Portland's curbside composting begins

Portland's curbside composting begins

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by Keely Chalmers, KGW Staff

kgw.com

Posted on April 13, 2010 at 5:49 PM

Updated Wednesday, Apr 14 at 9:20 AM

PORTLAND, Ore. -- San Francisco and Seattle do it -- and now Portland is doing it too as the city launches a pilot curbside compost collection program.

About 2,000 households will be taking part in the year-long pilot project. 

Tuesday morning, Mayor Sam Adams visited the Richmond neighborhood in Southeast Portland to demonstrate how it will work.  Each resident will get a two-gallon compost pail to store their food scraps. 

They'll dump all those scraps along with paper napkins and pizza boxes into their existing yard-waste bins.  The green bins will then be picked up every week instead of every other week.  But there is a trade off. 

Normal trash pick-up will move from every week to every two weeks.  That’s something neighbors have mixed feelings about. 

"Even though there’s just two of us we fill our garbage can almost to the rim every week," said Richmond neighborhood resident Linda Boleyn.

But others think the bi-weekly trash-pick up will be incentive for people to recycle more. 

"I’m glad trash is every other week because I think that's the ticket to get everyone to take advantage of this and do it," said Kaeley Stephens. 

Plus the city estimates food waste makes up about 30 percent of residential waste.  So the more that goes into the compost, the less you have in your garbage can.  The city adds the benefits greatly outweigh any draw backs.

"When food waste goes to the landfill it releases greenhouse gas emissions methane which is a very toxic gas, so the goal is to keep food scraps out of the landfill and reduce those emissions," said Portland Master Recycler Heather Hawkins. 

In all, five neighborhoods will take part.  Mayor Adams plans to take the program city-wide next year.

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