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PORTLAND, Ore. -- New rules for businesses in Portland aim to increase recycling.

The Metro Council now requires cities in the area to pass a law that says businesses will provide containers for recycling, posting explanatory signs at collection areas and separating paper and containers for recycling in Multnomah, Clackamas and Washington counties.

The council is also providing out $400,000 to help businesses comply with the new rules.

"Metro aims to recycle at least 80 percent of the 100,000 tons of recyclable material currently disposed of annually," Metro Councilor Robert Liberty said in a release. "The environmental benefits include reducing greenhouse gas emissions to the equivalent of taking 42,000 cars off the road and saving 1.2 million trees each year. That's significant, with net environmental benefits estimated at $10 million."

The city governments need to have a law in place by the end of February of next year, the council said.

For enforcement, Metro said each local government can establish its own compliance program or enter into an agreement allowing Metro to administer the program. Punishment would likely include notices, citations, and then assessment of a fine.

But Metro said that would be rare -- in the past 12 years Portland has only ever issued three fines.

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