Pamplin Media Group – Wood Village moves forward on food waste recycling program


City concurs, implements Metro-crafted ordinance at latest City Council meeting

Metro regional government adopted a requirement for all food service establishments generating more than 250 pounds of food waste each week to separate their food waste from their garbage.

As a result, all cities in the Portland area need to adopt an updated policy to implement the requirements by July 31, said Greg Dirks, Wood Village HR records manager, at Wood Village’s City Council meeting on Thursday, April 25.

“The regional policy requires beginning in March 2020, certain businesses must separate its food scraps from other garbage and have those food scraps collected separately,” Dirks said.

Metro staff is negotiating with its waste management providers, and if the regional government entity can strike a deal, the food scraps will be converted into electricity by an anaerobic digester at the Portland Bureau of Environmental Services’ Columbia Boulevard Wastewater Treatment Facility, according to Metro’s website. STAFF PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - At La Carreta of Gresham, its a simple process to compost — food scraps in the green bin, garbage in the blue. , Gresham Outlook - News Gresham program tackles composting ahead of Metro's requirements for food waste Waste ... not

Metro expects to divert 59,000 tons of food scraps once the program is implemented.

The more food waste an entity creates, the sooner it will have to comply with the new standards, Dirks added. If an organization doesn’t generate more than 250 pounds of food waste, they are exempt.

“That’s probably your smaller convenience store with a little deli section. They’re probably not throwing a lot away,” he said. “This is for your grocery stores, or your restaurants that have a lot of food scraps and food waste.”

The law only applies to the waste organizations have control over. It does not apply to food customers throw away.

Many fast food restaurants will be exempt because they don’t generate a lot of waste in their food preparation section, noted Wood Village City Manager Bill Peterson.

“They’re generally very cautious at the front end of their process — and while there’s a lot of waste coming out of the other end of the process — there isn’t a lot coming out of their kitchens,” Peterson said.

Many of Wood Village’s organizations that would be affected by the new standards are already in compliance because the city adopted a voluntary food recycling program in 2011.

“So there are a lot of gleaners and food recycling already,” Dirks said. “So they’re already kind of doing it.”

Dirks noted the city can enact stricter guidelines than Metro’s baseline standards. No councilors spoke in favor of tightening up the regulations.

Wood Village staff will bring back an official ordinance almost identical to the Metro’s suggested code for City Council to adopt before the July deadline.

When does it start?

Metro regional government adopted an ordinance requiring business generating more than 250 pounds of food waste per week to separate food scraps from their garbage.Businesses that generate 1,000 pounds or more of food waste per week will be required to follow the standard by March 31, 2021. Organizations that generate 500 pounds or more of food scraps per week will be required to implement the standard by Sept. 30, 2022. Kindergarten through 12th grade schools, and businesses that generate 250 pounds or more of food scraps per week will need to implement the program by September 2023.

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