By Wednesday, July 31, all cities within the Portland metro area are required to adopt ordinances that will require any business that generates more than 250 pounds of food waste to process the scraps separate from other waste. While the ordinances must be in place by the end of July, the food waste recycling program won’t begin until March 2020.
Fairview Public Works Director Allan Berry updated the City Council on Wednesday, June 19, about how the city is moving forward with its program. “The reason they did this is because food’s the single largest portion of metro waste, and a major contributor to the methane gas in the air pollution,” Berry said. “Basically, more than half the food disposed in the greater Portland area comes from businesses.” The new requirements will only apply to food waste generated in an establishment’s kitchen, and scraps tossed by customers are not subject to the restrictions.
Neighboring city Wood Village first discussed a food waste recycling program on Thursday, April 25. Many establishments in the 1 square-mile city were ahead of the curve because the municipality began a voluntary food waste disposal program in 2011. Wood Village voted on the code requirements on Thursday, June 27. Results of that vote were not available by The Outlook’s press deadline. The Metro requirement only makes businesses separate food waste from garbage and does not yet establish a way to compost the food waste.
Metro is negotiating with its waste management providers, and if the regional government entity can strike a deal, food scraps will be converted into electricity by an anaerobic digester at the Portland Bureau of Environmental Services’ Columbia Boulevard Wastewater Treatment Facility, Metro’s website indicates.
The food-waste program will organize businesses into three categories depending on the amount of food waste the organization generates. Before Fairview’s next council meeting on Wednesday, July 17, city staff will be organizing each business into those three categories.