Business food waste requirement delayed by an additional year
Due to the ongoing effects of COVID-19 on the business community, implementation for the largest businesses will be delayed by an additional year, to March 30, 2022. The updated administrative rule is posted below. Any questions can be submitted to Jennifer Erickson 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 code language 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 one year due to the impacts of COVID-19 on the region’s residents and businesses. While further delays to the requirement may occur, businesses can still participate voluntarily.
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, business’ recycling bins 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.
Businesses can't put food in the garbage starting January 2025
Starting in 2025, food service businesses will not be allowed to put large amounts of food in the garbage. When sent to a landfill, food creates methane, which has a greenhouse gas impact at least 24 times that of carbon dioxide. Leading up to that date, Metro and local governments are helping these businesses set up collection systems to ensure that food scraps are separated for composting or used for energy production. While currently voluntary, food scraps collection will be mandatory for certain businesses beginning in March 2022.
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