Recycling News October 2023

Food scraps composting in your Yard Debris cart!

Community members in urban unincorporated Washington County can now include food scraps in their yard debris roll carts. The Washington County Board of Commissioners approved the new program along with collection rate changes in June 2023. As of October 1, all urban areas and cities in Washington County, except Banks, will offer food scraps composting collection service to single-family homes.

Participation in food scraps collection is optional and easy. Current collection schedules will remain the same. Community members can collect food scraps in containers they already have, like plastic tubs or takeout containers, or they can buy a kitchen pail. Include all food like raw meat, eggshells, kitchen scraps and uneaten leftovers. Empty the kitchen container into the yard debris roll cart every few days and wash the container regularly to prevent odors and pests. Learn more here.

Thomas Egleston, Solid Waste & Recycling manager, notes “A 2016 Oregon Department of Environmental Quality study found that almost 30% of residential garbage is food. When food starts to break down in landfills, it releases methane gas, which traps heat in our atmosphere and contributes to climate change. The good news is community members can help reduce food waste sent to landfills by participating in a curbside compost collection.” 

Greg Walker of Walker Garbage, which provides collection service to most of Cedar Mill, says, “We have been hauling compost in Portland and the City of Beaverton for a while, and it’s nice that our unincorporated Washington County customers have this service available now.”

One reason for the delay is that Japanese beetle that has plagued our gardens since 2016. Egleston explained, “When the ODA was enforcing and facilitating the yard debris quarantine, the material was heading to the Hillsboro Landfill for deep burial. The Hillsboro Landfill is a permitted ‘dry’ waste landfill, which means they cannot accept food waste. That was a limiting factor for sure. We talked with the ODA about alternative treatment methods over the last year and half or so, and when they announced they would end the facilitation of moving that material to Hillsboro Landfill that removed that barrier!

Pacific Office Automation

“We also were waiting for Recology Organics of North Plains, the compost facility, to get their site improvements up and running and any kinks worked out. They updated the facility and increased how much material they could handle in 2022. That also made this program more possible. 

“Finally, we wanted to ensure there was resiliency in the system—so we were not just relying on one facility to take the food waste and yard debris mix. Pride, down in Sherwood, finished some improvements to their transfer station last year and are now able to accept that material for transfer. That was another big barrier that got resolved.

“Those three things combined really opened up the window for us to bring all 65,000 households in the unincorporated areas online. We are excited to be able to do so—so many folks have been asking for it for years now!”

recycling event

Westside Planet Alliance Free Recycling Event

Saturday, October 7, 10 am-1 pm, parking lot at NW Jackson St. and N 1st Ave. in Hillsboro, free

The Westside Planet Alliance and Washington County Solid Waste & Recycling will host this community recycling event during the Hillsboro Saturday Market. Accepted materials include various polypropylene (PP #5), polytherapthalate (PET #1) and polystyrene (PS #6) plastics that cannot go in the mixed recycling program at home. Computer Drive Connection will also be at the event collecting electronics and small appliances. For more detail and to sign up to volunteer, check the PlanetCon website.

shs climate change club logo

SHS Recycling Drive CANCELLED!