Composting food scraps

The Metro Council adopted a policy that requires certain types of food service businesses in the greater Portland area to keep their food scraps separate from garbage. Due to the impact that COVID-19 is having on food service businesses, implementation of this policy is delayed.

This policy will be implemented starting in March 2022 with the businesses that generate the largest quantities of food scraps. Smaller businesses will be phased into this requirement over the following three years.

Find out how to compost food from your business. Request free assistance and you will be contacted by a food waste reduction specialist in your area.

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Composting food scraps

While there is much that can be done to prevent food waste through careful planning, purchasing, and preparation, there are always food scraps that cannot be prevented but have better uses than being tossed into the garbage.

Many food service businesses in the greater Portland area already separate their food scraps from other garbage and put them in separate containers for collection by their garbage haulers. Food scraps are taken to facilities where they can be converted into compost or energy.

To increase the amount of food waste converted to compost or energy, and reduce the amount ending up in landfills, Metro passed a business food scrap separation ordinance in 2018. Businesses that produce large amounts of food waste will be notified of this region wide mandate starting in March 2022, and local governments will begin enforcing the requirement in 2023.

You can learn how local businesses Old Spaghetti Factory and The Grapevine Cafe have set up successful composing programs that staff can easily implement and that keeps food out of the landfill and saves businesses money.

Your local government has staff that can provide you with free customizable tools, resources and support to help your business set up or improve a program to separate food scraps for compost:

If your business is not located in the greater Portland area or otherwise covered by one of the jurisdictions listed above, check out this list of communities around the state that offer composting service, or call Metro’s Recycling Information Center at 503-234-3000 Monday through Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. They can connect you with a contact in your area who can assist you with reducing food waste at your business.

If you have a truck load of food that cannot be utilized or donated it may be eligible for composting. To assess eligibility and to identify a location that may be able to accept it in the Portland metropolitan region, please call Metro's Recycling Information Center at 503-234-3000.