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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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For Residents - Food Scrap Collection at Your Building

While food scrap collection at multifamily properties is optional, residents of many Portland condominiums and multifamily communities have encouraged their property managers to participate. If your building is composting, your manager will explain how the program works. If it isn’t, and you’re interested, please contact us at 503-823-7224 or email

Tell us what you think!

Your opinion is very important and we would like to hear about your experiences. This feedback will help to shape the citywide multifamily program as it is developed over the next few years. Please fill out the participating resident survey.

Follow these three simple steps for food scrap collection

  1. Place your kitchen compost pail in a convenient location in your kitchen. Remember, with frequent emptying, the container doesn’t have to be big.
  2. Include the food! during and after food preparation, after you eat, and when you clean out the refrigerator.
  3. Empty your kitchen pail into the collection container at your building.

What can be composted?

YES — put these items in your green compost roll cart
green cart icon
  • meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, bones
  • eggs and eggshells, cheese, dairy products
  • bread, baked goods, pasta, rice, beans, nuts, seeds
  • coffee grounds, filters, tea bags
  • vegetables and fruit
  • paper napkins and paper towels
  • pizza delivery boxes
  • table scraps, plate scrapings, leftovers
  • flowers, plant clippings
food scrap items

NO – Not accepted

  • plastic and produce bags
  • non-approved compostable plastic bags
  • compostable plastic takeout containers and utensils
  • paper plates, cups and cartons
  • coffee cups
  • fast food wrappers, packaging, takeout containers and waxed paper
  • facial tissue
  • pet waste
  • large amounts of grease, cooking oil and liquid
  • fireplace ashes
  • Styrofoam™, metal and glass
  • corks

Kitchen Pail

Buckets and pails for food scrap collectionChoose your pail. Options include:

  • City-provided compost pails. Check with your property manager to see if these were provided to your building.
  • Lidded pail or bucket, such as a kitty litter pail.
  • Empty yogurt container and lid.
  • Any container with a snug fitting lid that will fit under your sink or on your kitchen counter.
  • Sure Close kitchen scrap containers, sold at Metro for $8.

Compost pails with optional liners

Lining is optional

  • You may choose to line your pail with a plain paper bag, a few sheets of newspaper or approved compostable bag.*
  • Paper and approved compostable bags and newspaper can go directly in the compost container.


  • Store your kitchen container under the sink or on the counter so it is easy to access.
  • Empty and clean your container frequently. Most are dishwasher safe.
  • Sprinkle bottom of container with baking soda to reduce smells.
  • For messy, stinky or wet food scraps, drain as much liquid as possible before putting in your container. Wrap the food in newspaper or an approved liner before placing in your container.

Approved compostable bags

In general, compostable/biodegradable products, including plastics made from corn and other bio-plastics, are not allowed and must go in your garbage.

However, these compostable bags (2-3 gallon size) are Approved compostable bags are designed to break down quickly and safely at composting facilities, and are allowed in your building's collection container:

  • BioBag® CertifiedCompostable
  • Ecnow Tech Compost Me
  • EcoSafe® 6400 Line
  • Glad®,
  • Compostable Kitchen
  • Natur-Tec® Natur-Bag® Compostable

Other compostable bags and regular plastic bags are not allowed.

What happens to food scraps?

The food scraps and any yard debris collected as part of the Portland Composts! program are delivered to a local commercial compost facility. They are turned into a nutrient-rich soil amendment that helps plants grow, prevents erosion, retains water, suppresses plant disease and blocks weeds.

Have other questions or need help?

Contact your property owner, manager or maintenance person with concerns or questions about the compost collection container at your building.

Additional information is available through the City of Portland’s Multifamily program at 503-823-7224 or