Why Food Only In Portland, Oregon?

metroThe short answer: Excessive contamination in the collected organics from the commercial food scraps composting program combined with challenges caused by nonfood items at one of Metro’s selected processing facilities. (Metro is a regional governing body.) As of November 1, 2014, Metro’s facilities will no longer accept regular or waxed cardboard as part of its commercial composting program. As of March 1, 2015, only food scraps will be accepted. Items such as compostable serviceware, paper towels and other paper products will not be accepted. Transparent and semi-transparent BPI-certified compostable bags will be the only non-food items allowed. This policy only applies to commercial food scraps received at Metro’s Central Transfer Station that are transferred to facilities that Metro selects to process the materials, including bio-methane and composting facilities. Commercial food scraps not going through the Metro transfer station are not subjected to these new requirements.

In a Letter to the Editor, Steve Mojo of BPI applauds Metro’s decision to eliminate noncompostable, nonfood contamination, but cautions that exclusion of nonfood items that are compostable could result in food scraps generators dropping out of the program. The fact that the program continues to allow BPI-certified compostable bags, Mojo notes: “Compostable food serviceware must meet the exact same performance requirements as bags to be certified as compostable by the BPI.”

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