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Planning and Sustainability

Innovation. Collaboration. Practical Solutions.

Phone: 503-823-7700

Curbside Hotline: 503-823-7202

1900 SW 4th Ave, Suite 7100, Portland, OR 97201

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Questions and Answers

Garbage Service

Q: Who can provide garbage and recycling service to the property?

Any permitted garbage and recycling company may provide service to multifamily (5 or more units) properties. This service includes both garbage and recycling disposal as well as adequate containers correctly labeled with picture and text stickers. View a current list of permitted garbage and recycling companies available.

Q: Are contracts required?

No. Service provision is a competitive process and property owners / managers should feel free to negotiate the terms of their garbage and recycling service. Entering into a formal written contract for garbage and recycling services is legally binding, and it is essential to read the "fine print" and understand all obligations prior to signing. This list of contract topics can guide your garbage and recycling contract (if you choose to have one):

  • Include the hours during which pickups can occur. 
  • Establish a frequency of pickups to prevent containers from overflowing.   
  • List items your hauler should provide.  Your list may include trash containers, recycling containers, dumpsters and signage for the container.
  • Establish standards for cleanliness for the containers collection areas.
  • Identify a point person at the hauling company who will handle any problems that arise with the contract.

Q: What type of design requirements exist for garbage and recycling areas?

While the City of Portland does not have dimensional or site review requirements for garbage or recycling areas, the best guideline is to have recycling as convenient as trash. For information regarding requirements, please call a Multifamily Waste Reduction Specialist at 503-823-7224 or email

Q: What container sizes are available?

Numerous sizes are available to fit your needs. Typical sites use a combination of roll carts and dumpsters. View some common dumpster sizes.  Your hauler can help determine the correct size for your service needs.

Recycling Information

Q: Where can I find the most up to date information about what can and can't be recycled?

A: The Metro Recycling Information hotline provides recycling and disposal information and referrals in the greater Portland metropolitan area. Call 503-234-3000 between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday or use the interactive Find A Recycler page.

Q: Is recycling information available in languages other than English?

Yes. Your hauler can provide container stickers in English, Spanish, Russian and Vietnamese. Information is available for residents in Mandarin Chinese, Somali, Spanish, Russian and Vietnamese.


Q: What paper can be recycled?

Newspaper, junk mail, scrap paper, cardboard, magazines, drink boxes (aseptics) and milk cartons (gable tops).

Q: Can all paper be recycled?

Almost. Keep paper towels, food-contaminated paper, wax-coated paper or boxes and foil paper out of recycling. The rest can go in!


Q: What plastics can be recycled?

Plastic bottles, yogurt-type tubs and margarine containers (6 ounces or larger), nursery pots (4 inches or larger), and buckets (5 gallons or smaller).

Q: What should I do with plastic bags?

Plastic bags cannot go in recycling containers because they jam the machinery at recycling facilities and cause safety risks for workers. Plastic bags can be taken to most local grocery stores and recycling centers for recycling.

Q: What about plastic lids and caps?

Plastic lids and caps are made from a different kind of plastic than bottles and tubs. Reuse them or dispose of them in your garbage.


Q: What glass can be recycled?

Most unbroken glass can be recycled. Please no broken glass, drinking glasses, or flower vases.

Q: Why keep glass separate?

If glass is mixed in with other recyclables like paper, it will break and can hurt workers and damage machinery. Glass must be kept separate to minimize these problems.


Q: What metal can be recycled?

All scrap metal, aluminum and tin.

Q: What can be done with metal lids?

Metal lids are recyclable. Tip: place lids in metal can and crimp edges together. Place them with other metals in the mixed recycling container.


Q: How can I recycle electronics, batteries, or other items that aren't allowed in my recycling containers?

Contact the Metro Recycling Information hotline.

Q: What about yard debris and motor oil?

These can be recycled from home. The service must be pre-arranged by the garbage company and property owner.