Composting Curbside Makes Portland Proud

In Portland, Oregon, the trash trucks no longer rumble through the neighborhoods every week. That’s because the city has embarked on a new way of dealing with trash, instead they pick up composted food waste mixed with yard trimmings weekly and now do half as many regular trash pick ups a month.

A story in the WSJ showed a chart that proves a 44% decrease in trash sent to the landfill. Now, 14,600 tons of compost goes to a composting yard to become a valuable black loam.  As a result of this new approach, the city’s residents have jumbo sized trash containers, and are issued small pails to put food waste in mixed with clippings and leaves.  People have also realized that egg cartons and pizza containers are compostable too.

Other cities are taking notice–delegations from Santa Fe, Marin County and San Antonio have flocked to Portland to find out how they made such a huge decrease in landfill use. Some of the older residents have had to gag over the smell of composted food, but the leaves and grass seem to help out with this.

The city set up a phone line to give advice to confused Portlanders about what they can composts and how to deal with smells. More than 8000 people called in, and fliers in four languages advised people to put the food in the compost, not in the trash.