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


Why compost?

What you do matters

Businesses are responsible for over half the food waste thrown away in the Portland region [1]. That’s about 100,000 tons of food waste per year!

When food scraps are sent to the landfill, they decompose and create methane, a greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change and is over twenty-five percent more potent than carbon dioxide (C02) [2].

Make clean energy

Food scraps collected at Portland businesses go to a facility that converts food waste into biogas, which provides energy for local homes and businesses. Learn more.

Help plants grow

In addition to creating energy, the facility that processes businesses’ food scraps create fertilizer for local farms and vineyards. Learn more.

What happens to your business food waste

Benefits to your business

Restaurants can lower food expenses by taking note of recurring waste: Once you start collecting food waste in its own bin, you will more easily notice food that is frequently being thrown out. Seeing the same thing in the bin every day? Reduce how much of it you order and prepare, saving both time and money.

“Composting helped us reduce food costs because employees see what food is being discarded and can identify and reduce waste.” – Javier, Operations Manager

Restaurants can reduce garbage: By separating food scraps to compost, you may be able to down-size your garbage container or reduce how frequently it’s picked up.

Attract and retain staff: Employees want to feel good about their jobs and its positive influence on the community. Compost is a great way that staff can make a hands-on positive difference.

“Our employees see it as doing the right thing and appreciate having it.” – Brandon, Manager

Meet customer expectations: Many customers care about supporting businesses that “do the right thing.” Many Portlanders compost at home, and they expect local businesses to compost as well.


  1. Food in the garbage: By the numbers, Metro
  2. Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Understanding Global Warming Potentials, EPA

Learn more