There’s a lot to know about garbage. Your garbage cart plays an important role in our collection system. It keeps our recycling and compost clean of materials that do not have viable markets, that degrade the more valuable materials or that cause problems in sorting.
Test your garbage IQ
Check the list below to ensure you aren’t accidentally putting things in recycling that actually belong in the garbage. Metro’s Recycle Information Center at 503-234-3000 or Metro’s Find a recycler webpage can tell you about possible places to take bolded items.
- paper plates, coffee cups, frozen food boxes, and takeout containers and wrappers
- pet food bags
- facial tissue
- plastic bags
- plastic containers labeled compostable
- rigid plastics including clamshells, Tupperware®, Rubbermaid®, and other reusable dishware
- painted or stained wood and plywood
- broken toys
- empty motor oil and pesticide containers
Must be bagged
- pet waste and cat litter
- diapers and feminine hygiene products
- ashes and sawdust
- packaging peanuts
- broken drinking glasses, flower vases, glass candle holders, pyrex, eye glasses and incandescent light bulbs
- used paper towels, napkins, tea bags, coffee filters and pizza delivery boxes (in Portland, Forest Grove and Lake Oswego these can go in your green compost cart)
- dead rodents
Placed in sealed container
- kitchen fats, cooking oil and grease
Big landscape and DIY remodel projects, moving out, new purchases -and the occasional accident might result in garbage that is too big for the curbside waste pickup. Here’s what to do with these items:
- Call your garbage and recycling company to see if they can make special arrangements to pick up your bulky waste.
- Haul to one of Metro’s two transfer stations
- Call metro 503-234-3000 to find options near you
- Many Portland neighborhoods organize bulky waste collection events.
Keep it Out!
Toxic and dangerous materials are prohibited from your curbside garbage as well as from the transfer station garbage.
- Computers, monitors, TVs, printers, keyboards and mice. DEQ’s Oregon E-Cycles program
- Asbestos. Specific remodeling and deconstruction material require special testing and permits before you can take them to the transfer station. Metro’s brochure for DIY remodelers steps to avoid asbestos exposure.
- Household hazardous waste, propane tanks and compact fluorescent light bulbs. Bring them to Metro’s Household Hazardous Waste Facilities or Neighborhood Collection events
- Needles. Placing needles in the garbage or recycling exposes workers to injury and can transmit disease. Metro’s information about sharps storage and disposal.
Sometimes Garbage Inspires
Learn about the program where Five GLEAN artists are given access to the Metro Central transfer station (“the dump”) for five months to glean materials to make art. The program culminates in a formal exhibition in August.