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Business recycling requirements

Businesses in Portland are required to recycle paper, metal cans, plastic bottles, and glass bottles/jars.

For more information, view the Business Solid Waste, Recycling, and Composting Administrative Rules.

How to comply

A business will be considered in compliance by collecting recycling (paper, metal cans, plastic bottles and glass bottles/jars) separate from the garbage and into the appropriate recycling container.

Your garbage and recycling company will tell you the cost, supply you with external service containers, and will help you troubleshoot space constraints. Several haulers doing business in the City can also assist you by providing staff training.

Learn more about setting up garbage service for businesses.

If your property manager provides you with garbage service, they are also required to provide you with the opportunity to recycle and compost.

Contact us to get posters, stickers, staff training, or other assistance. 

Consequences for not recycling

If the City of Portland receives a complaint that your workplace is not recycling, the complaint will be investigated. If found out of compliance, the business will be expected to come into compliance within 30 days.

If compliance is not achieved within 30 days, fines will be issued. Fines are $200 per month for the first infraction. Subsequent infractions will increase by $200 each month, i.e., second infraction will be $400, third infraction will be $600 and continues at that level until the infraction is resolved.

Tips for making space for recycling

  • Eliminate any unnecessary containers taking up space, such as containers that are rarely used or that can be consolidated.
  • Reduce your garbage service levels to make space for recycling containers. It would be important to accurately assess the amount of waste you will be able to divert from your garbage to your recycling so that your service levels are “right-sized” to your volume of waste.
  • Ask your suppliers to reduce or eliminate packaging when shipping supplies to you.
  • Share service with neighbors. This works well if multiple participants are using the same limited space.
  • Share or rent additional space from a neighbor or a neighboring parking lot. If there is not an existing enclosure for the containers, keep in mind there are City regulations:
    • City of Portland Neighborhood Inspections (503-823-7034) provides information and assistance for getting containers off the sidewalk or street.
    • City of Portland Permitting Services (503-823-7357) provides information about permitting and other regulations affecting the construction of interior or exterior storage areas.
  • Switch to smaller containers and establish more frequent collection.
  • Request that your garbage and recycling company build custom containers for your space.