The elected Metro Council voted on July 26 to require larger entities to separate out their food waste, which then will be trucked to a processing facility to be converted into energy. Businesses and educational institutions with sizable food operations have until Sept. 28 to respond to proposed regulations to phase in mandatory recycling of food scraps in the Portland area. Covered facilities are those that “cook, assemble, process, serve, or sell food or do so as service providers for other enterprises,” according to the draft regulations.
The policy will apply to cafeterias, caterers, colleges and universities, correctional facilities, bars, elementary and secondary schools, food product manufacturers, food service contractors, restaurants, grocery stores, grocery wholesalers, hospitals, hotels, nursing and residential care facilities, retirement and assisted living facilities, specialty food markets and warehouse clubs. Local governments under Metro’s authority must adopt requirements for solid waste haulers to participate in the program by July 31, 2019.
Then the mandatory food scraps recycling will begin in phases:
• Businesses that generate more than 1,000 pounds per week of food waste must begin source separating and recycling the waste between March 31, 2020 and March 31, 2021.
• Businesses that generate 500 to 1,000 pounds per week of food waste must begin source separating and recycling the waste between March 31, 2021 and September 30, 2022.
• Businesses that generate 250 to 500 pounds per week of food waste must begin source separating and recycling the waste between September 30, 2022 and September 30, 2023.
The draft regulation provides some exemptions: “Food waste does not include liquids or large amounts of oils and meats which are collected for rendering, fuel production or other non-disposal applications, or any food fit for human consumption that has been set aside, stored properly and is accepted for donation by a charitable organization and any food collected to feed animals in compliance with applicable regulations.” Local governments that only have five or fewer covered businesses within their boundaries also are exempted.