Encouraging Regional Recycling in Businesses

All kinds of businesses throughout the Portland metropolitan area are doing their part by recycling at work.

However, during an average year, businesses still send more than 100,000 tons of recyclable paper and containers to our local landfills.

To encourage recycling in our region, Metro adopted Business Recycling Requirements (BRR). BRR state that businesses must recycle the same items residents already recycle at home. Each local jurisdiction is working to implement these requirements and will notify businesses when they go into effect.

In general, businesses are required to:

  • Recycle paper, cardboard and containers (aluminum cans, plastic bottles and glass).
  • Ensure there are containers for collection of these recyclables.
  • Post signs at collection areas, indicating which materials should be recycled.

While this is a Metro requirement, local governments are responsible for enforcement. Most cities and counties have adopted local ordinances to match the Metro rules and are currently in the final stages of planning enforcement policies and processes. Most are matching Metro’s goal of a 50% recycling rate in the business sector, while Portland is aiming for 75%. These recycling rates are not to be confused with the requirements made on businesses. Businesses are not being required to recycle their waste to 50% and 75%. The rates are the goals Metro is requiring local jurisdictions to aim towards achieving in the business sector. One strategy for meeting the 50% and 75% goals is to require that businesses recycle paper and containers. Another is to offer technical assistance to identify other materials to recycling and to improve waste prevention strategies. 

To get started in your place of work visit www.recycleatwork.org