Will collecting materials for composting attract pests?
With proper, leak-proof interior collection containers, regular emptying of these containers into the larger collection bins, and frequent collection by the hauler, there should be no increase in pest problems. In fact, these problems may be reduced through better-organized, cleaner work and service areas.
If pest problems do occur, more frequent bin washing, using hot water and a small amount of bleach, oxygen-based bleach alternative, or baking soda should resolve the problem. Make sure that all wash water is disposed of via the sanitary sewer system and not the storm drains. Also, keep bins and garbage storage areas in good shape without gaps and holes in structures and bins that can allow pests to enter.
If you are having problems with fruit flies, refer to the information on natural control measures and trapping in the fact sheet available on the Portland Composts! website listed below. You can also call the hotline (503) 823-7037 to obtain sample fruit fly traps and ordering information.
How about odor problems?
To minimize odors, regularly empty collection containers and periodically rinse them with soap and hot water. Remember, these same materials were present in your garbage before, they are just being separated for collection and processing. Washing bins as mentioned above will resolve both odor and pest challenges.
How much “contamination” (non-compostable material) is acceptable in the compost bin?
No contamination is acceptable in the Portland Composts! program due to its negative impact on the safety, appearance, and marketability of the finished compost product.
The best rule of thumb is this: if you’re not sure an item is compostable, dispose of it as garbage until you can determine that it is, in fact, acceptable. Make every effort to keep plastics, foil, metal, and especially glass out of the green bins.
Can I use regular plastic liners in my interior containers?
Try not to, because plastic is considered a contaminant in the organics program.
Biodegradable plastic bags are acceptable, but are more expensive than regular liners. To minimize expense, businesses often use them only in the green bins. Those that do choose regular liners have employees dump the contents into the large organics collection containers and throw the liners themselves into the garbage.
Some businesses choose to do without liners in the green bins, and instead wash them out regularly to enjoy the cost savings associated with purchasing fewer liners.
How do I request technical assistance and/or training for our business?
Call Portland Composts! at (503) 823-7037 and we will schedule a contractor to assist you. Technical assistance and training is available at no charge to participating businesses.
What are the keys to success?
First, the more food waste you can keep out of your garbage, the less garbage you have to be hauled away. Make correct separation of organics from trash a core job requirement for your employees. Management must be serious about effective participation for a business to get the most from the program.
Second, make sure that the system set up within your business for separating and transporting organics to the larger collection bins is easy for your employees, and that the overall workload is as evenly distributed as possible. Our technical assistance and training can help you with this element.
Third, reward employees for effective participation in the organics program if possible. A little recognition can go a long way toward establishing a “recycling-positive” culture within your business.
Fourth, monitor the relative volumes of garbage and organics being collected by your hauler after you initiate the program at your business, and adjust service levels to match the actual volumes of materials. Also, keep track of what is being collected and make sure you are being billed correctly.
What if my business is having problems participating in Portland Composts?
For short-term issues, such as missed pickups, driver conduct, etc., contact your hauler and try to resolve the issue directly with them. For chronic issues that can’t be resolved directly with the hauler, contact Portland Composts! at (503) 823-7037 and we will connect you with staff to assist you.
Should all surplus food go into the green bin?
Edible food that has not been served to customers can be donated to food rescue organizations. Look in the Portland Composts! brochure, or call Metro at (503) 234-3000.