Metro Recycling Information (503-234-3000) is the best resource to learn how to properly dispose of items not accepted through residential Curbside Collection Service. From packing peanuts to propane tanks, find sustainable solutions for unwanted materials using Metro's updated recycler directory. An overview of non-curbside recycling and disposal is provided below.
Junk Mail Reduction
Metro and Catalog Choice offer a free online service to help stop the waste of unwanted phone books, catalogs and mail.
Plastics and Packaging
Packaging like plastic film, block Styrofoam and packing peanuts cannot be recycled at the curb, but you can take it to convenient drop off locations in Portland. Other plastics such as party platters, and rigid plastics including "clamshells," CDs, VHS tapes, Tupperware, Rubbermaid, and other reusable dishware are collected for recycling if markets are available. You can use Metro’s Find a Recycler tool to find depots for these items.
Many home and garden products are considered household hazardous waste. Look for the warning words by reading labels: caution, toxic, corrosive, pesticide, combustible, poison, flammable, warning, danger.
Never pour these products down the drain or onto the ground. And don't put them in your garbage. They contain potentially dangerous chemicals.
There is a proper way to dispose of hazardous materials. These kinds of waste need special treatment and should be disposed of responsibly to help protect children's health, wildlife and watersheds.
Household hazardous waste is accepted year-round at Metro's two transfer stations. There is a $5 fee to dispose of an average load of household hazardous waste of up to 35 gallons.
Metro Central Station – 6161 NW 61st, Portland
Metro South Station – 2001 Washington St., Oregon City
Metro holds free household hazardous waste collection events throughout the metro area during spring, summer and fall.
See Metro’s Guide to Hazardous Waste for more information about hazardous materials.
Medical syringes or other medical “sharps” should never be put into your garbage or recycling containers. It is dangerous for the workers who handle your trash and recyclable materials, and in Oregon, it’s also against the law.
Enroll in Metro’s sharps disposal and container exchange program at any hazardous waste facility for just $5 per container, and get a new sharps container at no cost each time you bring a full one back for disposal. A hazardous waste disposal fee of $5 for up to 35 gallons also applies.
Prescription and over-the-counter medications
Most medications should not be disposed in the garbage or flushed down the toilet. Many local police stations offer secure drop-off locations for properly disposing medicine. You can also participate in the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Days. View the Federal Guidelines for disposing medicine (PDF) for more information.
Safe disposal of thousands of tons of VCRs, computers, fax machines and other types of electronic equipment is a major environmental concern. All electronic components contain hazardous or toxic materials – especially lead and mercury. The products are safe to use, but cause environmental problems when thrown in a landfill.
Computers, monitors and televisions are not allowed to be disposed of in the garbage or at disposal sites such as landfills, transfer stations and incinerators. They must be recycled through Oregon’s free electronics recycling program, Oregon E-Cycles. Visit www.oregonecycles.org or call 1-888-5-ECYCLE for more information.
Metro can help you find out what to do with reusable and recyclable items including furniture, appliances, mattresses and even clothes, shoes and books.
Your garbage and recycling company can remove large items that are not reusable or recyclable for an extra charge. Call your company a week in advance and they will give you a cost estimate. For a reasonable charge, they will pick up appliances, furniture, large branches, stumps, and other big items.
For curbside pickup, set bulky items at your curb on the day your garbage and recycling company has agreed to pick them up.
- Don't set bulky items out until the scheduled day
- Don't store bulky items in your yard or driveway
If you hire someone to haul away your materials, you are responsible if they are dumped illegally. Be sure you have a receipt with the person or company's name, address, phone number and vehicle and driver's license numbers.
Many neighborhood associations hold annual collection events for household bulky waste, recycling and reuse.
For a reasonable charge or donation, neighbors can dispose of items cluttering up their garages and basements. These cleanup events do not accept household garbage, and most cannot accept hazardous, medical or electronic waste.
The seven neighborhood coalitions have listings of the scheduled cleanup events by neighborhood association
- Central Northeast Neighbors (CNN)
- East Portland Neighborhood Office (EPNO)
- Neighbors West/Northwest (NW/NW)
- North Portland Neighborhood Services (NPNS)
- Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods (NECN)
- Southeast Uplift Neighborhood Coalition (SEUL)
- Southwest Neighborhoods, Inc. (SWNI)
Find contact information for your neighborhood association from the Office of Neighborhood Involvement or call 503-823-4519.
Metro offers resources for planning a community cleanup event.
Contact the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability at 503-823-7202 for possible cleanup dates, locations, costs and accepted materials.