Metro, the agency that manages systems for handling and transporting solid waste, wants to transform how the Portland area handles food waste in an effort to convert our food scraps into renewable energy instead of burying them in a landfill.
In 2016, the Metro Council directed staff to investigate ways to do that. In fall 2017, Metro sought public comment on an initial policy proposal to keep more food scraps from restaurants, grocery stores, and other food service businesses out of landfills and put to better use creating energy, compost or other valuable products. The regional government is in the process of seeking a private company to build a plant that breaks down food waste and turns it into biogas, electricity, or compost.
In July 2018, the Metro Council will consider the proposed Metro code language and receive public testimony. If the proposed code language is adopted, the largest food service businesses will be required to separate their food scraps from other garbage starting in 2020, and smaller food service businesses will be phased into the policy over the following three years.
ORLA is engaged in these discussions, anticipating that many restaurant owners will oppose the new mandates that would produce operational challenges.
Metro has developed a guide for businesses to reduce food waste, focusing on prevention, donation, and composting strategies. Learn more about Metro's campaign at FoodWasteStopsWithMe.org.
Read more on Metro's website
Read more in the Portland Tribune