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Compost – what goes in the bin

Whether you can compost – and what goes in the compost bin – varies depending on where you live or work.

On this page

At home

NOTE: Apartments or condos may not have compost service. Ask your property manager if you have compost service. Property managers: learn how to add compost service.

A 2d graphic showing what can be put in the green bin

YES!

All food: Meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, bones, eggs and eggshells, cheese, dairy, bread, baked goods, pasta, rice, beans, nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruit, peels and pits.

Raw or cooked food, table scraps, plate scrapings, leftovers, and spoiled food are all okay.

Other: Coffee filters, tea bags, paper napkins, paper towels and pizza delivery boxes (remove any plastic or wax paper).

NO!

These items do not belong in your home compost:

  • NO waxed paper, parchment paper or facial tissue.
  • NO coffee cups, paper plates, take-out food containers or wrappers, drink cups, straws, or utensils. (Even if they’re labeled “compostable”).
  • NO “compostable” containers or other items labeled "compostable," "biodegradable," or "made from plants.” No non-approved compostable plastic bags.
A 2d graphic showing that yard debris can go in the green bin

YES!

Yard debris: Weeds, leaves, vines, grass, small branches, flowers, house plants, plant clippings, fallen tree fruit, pumpkins.

NO!

These items do not belong in your home compost:

  • NO pet waste, animal bedding (including straw and chicken manure), animal carcasses from hunting and fishing waste.
  • NO fireplace ashes, dirt, rocks, sod, lumber, treated wood, sawdust, stumps, or large branches (more than 4 inches thick or 36 inches long).

At work

Businesses may add compost collection to their garbage service.

A 2d graphic showing what types of food scraps can be composted for businesses

YES!

All food: Meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, bones, eggs and eggshells, cheese, dairy, bread, baked goods, pasta, rice, beans, nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruit, peels and pits.

Raw or cooked food, plate scrapings, leftovers, and spoiled food are all OK.

Other: Paper coffee filters and tea bags and BPI-certified compostable bags are the only non-food items allowed in business compost.

NO!

These items do not belong in your work compost:

  • NO waxed cardboard, pizza boxes, plastic-coated cardboard. Cups, to-go boxes or other packaging labeled "compostable," "biodegradable," or "made from plants.”
  • NO paper products: This includes paper towels and napkins, parchment paper, paper plates, coffee cups, plastic-lined papers, to-go boxes. 
  • NO flowers, tree trimmings, leaves, grass, branches. Raw, painted, or treated wood; stumps, branches; pallets. Businesses can request yard debris pick-up from their garbage and recycling company.
  • NO beverage stir sticks (wood or plastic), toothpicks, plastic garbage bags, plastic wrap/film, metal, glass.
  • NO liquids, grease, or cooking oil. Businesses can set up collection of used cooking oil and/or animal rendering from independent processors. Find companies through Metro’s Find a Recycler or call 503-234-3000.

Not sure if it can go in compost?

Contact us at 503-823-7202 or wasteinfo@portlandoregon.gov.

Printable guides

Print a residential recycling guide

Print a business recycling guide