Washington County launching new compost program
PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - For the past couple of years, cities like Portland, Beaverton and Hillsboro have been able to compost food scraps. Now, with the exception of the city of Banks, all of Washington County will be able to compost beginning October 1.
Beginning Sunday, cities like Aloha, Bethany and Cedar Mills will have food scrap compost collections at single family homes. This comes after the Wash. Co. Board of Commissioners approved the new program in June. Washington county also said a 5.53% rate increase was approved for residential garbage, recycling and yard debris collection customers. That equates to about $1.44 per month for residential customers.
The increase is due to several factors, including increases in garbage disposal, driver wages, recycling processing, maintenance and fuel. The new residential food scraps collection program was estimated to be responsible for about $0.48 /month of the increase. This is primarily due to higher cost of disposal of food and yard debris mixed vs. just yard debris and more material shifting to the yard debris cart requiring more time on route to collect yard and food mixed vs. just collecting yard debris.
Tom Egleston, Solid Waste & Recycling for Washington County, says food scraps will go to a compost facility instead of a landfill and creating pollution.
“When we send food to the landfills in the garbage, that food rots and decomposes and releases methane, which is a potent greenhouse gas. If we capture that food and come put it in a compost in process, it’ll create compost, which is a nutrient rich soil amendment and prevent the release of methane emissions,” says Egleston. According to the Oregon Department Of Environmental Quality, about 30% of residential garbage is food waste. Wash. Co. says that’s equivalent to almost 13,000 tons. Do include in your food scraps container:
- Meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, eggs, cheese, dairy, bread, baked goods, pasta, rice, beans, nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruit
- Peels, pits, eggshells, bones and coffee grounds
- Raw or cooked food, uneaten leftovers and spoiled food
- Paper coffee filters and tea bags
- Food-soiled paper napkins and paper towels
Do NOT include:
- Coffee cups, paper plates, takeout food containers or wrappers, drink cups, straws or utensils
- “Compostable” containers or packaging, or other items labeled “biodegradable” or “made from plants”
- Wax paper, parchment paper or facial tissue.
- Plastic bags, plastic wrap, metal or glass. Remove all packaging from food before putting it in your compost bin.
- Liquids, grease or cooking oil
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