citywide and – even more controversially – reducing its weekly garbage service to every other week.

Starting Oct. 31, Portland residents in single-family households and apartment buildings with four or fewer units will be able to toss all their food scraps, including meat and dairy products, into their green yard waste carts.

The green carts, which have previously been serviced every other week, will switch to a weekly pick-up schedule, while garbage carts will be collected biweekly.

READ: San Fran Compost Slashes Carbon Emissions

The city says that decreasing garbage collection makes it possible to roll out the curbside composting program without raising garbage rates for most residents.

If residents fully utilize their recycling and composting carts, they will not need more than weekly garbage collection, according to Bruce Walker, the Portland’s solid waste and recycling program manager, in an interview with Willamette Week.

The city found that residents participating in the compost pilot program reduced their household waste by 30 percent, Walker said.

READ: Will Portland’s Food Carts Ditch Disposables?

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