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Recycle Right at Work

Information
Rights, responsibilities, and resources for Portland businesses around garbage, recycling, compost, and waste prevention.
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Know your rights

Does your Property Manager provide garbage service?

If your property manager provides garbage service, they are required to also provide access to adequate service levels of recycling (metals, paper, plastic bottles and tubs, and glass) and, for food business tenants, compost service.

If your property manager provides janitorial services that empty your internal garbage containers, they must also empty internal recycling containers. Recycling must be as convenient as garbage.

Find detailed Property Manager Requirements in the City of Portland Administrative Rules, Business Solid Waste, Recycling and Composting, 5.2, B4.

Do you manage your own garbage service?

You can choose your garbage and recycling company. Portland businesses can set up garbage, recycling, and compost service from any of these permitted companies. (This is different from residential service, where garbage companies are assigned.)

You can negotiate cost and service levels. The City does not set rates for commercial service. Cost, number and size of containers, frequency of service, and days and time of collection are all negotiable. Get multiple bids and ask other businesses for recommendations.

Contracts are not required. The City does not require businesses to enter into a contract with a garbage and recycling company. If you choose to sign a contract for service, read the details; it may be difficult to change your levels or cost of service during the duration of your contract.

All garbage companies must offer recycling and compost. All garbage companies are required to provide recycling service with garbage service. Compost service is available to all businesses but required for some in the food industry.

Containers are provided by your garbage company. Roll carts, dumpsters, or other external containers for garbage, recycling, and compost collection will be provided by your garbage and recycling company. They are required to label all external containers with stickers that clearly identify the items that can go inside. Contact your garbage and recycling company if you would like additional stickers.

Get tips for setting up garbage and recycling service

Resources 

The City of Portland offers free resources, tips, and assistance to help businesses recycle, compost, and reduce waste. 

Recycling tips: Find out how to set up recycling and educate employees and customers at your office or restaurant. 

See the recycling tips

Compost tips: Find out how to set up composting and train employees at your restaurant or office. 

See the compost tips

Free signs and labels: Download posters for recycling, compost, and garbage or order printed posters or stickers to label your waste collection areas. 

Get recycling signs

Get assistance: Our staff have years of experience helping businesses of all types and sizes set up or improve their recycling, compost, and waste prevention. 

Contact us for help

Business requirements

Recycling is required. All Portland businesses are required to recycle paper, plastic bottles, metal cans, and, in a separate container, glass bottles and jars. Read the full rules.

Containers cannot be stored on the sidewalk or street. Garbage, recycling, and compost containers may be placed in the public right-of-way (sidewalks or streets) for a short period before and after collection but must be moved out of the right-of-way at all other times. Read the full rules.

Plastic single-use checkout bags are prohibited. Retailers, grocery and restaurants cannot use thin plastic (4 mil or less) single-use checkout bags. Paper checkout bags (40% post-consumer recycled fiber or more) may be provided by retailers and grocery for a 5-cent or more fee per bag (food vendors do not have to charge). Reusable bags, including thick plastic (4 mil or more) or fabric bags, may be provided for a 5-cent or more fee per bag. Read the full rules.

Foodservice requirements

In addition to the requirements for all businesses, the following rules apply to businesses who make, sell or distribute food or beverages.

Styrofoam is prohibited. Restaurants, grocery stores, and nonprofit food servers in Portland are prohibited from serving or packaging food and beverage in products made of polystyrene foam. Read the full rules.

Composting will be mandatory by 2025Foodservice businesses will not be allowed to put food scraps in the garbage, starting in 2025, or as early as 2022 for some larger businesses. Read about the regional compost requirement.