Business food waste program implementation delayed
Metro has delayed implementation of the Business Food Waste Requirement by one year (to March 31, 2021) due to the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 on our community. 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.
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