Adams ready to roll out citywide composting plan

Changes to curbside pick-up service could start this fall

Mayor Sam Adams proposed a citywide curbside food scrap composting program on Friday. It will go before the City Council for a hearing next week with a vote on the plan scheduled Aug. 17.

'Portlanders want curbside composting and the city of Portland is ready to deliver,' Adams told reporters Friday morning. 'Each year, thousands of pounds of food scraps needlessly go to landfills when they could be turned into nutrient-rich compost.'

Adams' proposal follows completion of a successful year-long pilot project involving about 2,000 households around the city.

'It's time to take action and bring this easy, common sense composting solution to everyone,' Adams said.

Garbage collection changes

If approved by the council, most Portland residents could be provided as soon as this fall a kitchen counter composting pail, which they will be able to empty into existing green 'Portland Composts!' roll carts. Right now the carts are used only for yard debris.

Other proposed changes to the curbside collection service include altering the collection schedule for garbage and the green roll carts. In the proposal, compost would be picked up weekly and garbage would be picked up every other week. Adams said the change 'allows the green roll carts to be removed more frequently without raising collection prices for most residents.'

A small rate increase will take effect for residents with 60-gallon and 90-gallon garbage containers, and customers with monthly garbage pickup will need to select from other service options.

Collection of the blue 'Portland Recycles!' roll cart and yellow bin will remain weekly. Changes would affect all single-family households and residents living in buildings with four or fewer units and begin on Oct. 31, pending council approval.

Other cities offer service

Under the city's 'Food Scrap Curbside Collection Pilot,' residents said that including food scraps in the green roll carts with weekly pick up made every-other-week garbage collection manageable.

About 87 percent of the households involved in the pilot project reported that they were satisfied with the new system. Garbage generated in the pilot areas dropped by almost a third, according to the city. Only 7 percent of residents involved in the pilot project upgraded to a bigger garbage can. Only 60 percent of garbage cans were full on collection day.

More than 90 U.S. cities have offered residents curbside collection of food scraps for several years, including Seattle and San Francisco. In addition, every-other-week garbage collection has been successful for other cities, including Olympia and Renton, Wash., and Nanaimo, British Columbia.