Comment on implementation delay
On March 20, 2020 Metro temporarily delayed implementation of the Business Food Waste Requirement for 6 months in order to assess the effects of COVID-19 and to allow time make a permanent decision about the program. Given the breadth of impacts of the pandemic Metro has chosen to further delay implementation and is in the process of amending Administrative Rules to reflect this change.
Metro is seeking comments and feedback in relation to the implementation date change and resulting proposed changes to the Administrative Rules.
The public comment period begins on Friday, July 31, 2020 and closes at 5:00 pm on Monday, Aug. 31, 2020. Comments and questions can be submitted via mail to the Metro Regional Center or email to Jennifer Erickson at [email protected].
Metro will host a virtual public hearing Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020 from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. to accept in-person comments.
Food is the single largest portion of the garbage greater Portland throws away every year. Nearly a fifth of the garbage the region currently sends to landfills is food waste – that's enough to fill 5,000 long-haul trucks. As food decomposes in landfills, it creates methane, a powerful contributor to climate change.
For more than 10 years, Metro and local communities have taken steps to keep food scraps out of landfills and put them to better use. In 2004 a program began to voluntarily collect food scraps from some businesses. 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 2016, the Metro Council directed staff to investigate ways to do that. In fall 2017, Metro sought public comment on an initial policy proposal to keep more food scraps from restaurants, grocery stores, and other food service businesses out of landfills and put to better use creating energy, compost or other valuable products.
The comments Metro received, along with guidance from the Metro Council, informed updates to the proposed Metro code language. In July 2018, the Metro Council adopted new code language requiring the largest food service businesses to separate their food scraps from other garbage starting in 2020, and smaller food service businesses will be phased into the policy over the following three years. In October 2018, Metro's chief operating officer signed administrative rules that set requirements for local governments to enforce the collection of food scraps separate from garbage.
Metro Council sets January 2025 effective date for disposal ban
On Jan. 23, 2020, Metro Council adopted Resolution 20-5067 which sets an effective date of January 2025 for the business food waste disposal ban. Resolution 20-5067 is an update to the original disposal ban (Resolution 18-4864) which did not contain an effective date. Resolution 20-5067 provides both a clear effective date and the time needed for thorough public engagement as the policy and program are developed over the next few years.
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