Skip to Main Content View Text-Only

The City of Portland, Oregon

Sustainability at Work

Providing free tools and expertise to achieve your goals

Phone: 503-823-7037


Recycling Q&A

Tell me again... can this be recycled?

We hear from a lot of people who say, "My coworkers don't know how to recycle!"

That’s why we offer Recycling Refresher presentations, which are great for staff meetings or lunchtime brown-bag presentations.

Some organizations schedule a yearly refresher, others arrange for a presentation when they start to see more trash showing up in recycling, or recyclables showing up in trash.

Our presentations clarify commonly confused items, such as:

Coffee cups go in the trash

Coffee Cups (trash)

Take-out containers-plastic or paper (trash)

Soda cups-plastic or paper (trash)

 Yogurt containers can go into recyclingPlastic bags go in the trash

Plastic – ignore the numbers! Only plastics shaped like a tub or with a neck (like soda bottles or milk jugs) can be recycled in Portland's city-wide recycling system.

Plastic bags (trash)

If you have “additional recycling” collections – like for plastic bags, rigid plastics – or composting, we’ll customize our presentation to what your staff have available to them.

We also answer common questions like:

  • If grocery stores take plastic bags, why can’t I put them in my home/work recycling?
  • Why can’t lids go in recycling?
  • Why can’t things labeled “compostable” go into my home/work composting?

We encourage you and your coworkers to bring items to the Q&A that most commonly cause confusion in your workplace. We’ll let you know if they’re recyclable, compostable or if it’s best to put it in the trash.

Recycling can be confusing, especially because it varies so widely across the country, and even the state. But recycling right - getting the right things into recycling and keeping the wrong things out – keeps our local recycling systems running smoothly and effectively. We want people to recycle as much as they can, but we also want to keep out items that cause problems at local recycling facilities.

Contact us to schedule a presentation for your workplace.