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The City of Portland, Oregon

Sustainability at Work

Providing free tools and expertise to achieve your goals

Phone: 503-823-7037


How to Recycle for Business

Recent news about changes in the international recycling market have raised concerns about Portland’s recycling system. Portland’s recycling has not changed. Follow the recycling guidelines below and keep recycling at home and at work. If changes occur in the future, we will let you know.

Workplace recycling reduces waste, saves natural resources, prevents pollution and helps to build a stronger economy.

Best practices for workplace recycling include:

  1. Making recycling as convenient as garbage. Ideally, containers are paired together. Order free recycling boxes.
  2. Making it clear at a glance what goes in each container. Order free recycling posters and stickers to label containers.
  3. Training employees how to use the program, and to know who in the organization can answer their questions. Sustainability at Work offers employee training and additional presentations to assist you in increasing recycling awareness in the workplace.
  4. Having good communication with your janitorial service. They often know when something needs improvement and are eager to help you maximize your program and meet your recycling goals.

All businesses in the City of Portland can recycle all the materials seen on the recycling guide below. If there is an item your business or building is not currently recycling, call your property manager or garbage and recycling company to set up service.

Find out where to recycle additional items like electronics, take-out containers, batteries, light bulbs and bulky items by calling Metro's Recycling Hotline at 503-234-3000. 

Ever wondered why some things can be recycled and others cannot?

Watch this short video to see what happens to recyclables after they leave your office and how they're transformed into new products.

Recycling Guide (download poster version)
paper NEWSPAPERS MAGAZINES CATALOGS Include ads, inserts, postcards, junk mail, and phone books. Do not include rubber bands or plastic bags.
cardboard   CARDBOARD Flatten large cardboard boxes. Do not include wax-coated cardboard, take-out food containers, or pizza boxes.
MILK CARTONS DRINK BOXES Include aseptic drink and soup boxes. Rinse to remove food.  
SCRAP PAPER Include paper of all colors (tape, staples, clips, and spiral notebooks okay), envelopes (windows & labels okay), wrapping paper and cereal boxes. Do not include coffee cups or disposable plates; frozen food boxes; label backing sheets; paper towels, tissue, or napkins; or paper coated with food, wax, foil or plastic.
plastics PLASTIC TUBS AND BOTTLES Plastics recycling in Portland is based on size and shape not number. Put only these types of plastics in your blue recycling roll cart: bottles with neck smaller than base (6 oz or larger), tubs (6 oz or larger), or buckets (5 gal or smaller). 
Rinse containers.
Do not include lids or take-out food containers. Do not include bottles that have come in contact with motor oil, pesticides or herbicides.
metal cans METAL CANS Cans include: aluminum, tin and steel food cans and empty, dry, metal paint cans. Rinse food cans to remove food particles. Place metal lids inside cans and crimp closed. Do not flatten. Do not include lids (unless they are attached to, or contained within, cans).
AEROSOL CANS Cans must be empty. Do not include plastic caps. Do not flatten or puncture cans or remove nozzles.
foil ALUMINUM FOIL Remove food from foil. Crumple into loosely-packed balls.  
  SCRAP METAL Include scrap metal that is smaller than 30 inches in any direction and less than 30 pounds. Do not include metal that has plastic, food, or other non-metal materials attached.
glass GLASS Recycle glass in a separate container. Do not include lightbulbs, dishware, drinking glasses, or broken glass of any kind.