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Planning and Sustainability

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Phone: 503-823-7700

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Business Recycling Requirements

All kinds of businesses throughout the Portland metropolitan area are doing their part for our environment by recycling at work. But, 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 has adopted Business Recycling Requirements. Businesses in the Portland metropolitan area are required to recycle paper, metal cans, plastic bottles, and glass bottles/jars.

Administrative rules

City of Portland Administrative Rules referencing this requirement can be found here*:

City of Portland Business Administrative Rule, 5.2, Recycling and Solid Waste Requirements for Commercial Customers, Generators and Self Haulers – B. Business Recycling Requirements, (1) and (2).

For more information about City recycling rules, email wasteinfo@portlandoregon.gov or visit the Administrative Rules.

Assistance for businesses

Sustainability at Work to offers free, non-regulatory assistance to set up or improve your recycling program. Contact Sustainability at Work at 503-823-7037 or info@sustainabilityatworkpdx.com.

Answers to common questions

What are the consequences for not recycling?

If the City of Portland receives a complaint that your workplace is not recycling, the complaint will be investigated. In addition, beginning 2013, businesses in Portland will be randomly selected for an inspection visit by a code enforcement officer. The officer will verify whether a recycling program for these materials is in place and that recycling is not present in the garbage. If found out of compliance, the business will be expected to come into compliance within 30 days.

If compliance is not achieved within 30 days, fines will be issued. Fines are $200 per month for the first infraction. Subsequent infractions will increase by $200 each month, i.e., second infraction will be $400, third infraction will be $600 and continues at that level until the infraction is resolved.

How can my business come into compliance?

A business will be considered in compliance by collecting recycling (paper, metal cans, plastic bottles and glass bottles/jars) separate from the garbage and into the appropriate recycling container.

Your garbage and recycling company will tell you the cost, supply you with external service containers, and will help you troubleshoot space constraints. Several haulers doing business in the City can also assist you by providing staff training. Additional posters, stickers, and staff training can be found at Sustainability at Work at 503-823-7037, info@sustainabilityatworkpdx.com

My business does not have the space for recycling. Do you still expect us to participate?

Yes. Here are a few suggestions to help address space constraints:

  • Eliminate any unnecessary containers taking up space, such as containers that are rarely used or that can be consolidated.
  • Reduce your garbage service levels to make space for recycling containers. It would be important to accurately assess the amount of waste you will be able to divert from your garbage to your recycling so that your service levels are “right-sized” to your volume of waste.
  • Ask your suppliers to reduce or eliminate packaging when shipping supplies to you.
  • Share service with neighbors. This works well if multiple participants are using the same limited space.
  • Share or rent additional space from a neighbor or a neighboring parking lot. If there is not an existing enclosure for the containers, keep in mind there are City regulations:
  • City of Portland Neighborhood Inspections 503-823-7034 provides information and assistance for getting containers off the sidewalk or street.
  • City of Portland Permitting Services503-823-7357 provides information about permitting and other regulations affecting the construction of interior or exterior storage areas.
  • Switch to smaller containers and establish more frequent collection.
  • Request that your garbage and recycling company build custom containers for your space.

My property manager won’t provide the service. What should I do?

If your property manager provides you with garbage service, they are also required to provide you with the opportunity to recycle and compost. Call Paul de Block at Sustainability at Work (503) 823-2069 to find out more about the responsibilities of property management and how the City can help facilitate the start of composting service.

*In 2009, the City of Portland mailed all businesses a letter communicating the requirement to recycle. The letter referred to following “five easy steps” and required all businesses to fill out a yearly progress report showing their commitment to recycling. Following the “five easy steps” and filling out a yearly progress report is no longer required.

Heartbleed Security Notice

A serious security vulnerability known as "Heartbleed" was recently discovered in OpenSSL, a popular software library commonly used by many websites on the internet to encrypt communication between a user's computer and a web server.

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