Food-only Composting: Changes for Businesses Starting March 1

Food Only: Changes for Businesses Starts March 1

Businesses recently received a letter from Metro about an important change in its commercial food scraps program. As a Master Recycler you may be involved with food scrap collection at work, but you also may be asked questions.

what changes:  

  • As of March 1, 2015, only food scraps will be accepted at Metro Transfer Stations. This means that for almost all business compost programs non-food items will not be allowed. This includes disposable utensils and plates, napkins, to-go boxes and waxed cardboard.
  • Biodegradable Products Institute-certified compostable bags, coffee filters and tea bags, will be the only non-food accepted items.
  • This change only effects commercial composting.
  • Portland’s residential composting will not change.
  • Gresham, Clackamas County, Washington County, Beaverton and Portland business compost programs are all designed to support food only standards.


Update bin signage. To order free posters and container stickers call 503-823-7037, or email  

Communicate changes to staff. This flyer may be helpful to post or email.

If you bag your food scraps, use only BPI-certified bags. Bags are not required for participation.

Looking for information about best choices regarding cups, cutlery and dishware? Sustainability at work created this site to help you explore your options.


Not all commercial compost in the region goes to the Metro Transfer Stations. There are two main facilities that accept commercial food scraps from the Metro Area: JC-BioMethane in Junction City near Eugene and Pacific Regional Compost (PRC) in Corvallis.

Metro’s transfer station sends materials to JC-bio who is not accepting non-food items, but some haulers are working directly with PRC and they do accept many Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI)-certified products. PRC has stated that ultimately, they want to move toward a food only standard as well, but they are currently accepting more than food for a small percentage of businesses.

It is important to know that depending on the hauler, some businesses will be able to put non-food items in their bins. If a business is confused about what they can place in their food scraps program, they can contact their local jurisdiction. Gresham, Clackamas County, Washington County, Beaverton and Portland