New ordinance for Portland food service businesses and institutions goes into effect on October 1, 2019.Read More…
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Purpose of the policy
To reduce plastic litter and to reduce the use of energy and resources, including fossil fuels, needed to make items that are only used once.
Starting October 1, 2019, businesses in Portland cannot automatically include plastic straws, stirrers, utensils or individually packaged condiments in a customer’s order for dine-in, drive-thru, take-out or delivery. These items can only be provided upon request.
Which items are included?
Plastic straws, stirrers, utensils and individually packaged condiments.
Utensils include plastic forks, spoons and knives. Condiments include individually packaged servings of ketchup, mustard, relish, mayonnaise, hot sauce, coffee creamer, jelly and jam and soy sauce.
What about “compostable” plastics?
This by-request-only policy applies to all plastics, even those labeled “biodegradable,” “compostable” or “made from plants.”
These items cannot be composted in Portland’s compost program. Additionally, research has shown these products can have negative environmental impacts equal to or greater than conventional plastics . They are also unlikely to reduce plastic pollution in the ocean, as it is not clear that they readily break down in a marine environment .
Reducing plastics of all types helps reduce litter and negative environmental impacts.
What’s required of businesses?
Dine-in: Plastic single-use items can only be provided after the customer requests them.
Fast food, take-out and delivery: Plastic single-use items can only be provided if the customer requests them. It's also acceptable for the employee to ask the customer if they want them and to provide them if the customer responds affirmatively.
Counter Service: Cafeterias and establishments designed for counter service can provide plastic utensils at self-service stations.
Web or app orders: Plastic single-use items can be provided only after the customer has been prompted in the ordering process and has requested them.
Which businesses must comply?
Retail food and beverage establishments including:
How businesses benefit
By reducing the quantities of single-use plastic items, businesses can save money through reduced purchasing.
Switching to reusable dishware and cutlery in dine-in situations provides customers with a higher-quality dining experience and reduces purchasing and disposal costs. Customers expect businesses to reduce waste whenever possible. In a recent survey, respondents were overwhelmingly supportive of City action to reduce single-use plastics.
Enforcement and penalties
Businesses found in violation of the policy will receive a written warning from the City of Portland. Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) staff will work with businesses to achieve compliance and will consider unique circumstances when evaluating the level of compliance. If compliance is not reached fines are set at $100 for the first violation, $200 for the second, and $500 for any subsequent violation in the same calendar year.
Read the policy documents and find out more about policy development and public feedback.
Oregon Senate Bill 90 was passed on May 29, 2019, by the Oregon Legislative Assembly. This State bill also restricts straws to “by request” only, but the State bill does not preempt Portland’s bill. Businesses within Portland’s city limits will need to comply with Portland’s policy.
 Packaging Material Attributes, Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality
 Biodegradable Plastics and Marine Litter. Misconceptions, concerns and impacts on marine environments, United Nations Environment Programme