Land | Ecotrope

Portland Garbage Drops 38 Percent With Curbside Composting

Ecotrope | Dec. 4, 2012 3:52 a.m. | Updated: Feb. 19, 2013 1:28 p.m.

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Curbside collection data show a 38 percent drop in the amount of garbage households are sending to landfills.

Curbside collection data show a 38 percent drop in the amount of garbage households are sending to landfills.

The Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability has compiled curbside collection data for the past year and found households are producing 38 percent less garbage than they were before the city’s curbside composting program started.

Last October, the city doled out containers for food scraps and encouraged people to put their food waste in their yard debris bins. Meanwhile, it reduced garbage pickups from weekly to every other week.

How did that change the composition of people’s curbside waste?

Collection data show the amount of waste in the green yard debris bins has nearly tripled as 78 percent of Portland households added food scraps to the mix.

Portlanders also recycled a lot of their waste – they recycled 85 percent of the recyclable materials in their blue roll carts.

More details from the report:

  • 9 out of 10 composting roll cards contain food scraps, according to a field study conducted earlier this year.

  • 66 percent of people who responded to a survey said they felt “good” or “very good” about their garbage and recycling service.
  • 14 Percent said they felt “bad” or “very bad.”
  • In September, the number of customers who have larger garbage cans had increased by 2 percent from the previous year.
  • The number of households with smaller cans or once-a-month service was also up 2 percent compared with September 2011.
  • 3,000 households out of 143,000 customers have been notified for putting garbage in their recycling bins.
  • Early estimates suggest curbside composting has increased Portland’s waste recovery rate (the amount of waste that is diverted from landfills) from 51 percent in 2010 to 70 percent in 2012. The city’s long-term goals include recovering 75 percent of its waste by 2015 and 90 percent by 2030.

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