In managing the region’s solid waste system, Metro owns two full-service solid waste transfer stations: Metro Central transfer station in Northwest Portland and Metro South transfer station in Oregon City. Metro also licenses and regulates dozens of specialized waste facilities owned by private companies, including four waste transfer stations within the region.
Public and private facilities receive mixed waste collected from homes and businesses, recover some materials and consolidate the remaining garbage into large containers for delivery to landfills. Some of these private facilities also accept separated food scraps and yard debris. Metro’s two transfer stations also accept hazardous waste from households and businesses to manage and dispose of safely.
While considering the best ways to manage garbage and food scraps for the long term, Metro evaluated how the structure of the public-private transfer station system can best serve the public interest in the future. A task force of representatives from garbage collectors, transfer station operators and other waste handling facilities was created to advise Metro on how the region’s waste transfer system can better serve the public.
In July 2016, the Metro Council adopted a proposal that aims to:
- better allocate allowable amounts of garbage to be handled by publicly-owned and privately-owned transfer stations, based on a percentage of the region’s total waste
- make the transfer system more adaptable to provide new services and technologies, such as improved food scraps recovery, advanced materials recovery or waste-to-energy
- support smaller local businesses that collect garbage and operate waste facilities
- promote further reduction in greenhouse gases in the collection and transportation of garbage
- improve transparency in costs of services provided at waste transfer stations and the rates that cover those costs.