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The City of Portland, Oregon

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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News and Tips on Garbage, Recycling, Composting and Reducing Waste at Home


It’s not easy being green: How to use and care for your compost roll cart

Compost tips for the curb and the backyard.

Yard work anyone? As the weather gets warmer, the longing to be outdoors goes along with it. There is plenty to do around the house, including making the most of your compost cart.

How to clean your green roll cart

As with every chore, it’s either do it yourself, recruit a teenager, or pay someone else to cross off the task from your list. Get some supplies ready to wash your roll cart: With a little dish soap, a handled brush or old rags and the garden hose, you can make the cart sparkle with some elbow grease.

putting a pizza box in the green cart

Please pour the dirty water onto grass or gravel, not down the storm drain.

Another approach to a clean roll cart: Contact your garbage and recycling company to arrange for them to deliver a clean cart for a $12.50 fee.

Here are some additional tips for maintaining a cleaner 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 compost cart to reduce odors and deter insects.
  • Store your cart in the shade in warm weather.
  • Find videos and tips at www.portlandcomposts.co

Compost helps farmers and gardeners grow healthy food

One of the benefits of composting at the curb is that you are participating in a closed loop system: Your food scraps and yard waste become a nutrient-rich soil amendment and the finished product can be purchased for use in gardens, landscaping and agriculture. 

Reminder: Remove fruit and vegetable stickers before adding scraps to your kitchen compost container. These are plastic and won’t break down into compost. The same goes for plastic plant pot markers and plastic bags.

putting food scraps in the green cart

Backyard composting tips

For Portland residents who want to create their own compost, you can set up a home-based system to capture both scrap materials for your backyard pile—and still include the food for your green Portland Composts! roll cart.

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.

  • Toss yard debris and vegetable scraps in your backyard composter to get you started – and keep meat, grains, dairy and bones in your green curbside roll cart.

Turn in prescription drugs and shredded documents on April 27

Make a stop at this community event to dispose of unwanted items.

Shredded paper in a brown paper bagPlastic prescription bottle

Attend a prescription drug disposal and shred event in Portland on Saturday, April 27, 2019. Drive, walk or bike and drop off your unwanted or expired prescription drugs and sensitive documents. Drugs will be safely incinerated and documents will be securely shredded on site. The event runs from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., or earlier if the trucks fill to capacity. Location: 4735 E. Burnside Street in Portland.

Acceptable items for prescription drug disposal event: Prescription medications and samples, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, pet medications, medicated ointments, and liquid medication in leak-proof containers.

Items not accepted: Thermometers, sharps, syringes, IV bags, bloody or infectious waste, hydrogen peroxide, aerosol cans, inhalers, EpiPens. To dispose of sharps, contact Metro at 503-234-3000 or through Find a Recycler.

Acceptable items for shred event: Up to two grocery bags of documents.

Items not accepted: Cardboard or three ring binders.

Give back!

Sunshine Division barrels will be available for donations of canned food, dry pasta, and non-perishable food for needy families. Tax deduction forms will be provided.

Need to know exactly what to bring?

Check out the full list online.

Interested in other cleanup events?

Contact the Curbside Hotline at 503-823-7202 to find a Community Collection Event near you.

Clean up for spring at citywide Community Collection Events

Reuse, recycle and dispose of unwanted bulky materials at dozens of events.

Portlanders can clean up their garages, basements or other clutter-filled areas and head to one of over 35 Community Collection Events scheduled this spring. Materials accepted at collection events vary, but the sponsoring neighborhood association or community group may offer a combination of bulky waste collection, an onsite reuse section and a litter pickup activity.

Wilkes community members at a collection event.

Wilkes community members get to work at the 2018 collection event.

A variety of community groups are providing this convenient service for a reasonable donation or fee. Besides bulky items like furniture, mattresses and appliances locations may accept items for recycling and reuse, like scrap metal and household goods.

The City of Portland’s Community Collection Events, also known as Neighborhood Cleanups, offer neighborhood, community and nonprofit organizations funds for proper disposal of bulky household waste that may otherwise be disposed of inappropriately. The events prioritize recycling and reuse over disposal.

These events do not accept the following items: Hazardous waste materials; all construction, remodeling or demolition materials; all kitchen garbage; residential yard debris and trimmings; commercial landscaping; roofing; waste and recyclables collected curbside; and waste not allowed at a regional transfer station. Learn more about asbestos containing materials at the Metro transfer stations.

Your support in protecting community volunteers and transfer station staff from exposure to asbestos and keeping our neighborhoods clean and safe is appreciated.

Have bulky items at other times of the year?
Your garbage and recycling company can remove large items that are not reusable or recyclable for an extra charge anytime of the year. Usable goods can find new homes with many online options.

Need a list of this year’s events?
Contact the Curbside Hotline at 503-823-7202 to find a Community Collection Event near you.

Do you want trash with that?

Take-out items are not recyclable – they belong in the trash.

Leave out the take-out!
Take-out items are not recyclable – they belong in the trash.

If you don’t need the straw, fork, spoon, cup, condiments, containers—or a bag, say so!

take out trash illustration

Head out for cheap eats with an on-the-go kit

Do your part to reduce single-use items by creating a to-go kit so you’ll have what you need when you need it.

Make a kit for your car, day bag or bike bag. Include reusable shopping bags, a coffee or travel mug, produce bags, silverware or small containers for leftovers. After you use something from your kit, replace it when you get home, so your kit is always with you and ready for anything.

Having an on-the-go kit is good if you eat out a lot, make frequent stops at the store, or tend to forget your reusables (we all do!).

Recycle with confidence. Get a guide in multiple languages

Need more tips to reduce, reuse and refuse?
Check out the Resourceful PDX blog for more tips and ideas.

Take hard-to-recycle items to the Green Days recycling event

Team up with Fred Meyer and the Trail Blazers for this community recycling event.

Join Fred Meyer and the Trail Blazers on Saturday, April 6, 2019 for a Green Days community recycling event in Portland. Drop off items and participate in activities for you and your family. Meet Trail Blazers personalities, win tickets and other prizes. The event runs from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. Location: Hollywood Fred Meyer, 3030 NE Weidler Street in Portland. Be Cart Smart, the City of Portland’s residential recycling education program, will be on hand in the Vendor Village to answer recycling questions and share waste reduction ideas.

foam blocks

Accepted materials include: Plastics bags and wrap, Styrofoam, batteries, electronics and cardboard.

Acceptable items for Agilyx: All forms of Polystyrene (#6) including Styrofoam. No starch peanuts, Polypropylene or Polyethylene foam.

Acceptable items for Free Geek: Smartphones, tablets, e-readers, video systems – and Oregon E-Cycles program items like computers, monitors, TVs, printers, keyboards and mice. Find out more about what is and isn’t accepted.

Give back! The Oregon Food Bank will accept your cans and bottles for donation through the Bottle Drop fundraising program. 

Learn more about Let’s Go Green Together.