Business food scraps requirement begins March 2022
Many businesses within the Metro regional boundary will be required to separate food scraps from garbage by 2023. Learn more about how to comply with this requirement and get free technical assistance setting up food scraps separation, donation and prevention programs within your business.
Any questions can be submitted to Holly Stirnkorb at [email protected].
Food is the single largest portion of our garbage – enough to fill 5,000 long-haul trucks bound for landfill every year. As food decomposes in landfills, it creates methane, a powerful contributor to climate change.
For more than 15 years, Metro and local communities have taken steps to prevent food waste, keep food scraps out of landfills and put them to better use. Today, the food scraps from participating restaurants, grocery stores and other businesses across the region are converted to compost at facilities near Salem and Corvallis.
Despite these voluntary efforts, a lot more food can be kept out of landfills. In July 2018 the Metro Council adopted new language to Metro Code chapter 5.15, requiring the largest food service businesses to separate their food scraps from other garbage. Originally set to begin in March 2020, the mandatory program was delayed by two years due to the impacts of COVID-19 on the region’s residents and businesses. Updated administrative rules for the program were approved in January 2021.
View all solid waste administrative rules
Businesses excel at separating food scraps from garbage
In November 2019, Metro completed a commercial food scraps composition study to evaluate the food scraps collected from area businesses. The study showed that participating businesses are doing an excellent job of separating food scraps for collection – only 3% (by weight) and 6% (by volume) was contamination – in other words, items such as plastic that are not acceptable in the program. In comparison, the recycling bins for businesses contained a much higher rate of contamination: 14% (by weight).
The transition to a “food only” standard in 2015 helped increase the quality of materials collected and made it easier for businesses to know what goes in the bin. The high quality of the food scraps collected helps ensure that products such as compost made from them are also top notch.
Information for businesses
Learn more about the types of businesses and types of materials included in the policy and use an estimation guide to help you estimate the quantity of food scraps your business generates.
More tools for businesses