Achieving more from food waste and improving services at the popular Metro South Transfer Station will be the focus of the Metro Council’s discussion in its work session on Tuesday, Nov. 18.
Food scraps make up the largest single item in the region's waste stream. In landfills, this food decomposes over time and creates methane, a greenhouse gas. Increasingly, however, food waste is being sent to facilities that compost it or convert the waste into electricity and alternative fuels.
In Portland, residents compost food waste with yard debris. But this is a small portion of the region's food waste stream. Much more comes from businesses and institutions such as grocery stores, restaurants, schools, hospitals and college campuses.
Most of the commercial food waste that avoids the landfill gets trucked to a facility in Lane County where it is converted into energy. On Tuesday, the Metro Council will focus on the commercial portion of the region's food waste stream.
Councilors will consider opportunities and challenges to expanding the region’s food scrap recovery efforts and direct Metro waste planners on policy considerations to explore further. The Metro Council may adopt policies next year that seek to divert more food scraps from landfills in the years ahead.
Additionally, the Metro Council will consider potential improvements to the Metro South transfer station in Oregon City. The facility, which opened in 1983, sits on nine acres near the interchange of Interstate 205 and Highway 213. It serves a variety of customers from garbage haulers collecting trash from homes and businesses, to individual homeowners and small businesses who bring recyclable materials, garbage, reusable items and hazardous waste directly to the transfer station for safe handling.
But Metro South faces some major challenges, including serving so many different types of customers with no room to expand. On Tuesday, the Metro Council will consider three options for reconfiguring the station, including moving some of its services to another location. Councilors will likely narrow some of the options for further study, and are expected to make a final decision on improvements sometime next year.
Tuesday’s work session begins at 2 p.m. in the council chamber at Metro Regional Center, located at 600 NE Grand Ave. in Portland. The meeting is open to the public, though public testimony will not be taken at the meeting.