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Curbside Composting Program Reducing Garbage

Portland’s Bureau of Planning and Sustainability has new numbers, detailing the first year of the city’s curbside composting service.

The city rolled back garbage collections to every other week for single-family homes, raised rates, and began collecting food scraps along with yard debris.

Rebecca Roberts Galloway/OPB

BPS director Susan Anderson reports the city’s garbage output has dropped by 38%. Most of the seven people who testified at Wednesday’s City Council meeting said it’s working for them.

But Portland resident Terry Parker noted a city auditor’s report suggesting a decline in satisfaction with garbage service. He also said he’d observed many Portlanders filling their blue recycling containers only halfway during the course of the week.

“Given this information, in an attempt to straighten out the fine mess you got us in, I suggest the following: the recycle bin for most households only needs to be picked up on a bi-weekly basis, thereby allowing garbage service to again be picked up on a weekly basis using the same number of trucks and drivers,” Parker told the council.

Commissioner Amanda Fritz also urged BPS to come up with exceptions for households with elderly or ailing members who might generate high volumes of trash related to their care.

Mayor Sam Adams is the architect of the food scrap recycling program.  He said he feels the Bureau is making adequate progress sending volunteer master recyclers out to help homeowners adjust to the new system.