small branches (less than 4 in thick and 36 in long)
NO – keep these items out of your compost roll cart
plastic and produce bags
non-approved compostable plastic bags
compostable plastic takeout containers and utensils
paper plates, cups and cartons
fast food wrappers, packaging, takeout containers and waxed paper
animal bedding (including straw and chicken manure)
animal carcasses from hunting and fishing waste
large amounts of grease, cooking oil and liquid
dirt, rocks, sod
lumber, treated wood, sawdust, stumps
large branches (more than 4 in thick or 36 in long)
Styrofoam™, metal and glass
diapers (including those labelled "compostable" or "biodegradable")
textiles, clothing, linens, shoes
Even if a plastic product says “compostable,” please leave it out.
Tips for your green roll cart
Use an optional liner in your kitchen container. You can contain food in an approved compostable bag, newspaper or a paper bag to keep your food scraps from touching the inside of your green roll cart.
Line the bottom of your green cart with newspaper, a paper bag or a pizza delivery box to help absorb moisture.
Layer food scraps in between yard debris to reduce odors and to contain messier foods.
Sprinkle baking soda in your garbage and compost carts to reduce odors and deter insects.
Store your cart in the shade in warm weather.
Use soap and water to clean the green roll cart. Pour dirty water onto grass or gravel, not down the storm drain.
Want some guidance?
Check out these three short videos to learn composting basics, explore kitchen container liner options and get tips on caring for your kitchen compost container and green Portland Composts! roll cart.
Kitchen compost container
Did you know you can collect food scraps in a variety of containers?
To collect food scraps in your kitchen, you can try one of these items you may already have in your household:
Empty yogurt container and lid
"Tupperware" type container
Kitty litter pail or other lidded pail/bucket
Anything with a snug fitting lid that will fit under your sink or on your kitchen counter.
Store your kitchen container under the sink or on the counter so it is easy to access.
Line it with newspaper, paper bags or approved compostable bags.
Frequently empty the contents – including the liner – into your green Portland Composts! roll cart. The more often you empty your container, the less time food scraps spend in your kitchen.
Tips for messy, stinky or wet food scraps:
Drain as much liquid as possible from food before putting in your container.
Wrap the food in newspaper and then place in your container.
Place food scraps in a container in the freezer and add them to the green roll cart the night before your pickup.
Empty and rinse out your container frequently, and sprinkle baking soda in it or rub vinegar on the inside of the lid to avoid odors and fruit flies.
Do not set your kitchen container out at the curb.
Optional kitchen container liners:
Approved compostable bags*
*Look for these approved products:
BioBag -- "Certified Compostable"
EcNow Tech -- "Compost Me"
EcoSafe -- "6400 Line"
Glad -- "Compostable Kitchen"
Natur-Tec -- "Natur-Bag Compostable"
Note: These approved compostable bags are designed to break down quickly and safely at composting facilities. Other compostable bags and regular plastic bags are NOT allowed.
Local stores that carry approved compostable bags (availability varies):
Alberta Cooperative Grocery
Barbur World Foods
Food Fight Grocery
Food Front Cooperative Grocery
Lillian’s Central Market
Market of Choice
Mirador Community Store
New Seasons Market
People’s Food Co-op
Sheridan Fruit Company
Yard debris and food scraps go to Oregon commercial composting facilities with specialized processes to quickly break down the organic matter - even meat scraps and bones. Compost from these businesses is sold to landscapers and other agricultural users and available to residents.
Finished compost can be purchased at the Recology facility in North Plains: Nature's Needs, 9570 NW 30th Avenue.
Green compost roll carts must be used first so drivers know to stop for collection. Additional yard debris cans, Kraft bags, or bundles should be placed near the roll cart. You will be charged $3.75 for each one you put out for collection. Extra yard debris can also be saved for your next pick up or taken to a compost facility or leaf depot. To use an extra can, bag or bundle:
Weight limit: 55 lbs
Label can with yard debris sticker
30-Gallon Kraft Paper Bag (no plastic bags)
Weight limit: 45 lbs
Use a 30-gallon brown Kraft two-ply yard debris paper bag that you can buy at your local grocery or hardware store. These bags compost with the yard debris
Because Kraft bags are made from paper, avoid putting wet debris in the bottom of the bag
Keep in a dry place until pickup day to prevent the bottom from falling out
Weight limit: 45 lbs
Bundles must be tied securely with string or twine. Do not tie with wire
Branches can not exceed 36 inches in length and 4 inches in diameter
Composting turns your yard trimmings and vegetable scraps into a nutrient-rich soil amendment for your yard and garden. When used as mulch, compost will reduce your need to water. Use it to enhance the soil, make a potting mixture, or mulch around plants and shrubs. You can make your own compost bin, purchase one at your local garden center or from Metro at reduced rates.
Yard debris reduction tips
Grow a healthy lawn and garden and reduce your yard waste by grasscycling. Leaving grass clippings on the lawn after you mow reduces clean-up time and the need for fertilizer. Clippings decompose and send valuable nutrients back to the soil.
Mow frequently (every five to six days). Set your mower to cut at the recommended height for your type of lawn. Never shorten the grass by more than one-third.
Drop boxes larger than 3 cubic yards can be provided by your garbage and recycling company or any permitted company or drop box company.
Be sure to tell them the container is for yard debris only. There are specific weight limits for each container size and restrictions on the yard debris materials that can be placed in them. Be sure to get all the information and price quotes before delivery. Garbage or other restricted materials are not allowed in the drop box. You will incur additional charges if the container has to be taken to the transfer station for landfill disposal.