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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

More Contact Info

Frequently Asked Questions

Your Role as Property Manager

My recycling containers are frequently overflowing. I don’t have room for more containers. What can I do? Talk with your garbage and recycling company about the frequency of collection and number of containers. You may need recycling collection more frequently. It’s also possible to go with a smaller garbage container and increase the size or number of recycling containers.

People who don’t live here are dumping garbage on our site and going through the glass and recycling for returnable cans and bottles. How do I stop it? Collection areas in open spaces, like parking lots, frequently attract “dump and run” abuse. If possible, keep your garbage and recycling area away from the public sightline. Recycling containers can be locked, with keys or combinations provided to residents, to discourage dumpster diving. We can come out for a site audit to recommend more solutions.

How do I keep my contamination to a minimum and ensure my collection system stays clean? Choose well-lit and centrally-located collection areas for garbage and recycling containers. Ensure recycling is located as conveniently as garbage. Side-by-side containers make it simple and easy. Use clear signage with pictures showing which items go where.

Keeping Residents Informed

How do I explain the recycling set up to residents who don’t speak English? We offer brochures in a variety of languages—Spanish, English, Russian, Vietnamese, Chinese and Somali. If your residents would benefit from a presentation in their native language, we will work with you to find an interpreter.

What can I do to stop residents from placing recycling in the garbage and garbage in the recycling? Examine your garbage and recycling system and consider how your diverse community of residents—small children, older residents, and people with disabilities—may find the set up challenging. Thoughtful approaches might include: posting large graphic signs with little or no text; matching stickers on containers and the front of roll carts (eye-level for children); and requesting containers that are easier to open (roll carts instead of dumpsters).

The information I provide doesn’t seem to be making it work better. My hauler says the recycling is so contaminated it has to be emptied as garbage. What else can I do? Contact us! We’re here to help. We can do a site assessment to see if there are problems with the physical set up or other circumstances that we can help resolve. If technical assistance doesn’t solve the problem, we can talk with residents one-on-one by going door-to door to offer information and answer questions.

Composting Food Scraps

What can I do about collection container smell? It’s your responsibility to keep the food scrap container clean. Store the container outside and out of the sun, whenever possible. Line newspaper along the bottom of the container to help reduce smell. Ask maintenance staff to wash out the container after collection. Check with your garbage and recycling company to see if they clean, line or switch out containers.

How do I get my residents to put the right materials in the compost container? There are two things you need to ensure residents compost the right way: well-placed signage in your collection area and educational materials about what goes in each container. We provide these materials, free of charge.

What can I do to encourage more households to collect and compost food scraps? Target new residents to get them on board with food scrap composting. Also, provide an occasional “food scrap refresher” to keep current residents up to speed and overcome barriers to participation.