The Metro Council is considering a proposal to require certain types of food service businesses to keep their food scraps out of garbage, starting in 2020.
Review the proposed policy and public comments received
The proposed policy language is provided in two formats:
- New Metro code language to be considered by the Metro Council that sets requirements for city and county governments in the greater Portland area to ensure that food scraps from certain types of food service businesses are collected separately from garbage, on a phased-in schedule based on the quantity of food scraps generated
- Administrative rule language that would be implemented at the direction of Metro’s chief operating officer, if the Metro Council adopts the code language (The administrative rule language is being revised and will be made available for public comment in spring 2018.)
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 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 and energy at facilities near Corvallis and Eugene.
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. Later this spring, the Metro Council will consider a policy proposal aimed at keeping more food scraps from restaurants, grocery stores, and other food service businesses out of landfills and put to better use creating energy, compost and other soil amendments.
What comes next
An initial public comment period closed on Oct. 20, 2017. Metro staff prepared a public comment report, which can be downloaded from the link above, along with updates to the proposed code and administrative rule language that resulted from comments received during this period.
A public hearing on the proposed code language has been postponed until summer 2018. A second public comment period will be opened on the updated administrative rules after which they will be finalized and approved by Metro’s chief operating officer.
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.