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Important update to “extra plastics” recycling

Changes to “Extra plastics” recycling

Do you collect non-curbside plastics to drop off at a local recycling depot? Commonly collected non-curbside plastics include plastic bags, take-out containers, and other plastics that can’t go into your regular work or home curbside mixed recycling bin.

Non curbside plastics

If you collect these items at work or at home, please be aware that many recycling drop-off facilities have suspended their acceptance of these plastics:

  • Far West Recycling, a recycling depot with multiple Portland locations, has stopped accepting non-curbside plastics as of September 12, 2017. They are still accepting limited types of plastic bottles.
  • B-Line, which has offered pick-up service for these extra plastics, will continue picking up polystyrene (commonly known as Styrofoam), but will suspend collection of all other plastics as of September 29, 2017.
  • New Seasons Market will stop accepting plastic bags, to-go “clamshells” and other non-curbside plastics as of October 1, 2017.
  • Other grocery stores may or may not continue to accept plastic bags or other plastics; please check with the individual store.

Metro, the Portland area’s regional government, is tracking the issue. To get the most up-to-date information on where non-curbside plastics are being accepted, use Metro’s Find a recycler online database or call their Recycling Information Hotline at 503-234-3000. Read more about the change on Metro’s website.

Why the change? Changes to global recycling markets are making it too difficult for local recycling depots to sell these types of plastics. The countries that typically accept non-curbside plastics for manufacturing new products have stopped buying material at this time.

Is this temporary or permanent? It is currently unknown when, or whether, the markets will improve for these plastics.

What now? For plastics that are not currently being accepted anywhere, you should put them in the garbage. You could also store them and check back with Find a recycler to see if anything changes in the future, but we don’t currently know when, or if, this will change.

Curbside recycling remains the same

These changes do not impact your work or home curbside mixed recycling.

Plastics allowed in Portland's curbside recycling program

Recycling is great, but reducing and reusing is even better

Recycling is a great way to reduce the energy and natural resources needed to make products. However, you can save even more energy and natural resources by reducing the amount of plastics and other “stuff” you use.

How? Buy in bulk to avoid packaging, bring your own reusable water bottle and coffee mug, and if you eat out, sign up for a reusable take-out container program.

Reusable alternatives to one-time-use plastics