Reduce Food Waste at Your Business

Food recovery hierarchyThrowing out food is a major missed opportunity. There are enormous benefits if we handle our food a little differently. You can order just the right amount, use first-in-first-out inventory management, reduce portion sizes, and promote your eco-friendly efforts to customers and colleagues

If you find yourself with surplus food, donation may be an option. And be sure to divert food scraps from your garbage where collection service is required or available. The information below feature quick steps to get started and links to learn more.

We are available to support you with free personalized assistance and tools, referrals to food assistance organizations, and share best practices in preventing food waste from industry leaders.  

Meet Local Requirements

trash can

Implementation of a regional requirement begins March 2022 and many businesses within the Metro boundary will need to comply by 2023. All businesses generating more than 1 roll cart of food waste per week will be required to separate their food scraps by the end of 2024.  

Here’s how easy it is to get started – watch this short video and follow these simple steps below. More detail on each of these steps are provided under the “Set up a compost program” section.

107521
1

Set up service 

Contact your franchised waste provider to learn more about service options (size and frequency) and to start Food Only service. In many urban cities and within the urban unincorporated area there is no extra cost for the service.

*Property owners and managers must allow for the collection of food waste by these businesses or help secure the service for lessees that are covered under the requirement.

2

Set up internal containers with labels (free signage and stickers are available)

3

Put all food scraps* in compost instead of garbage

*This requirement does not apply to public or customer-facing areas of your business. It only applies to food scraps handled by employees.

107521

Our staff are here to help. Contact us at 503-742-4458 or greenbiz@clackamas.us

The cities of Gladstone, Happy Valley, Lake Oswego, Oregon City, Milwaukie, West Linn, and Wilsonville have designated Clackamas County waste prevention staff to provide free personalized assistance and supplies to all business in the county impacted by this requirement.

107521

Businesses will be notified of the Food Waste Requirements one year before enforcement begins. 

107521

Enforcement is phased based on businesses’ estimated volume of food scraps.

  • March 2023
    Businesses that produce over 1,000 pounds of food waste or more per week are required to compost by March 31, 2023. 1000 pounds is about four full 60-gallon compost roll carts.  
  • September 2023
    Businesses that produce over 500 pounds of food waste or more per week are required to compost by September 30, 2023. 500 pounds is about two full 60-gallon compost roll carts. 
  • September 2024
    Businesses that produce 250 pounds of food waste or more per week are required to compost by September 30, 2024. 250 pounds is about one full 60-gallon compost roll cart. 
107521
1

Set up service 

Franchised waste haulers in the Urban areas provide food scraps collection service. In many cities and within the unincorporated area there is no extra cost for the service. Contact your waste hauler to learn more about service options (size and frequency) and to start food only service.

We can also help you initiate service; identify rates and when/if your business is subject to local requirements.

2

Set up internal containers with labels

Outdoor containers

trash canYour garbage company will provide compost containers for your main waste collection area. These may be roll carts, dumpsters, or a compactor. All containers – food scraps, recycling, and garbage – should be well-labeled with stickers showing what can and cannot go in each container.

Indoor containers

Place containers where food is prepped and plates are scraped. Small containers work best since food waste is heavy. They’re easier to lift, carry, empty and clean. We provide a limited supply of free containers in a variety of sizes.

Trash cans and buckets
  • Buckets with handles are easy to carry, empty and wash. They can be used on top or beneath food prep areas, or nest a square bucket for food scraps within a slim garbage containers to save on space. You can reuse old food storage buckets or purchase green buckets. 
  • Slim containers are another option. They often hold 23 gallons and measure around 30" tall x 25” wide x 13.5” deep. Because food waste is heavy and certified-compostable bags aren’t as strong as regular plastic bags, empty the container before it's completely filled.

Posters and stickers

food only posterUse our free posters and stickers to label all waste containers clearly. 

These labels show staff what should and shouldn’t go in each container, and are part of criteria for meeting local requirements. 

Educational posters are especially important since the guidelines for composting at home are different than at work, and an on-the-spot reminder is helpful.

Always use posters and stickers provided by your local waste authority (Clackamas County), since guidelines outside of the tri-county metro area are different.

Get free posters and stickers

Bags and bin liners

bin liners You don’t have to use bin liners, but many restaurants use them to keep containers clean and to reduce mess and odors.

Advantages of using bags: Minimizes the need to wash containers and can reduce odor or fruit fly problems during the summer. Keeps exterior collection containers cleaner. Makes emptying containers easier.

Disadvantages of using bags: Cost. Compostable bags can degrade if not used within a certain timeframe. Compostable bags are generally not as strong as conventional plastic bags. Double bagging may be necessary.

Only BPI-certified compostable bags are allowed in Portland’s compost program. Find BPI-certified compostable bags at restaurant supply stores or through janitorial supply vendors.

Size of bags: 32-gallon bags generally fit slim containers (slim containers are around 30" tall x 25” wide x 13.5” deep).

3

Train staff

Before you start separating food waste, make sure that staff understands what goes in, where to empty the containers, and how to keep containers clean. We can help with this. Invite our staff during a huddle or have staff watch these training videos. Trainings are available in English and Spanish. 

What goes in, what stays out

Label all waste containers with stickers and waste areas with posters.  

Business compost is food only. No napkins, paper products, or other non-food items. Conduct occasional spot checks to make sure non-food items aren’t going into the compost bin. Correct issues before they become a habit.

food only poster

Lift safely

Compost containers can get heavy quickly. Don’t fill containers to the top. This is true for outdoor containers too. When emptying internal containers into a dumpster or large roll cart, it's best to have two people lift and dump the container, especially with the larger 23-gallon slim container.

Clean containers

Containers should be cleaned regularly to prevent odors and fruit flies. For sanitation reasons, containers must be cleaned out at the dump sink, not the food prep sinks.

Five-gallon buckets can go in many dishwashers for easy cleaning. For larger indoor containers, use soap and water and make sure to dispose of the rinse water in a sanitary sewer drain (not storm drains).

4

Start separating food scraps

Incorporate the new program details into your garbage tasks and general workflow. Remember, the program is for food only: meat, dairy, fish, bread, pasta, coffee grounds, peels, shells, bones, spoiled food, and plate scrapings. 

Do NOT include liquids, paper products, packaging, or anything that is not food. Compostable packaging and utensils are not allowed.

107881
1

Identify food to be donated  

  • What type of shelf-stable, perishable or prepared foods could be donated? Prioritize the donation of healthy food most desired by food donation organizations and the people they serve. Don’t worry about donating complete meals. Excess ingredients can be made into meals at the food assistance organizations as well. Avoid sending unusable food they may be burdened with disposing of later. 
  • Access how much food could be donated and how often: every day, once a week or once a month?
  • Follow food-safety practices for handling preparation, cooking, cooling, and storing. Concerned about liability? Learn more about the Good Samaritan Laws.
2

Find a local food donation partner 

  • For smaller, more sporadic amounts, consider donating to employees first, then look for food assistance programs in your area.
  • Let us help you identify potential partnerships within our community. We have a good understanding of who takes what and capacity. Connect with us
  • Search the Oregon Food Bank tool to get an idea of what organizations are in your neighborhood that you might partner with.
3

Plan accordingly and establish a routine

  • A donation partner will need to assess the time, effort and coordination necessary to pick up or receive your donation. Often these are volunteer ran organizations. 
  • Work with a chosen donation partner to set up a process to identify, gather, safely store, label, and record food for donation and create a pick-up schedule.
4

Train staff

  • Train employees to identify, safely store, and label food properly for donation. We can help. Assistance in English and Spanish. 
  • Build it into your standard operating procedures. Post donation protocols and tracking logs near storage and prep areas. 

1-2-3 poster
Download the Business Guide to Donating Food flyer

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You are protected by both state and federal laws when you donate food in good faith. The federal Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act and Oregon Laws (ORS Chapter 30.890 and 30.892) state that the donor shall not be subject to civil or criminal liability arising from the nature, age, packaging, or condition of apparently wholesome food or an apparently fit grocery product that is donated in good faith to a nonprofit organization for ultimate distribution to needy individuals.

107826

The federal enhanced tax deduction for food donation, Internal Revenue Code 170(e)(3), states that businesses may be eligible to deduct some of the cost to produce the food and part of the lost profit. For more information about how the deduction works, visit Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic and consult your accountant for eligibility requirements.

107826

There are several different types of food assistance programs across the county, and region. The kind of food items you may have to donate (shelf-stable, perishable or ready-to-eat) will determine what type of agency to work with. Please note that some agencies help their clients with food in multiple ways. We’re familiar with all the options in Clackamas County and can connect you with suggestions on where to start. 
Some general guidelines for organizations include:

  • Food Bank/Pantry: The service offered usually mirrors a shopping-style experience that allows clients to pick and choose items that are shelf-stable, fresh or frozen from each category of food.
  • Meal Site: This service tends to consist of a hot meal, dessert and a beverage.
  • Emergency/Supplemental Food Box: This is a prepacked bag or box of food that consists of pantry staples and shelf-stable items that can be supplemented with fresh and frozen items.

If you are a representative from one of these food assistance programs, please connect with us. 
 

107826
  • Expose where the largest sources of food waste were generated internally
  • Underscore areas in the restaurant where staff can most effectively reduce food waste as a team
  • Reveal the size and scope of an “invisible food waste problem” and make it more “visible” and understandable
  • Highlight that food waste reduction can save money
107866
  • Offer multiple portion sizes such as “full” and “half” so guests can customize based on appetite.
  • Serve smaller portions of side dishes with “bottomless” or “refill” options.
  • Allow customers to choose the sides they prefer and train staff to ask for preferences.
  • Implement an “eat half, take half” option that wraps up half a portion before it’s served.
  • Print storage and re-heat instructions on doggie bags or take-home containers to maintain the quality of leftovers when guests take them home to enjoy. (We have these available for you!) 
107866
  • Printing it on the menu.
  • Including it on the website.
  • Printing it on packaging and supplies (e.g., napkins, to-go containers).
  • Sharing it on social media.
  • Showing it on wall plaques or posters
  • Having staff tell them about it.
  • Learn more 
107866

Businesses across the region are reducing food waste. Learn from local champions at Food Waste Stops With Me — a collaboration between city and county governments in the Portland area, Metro, Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association, and Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality.

107866
  • Businesses across the region are reducing food waste. Learn from local champions at Food Waste Stops With Me — a collaboration between city and county governments in the Portland area, Metro, Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association, and Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality.
  • The Bomber Restaurant and Catering in Milwaukie highlights how to divert food waste from the landfill while saving money and improving company culture. Listen to the Boiled Down podcast: Food Waste Stops With Me.
  • Embassy Suites by Hilton Portland Washington Square engages employees and guests to prevent food waste. Watch the video.
  • Old Spaghetti Factory in Tigard developed a sustainable compost program. Learn how
  • How 8 Portland restaurants minimize food waste 
  • Testimonials from 5 food waste champions in Washington County.  
     
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Set Up A Compost Program

Learn how to set up and maintain a food scraps compost program at your restaurant, grocery store, bakery, or other food-related business.

107881
1

Set up service 

Contact your franchised waste provider to learn more about service options (size and frequency) and to start Food Only service. In many urban cities and within the urban unincorporated area there is no extra cost for the service.

*Property owners and managers must allow for the collection of food waste by these businesses or help secure the service for lessees that are covered under the requirement.

2

Set up internal containers with labels (free signage and stickers are available)

3

Put all food scraps* in compost instead of garbage

*This requirement does not apply to public or customer-facing areas of your business. It only applies to food scraps handled by employees.

107521

Our staff are here to help. Contact us at 503-742-4458 or greenbiz@clackamas.us

The cities of Gladstone, Happy Valley, Lake Oswego, Oregon City, Milwaukie, West Linn, and Wilsonville have designated Clackamas County waste prevention staff to provide free personalized assistance and supplies to all business in the county impacted by this requirement.

107521

Businesses will be notified of the Food Waste Requirements one year before enforcement begins. 

107521

Enforcement is phased based on businesses’ estimated volume of food scraps.

  • March 2023
    Businesses that produce over 1,000 pounds of food waste or more per week are required to compost by March 31, 2023. 1000 pounds is about four full 60-gallon compost roll carts.  
  • September 2023
    Businesses that produce over 500 pounds of food waste or more per week are required to compost by September 30, 2023. 500 pounds is about two full 60-gallon compost roll carts. 
  • September 2024
    Businesses that produce 250 pounds of food waste or more per week are required to compost by September 30, 2024. 250 pounds is about one full 60-gallon compost roll cart. 
107521
1

Set up service 

Franchised waste haulers in the Urban areas provide food scraps collection service. In many cities and within the unincorporated area there is no extra cost for the service. Contact your waste hauler to learn more about service options (size and frequency) and to start food only service.

We can also help you initiate service; identify rates and when/if your business is subject to local requirements.

2

Set up internal containers with labels

Outdoor containers

trash canYour garbage company will provide compost containers for your main waste collection area. These may be roll carts, dumpsters, or a compactor. All containers – food scraps, recycling, and garbage – should be well-labeled with stickers showing what can and cannot go in each container.

Indoor containers

Place containers where food is prepped and plates are scraped. Small containers work best since food waste is heavy. They’re easier to lift, carry, empty and clean. We provide a limited supply of free containers in a variety of sizes.

Trash cans and buckets
  • Buckets with handles are easy to carry, empty and wash. They can be used on top or beneath food prep areas, or nest a square bucket for food scraps within a slim garbage containers to save on space. You can reuse old food storage buckets or purchase green buckets. 
  • Slim containers are another option. They often hold 23 gallons and measure around 30" tall x 25” wide x 13.5” deep. Because food waste is heavy and certified-compostable bags aren’t as strong as regular plastic bags, empty the container before it's completely filled.

Posters and stickers

food only posterUse our free posters and stickers to label all waste containers clearly. 

These labels show staff what should and shouldn’t go in each container, and are part of criteria for meeting local requirements. 

Educational posters are especially important since the guidelines for composting at home are different than at work, and an on-the-spot reminder is helpful.

Always use posters and stickers provided by your local waste authority (Clackamas County), since guidelines outside of the tri-county metro area are different.

Get free posters and stickers

Bags and bin liners

bin liners You don’t have to use bin liners, but many restaurants use them to keep containers clean and to reduce mess and odors.

Advantages of using bags: Minimizes the need to wash containers and can reduce odor or fruit fly problems during the summer. Keeps exterior collection containers cleaner. Makes emptying containers easier.

Disadvantages of using bags: Cost. Compostable bags can degrade if not used within a certain timeframe. Compostable bags are generally not as strong as conventional plastic bags. Double bagging may be necessary.

Only BPI-certified compostable bags are allowed in Portland’s compost program. Find BPI-certified compostable bags at restaurant supply stores or through janitorial supply vendors.

Size of bags: 32-gallon bags generally fit slim containers (slim containers are around 30" tall x 25” wide x 13.5” deep).

3

Train staff

Before you start separating food waste, make sure that staff understands what goes in, where to empty the containers, and how to keep containers clean. We can help with this. Invite our staff during a huddle or have staff watch these training videos. Trainings are available in English and Spanish. 

What goes in, what stays out

Label all waste containers with stickers and waste areas with posters.  

Business compost is food only. No napkins, paper products, or other non-food items. Conduct occasional spot checks to make sure non-food items aren’t going into the compost bin. Correct issues before they become a habit.

food only poster

Lift safely

Compost containers can get heavy quickly. Don’t fill containers to the top. This is true for outdoor containers too. When emptying internal containers into a dumpster or large roll cart, it's best to have two people lift and dump the container, especially with the larger 23-gallon slim container.

Clean containers

Containers should be cleaned regularly to prevent odors and fruit flies. For sanitation reasons, containers must be cleaned out at the dump sink, not the food prep sinks.

Five-gallon buckets can go in many dishwashers for easy cleaning. For larger indoor containers, use soap and water and make sure to dispose of the rinse water in a sanitary sewer drain (not storm drains).

4

Start separating food scraps

Incorporate the new program details into your garbage tasks and general workflow. Remember, the program is for food only: meat, dairy, fish, bread, pasta, coffee grounds, peels, shells, bones, spoiled food, and plate scrapings. 

Do NOT include liquids, paper products, packaging, or anything that is not food. Compostable packaging and utensils are not allowed.

107881
1

Identify food to be donated  

  • What type of shelf-stable, perishable or prepared foods could be donated? Prioritize the donation of healthy food most desired by food donation organizations and the people they serve. Don’t worry about donating complete meals. Excess ingredients can be made into meals at the food assistance organizations as well. Avoid sending unusable food they may be burdened with disposing of later. 
  • Access how much food could be donated and how often: every day, once a week or once a month?
  • Follow food-safety practices for handling preparation, cooking, cooling, and storing. Concerned about liability? Learn more about the Good Samaritan Laws.
2

Find a local food donation partner 

  • For smaller, more sporadic amounts, consider donating to employees first, then look for food assistance programs in your area.
  • Let us help you identify potential partnerships within our community. We have a good understanding of who takes what and capacity. Connect with us
  • Search the Oregon Food Bank tool to get an idea of what organizations are in your neighborhood that you might partner with.
3

Plan accordingly and establish a routine

  • A donation partner will need to assess the time, effort and coordination necessary to pick up or receive your donation. Often these are volunteer ran organizations. 
  • Work with a chosen donation partner to set up a process to identify, gather, safely store, label, and record food for donation and create a pick-up schedule.
4

Train staff

  • Train employees to identify, safely store, and label food properly for donation. We can help. Assistance in English and Spanish. 
  • Build it into your standard operating procedures. Post donation protocols and tracking logs near storage and prep areas. 

1-2-3 poster
Download the Business Guide to Donating Food flyer

107826

You are protected by both state and federal laws when you donate food in good faith. The federal Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act and Oregon Laws (ORS Chapter 30.890 and 30.892) state that the donor shall not be subject to civil or criminal liability arising from the nature, age, packaging, or condition of apparently wholesome food or an apparently fit grocery product that is donated in good faith to a nonprofit organization for ultimate distribution to needy individuals.

107826

The federal enhanced tax deduction for food donation, Internal Revenue Code 170(e)(3), states that businesses may be eligible to deduct some of the cost to produce the food and part of the lost profit. For more information about how the deduction works, visit Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic and consult your accountant for eligibility requirements.

107826

There are several different types of food assistance programs across the county, and region. The kind of food items you may have to donate (shelf-stable, perishable or ready-to-eat) will determine what type of agency to work with. Please note that some agencies help their clients with food in multiple ways. We’re familiar with all the options in Clackamas County and can connect you with suggestions on where to start. 
Some general guidelines for organizations include:

  • Food Bank/Pantry: The service offered usually mirrors a shopping-style experience that allows clients to pick and choose items that are shelf-stable, fresh or frozen from each category of food.
  • Meal Site: This service tends to consist of a hot meal, dessert and a beverage.
  • Emergency/Supplemental Food Box: This is a prepacked bag or box of food that consists of pantry staples and shelf-stable items that can be supplemented with fresh and frozen items.

If you are a representative from one of these food assistance programs, please connect with us. 
 

107826
  • Expose where the largest sources of food waste were generated internally
  • Underscore areas in the restaurant where staff can most effectively reduce food waste as a team
  • Reveal the size and scope of an “invisible food waste problem” and make it more “visible” and understandable
  • Highlight that food waste reduction can save money
107866
  • Offer multiple portion sizes such as “full” and “half” so guests can customize based on appetite.
  • Serve smaller portions of side dishes with “bottomless” or “refill” options.
  • Allow customers to choose the sides they prefer and train staff to ask for preferences.
  • Implement an “eat half, take half” option that wraps up half a portion before it’s served.
  • Print storage and re-heat instructions on doggie bags or take-home containers to maintain the quality of leftovers when guests take them home to enjoy. (We have these available for you!) 
107866
  • Printing it on the menu.
  • Including it on the website.
  • Printing it on packaging and supplies (e.g., napkins, to-go containers).
  • Sharing it on social media.
  • Showing it on wall plaques or posters
  • Having staff tell them about it.
  • Learn more 
107866

Businesses across the region are reducing food waste. Learn from local champions at Food Waste Stops With Me — a collaboration between city and county governments in the Portland area, Metro, Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association, and Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality.

107866
  • Businesses across the region are reducing food waste. Learn from local champions at Food Waste Stops With Me — a collaboration between city and county governments in the Portland area, Metro, Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association, and Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality.
  • The Bomber Restaurant and Catering in Milwaukie highlights how to divert food waste from the landfill while saving money and improving company culture. Listen to the Boiled Down podcast: Food Waste Stops With Me.
  • Embassy Suites by Hilton Portland Washington Square engages employees and guests to prevent food waste. Watch the video.
  • Old Spaghetti Factory in Tigard developed a sustainable compost program. Learn how
  • How 8 Portland restaurants minimize food waste 
  • Testimonials from 5 food waste champions in Washington County.  
     
107866

Donate Excess Food

While steps can be taken to plan and prepare food carefully, sometimes leftovers and unused ingredients are inevitable. Food banks, pantries and meal sites can take some donations. Join area grocers, restaurants, caterers and food service companies that are helping people who experience hunger.

107826
1

Set up service 

Contact your franchised waste provider to learn more about service options (size and frequency) and to start Food Only service. In many urban cities and within the urban unincorporated area there is no extra cost for the service.

*Property owners and managers must allow for the collection of food waste by these businesses or help secure the service for lessees that are covered under the requirement.

2

Set up internal containers with labels (free signage and stickers are available)

3

Put all food scraps* in compost instead of garbage

*This requirement does not apply to public or customer-facing areas of your business. It only applies to food scraps handled by employees.

107521

Our staff are here to help. Contact us at 503-742-4458 or greenbiz@clackamas.us

The cities of Gladstone, Happy Valley, Lake Oswego, Oregon City, Milwaukie, West Linn, and Wilsonville have designated Clackamas County waste prevention staff to provide free personalized assistance and supplies to all business in the county impacted by this requirement.

107521

Businesses will be notified of the Food Waste Requirements one year before enforcement begins. 

107521

Enforcement is phased based on businesses’ estimated volume of food scraps.

  • March 2023
    Businesses that produce over 1,000 pounds of food waste or more per week are required to compost by March 31, 2023. 1000 pounds is about four full 60-gallon compost roll carts.  
  • September 2023
    Businesses that produce over 500 pounds of food waste or more per week are required to compost by September 30, 2023. 500 pounds is about two full 60-gallon compost roll carts. 
  • September 2024
    Businesses that produce 250 pounds of food waste or more per week are required to compost by September 30, 2024. 250 pounds is about one full 60-gallon compost roll cart. 
107521
1

Set up service 

Franchised waste haulers in the Urban areas provide food scraps collection service. In many cities and within the unincorporated area there is no extra cost for the service. Contact your waste hauler to learn more about service options (size and frequency) and to start food only service.

We can also help you initiate service; identify rates and when/if your business is subject to local requirements.

2

Set up internal containers with labels

Outdoor containers

trash canYour garbage company will provide compost containers for your main waste collection area. These may be roll carts, dumpsters, or a compactor. All containers – food scraps, recycling, and garbage – should be well-labeled with stickers showing what can and cannot go in each container.

Indoor containers

Place containers where food is prepped and plates are scraped. Small containers work best since food waste is heavy. They’re easier to lift, carry, empty and clean. We provide a limited supply of free containers in a variety of sizes.

Trash cans and buckets
  • Buckets with handles are easy to carry, empty and wash. They can be used on top or beneath food prep areas, or nest a square bucket for food scraps within a slim garbage containers to save on space. You can reuse old food storage buckets or purchase green buckets. 
  • Slim containers are another option. They often hold 23 gallons and measure around 30" tall x 25” wide x 13.5” deep. Because food waste is heavy and certified-compostable bags aren’t as strong as regular plastic bags, empty the container before it's completely filled.

Posters and stickers

food only posterUse our free posters and stickers to label all waste containers clearly. 

These labels show staff what should and shouldn’t go in each container, and are part of criteria for meeting local requirements. 

Educational posters are especially important since the guidelines for composting at home are different than at work, and an on-the-spot reminder is helpful.

Always use posters and stickers provided by your local waste authority (Clackamas County), since guidelines outside of the tri-county metro area are different.

Get free posters and stickers

Bags and bin liners

bin liners You don’t have to use bin liners, but many restaurants use them to keep containers clean and to reduce mess and odors.

Advantages of using bags: Minimizes the need to wash containers and can reduce odor or fruit fly problems during the summer. Keeps exterior collection containers cleaner. Makes emptying containers easier.

Disadvantages of using bags: Cost. Compostable bags can degrade if not used within a certain timeframe. Compostable bags are generally not as strong as conventional plastic bags. Double bagging may be necessary.

Only BPI-certified compostable bags are allowed in Portland’s compost program. Find BPI-certified compostable bags at restaurant supply stores or through janitorial supply vendors.

Size of bags: 32-gallon bags generally fit slim containers (slim containers are around 30" tall x 25” wide x 13.5” deep).

3

Train staff

Before you start separating food waste, make sure that staff understands what goes in, where to empty the containers, and how to keep containers clean. We can help with this. Invite our staff during a huddle or have staff watch these training videos. Trainings are available in English and Spanish. 

What goes in, what stays out

Label all waste containers with stickers and waste areas with posters.  

Business compost is food only. No napkins, paper products, or other non-food items. Conduct occasional spot checks to make sure non-food items aren’t going into the compost bin. Correct issues before they become a habit.

food only poster

Lift safely

Compost containers can get heavy quickly. Don’t fill containers to the top. This is true for outdoor containers too. When emptying internal containers into a dumpster or large roll cart, it's best to have two people lift and dump the container, especially with the larger 23-gallon slim container.

Clean containers

Containers should be cleaned regularly to prevent odors and fruit flies. For sanitation reasons, containers must be cleaned out at the dump sink, not the food prep sinks.

Five-gallon buckets can go in many dishwashers for easy cleaning. For larger indoor containers, use soap and water and make sure to dispose of the rinse water in a sanitary sewer drain (not storm drains).

4

Start separating food scraps

Incorporate the new program details into your garbage tasks and general workflow. Remember, the program is for food only: meat, dairy, fish, bread, pasta, coffee grounds, peels, shells, bones, spoiled food, and plate scrapings. 

Do NOT include liquids, paper products, packaging, or anything that is not food. Compostable packaging and utensils are not allowed.

107881
1

Identify food to be donated  

  • What type of shelf-stable, perishable or prepared foods could be donated? Prioritize the donation of healthy food most desired by food donation organizations and the people they serve. Don’t worry about donating complete meals. Excess ingredients can be made into meals at the food assistance organizations as well. Avoid sending unusable food they may be burdened with disposing of later. 
  • Access how much food could be donated and how often: every day, once a week or once a month?
  • Follow food-safety practices for handling preparation, cooking, cooling, and storing. Concerned about liability? Learn more about the Good Samaritan Laws.
2

Find a local food donation partner 

  • For smaller, more sporadic amounts, consider donating to employees first, then look for food assistance programs in your area.
  • Let us help you identify potential partnerships within our community. We have a good understanding of who takes what and capacity. Connect with us
  • Search the Oregon Food Bank tool to get an idea of what organizations are in your neighborhood that you might partner with.
3

Plan accordingly and establish a routine

  • A donation partner will need to assess the time, effort and coordination necessary to pick up or receive your donation. Often these are volunteer ran organizations. 
  • Work with a chosen donation partner to set up a process to identify, gather, safely store, label, and record food for donation and create a pick-up schedule.
4

Train staff

  • Train employees to identify, safely store, and label food properly for donation. We can help. Assistance in English and Spanish. 
  • Build it into your standard operating procedures. Post donation protocols and tracking logs near storage and prep areas. 

1-2-3 poster
Download the Business Guide to Donating Food flyer

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You are protected by both state and federal laws when you donate food in good faith. The federal Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act and Oregon Laws (ORS Chapter 30.890 and 30.892) state that the donor shall not be subject to civil or criminal liability arising from the nature, age, packaging, or condition of apparently wholesome food or an apparently fit grocery product that is donated in good faith to a nonprofit organization for ultimate distribution to needy individuals.

107826

The federal enhanced tax deduction for food donation, Internal Revenue Code 170(e)(3), states that businesses may be eligible to deduct some of the cost to produce the food and part of the lost profit. For more information about how the deduction works, visit Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic and consult your accountant for eligibility requirements.

107826

There are several different types of food assistance programs across the county, and region. The kind of food items you may have to donate (shelf-stable, perishable or ready-to-eat) will determine what type of agency to work with. Please note that some agencies help their clients with food in multiple ways. We’re familiar with all the options in Clackamas County and can connect you with suggestions on where to start. 
Some general guidelines for organizations include:

  • Food Bank/Pantry: The service offered usually mirrors a shopping-style experience that allows clients to pick and choose items that are shelf-stable, fresh or frozen from each category of food.
  • Meal Site: This service tends to consist of a hot meal, dessert and a beverage.
  • Emergency/Supplemental Food Box: This is a prepacked bag or box of food that consists of pantry staples and shelf-stable items that can be supplemented with fresh and frozen items.

If you are a representative from one of these food assistance programs, please connect with us. 
 

107826
  • Expose where the largest sources of food waste were generated internally
  • Underscore areas in the restaurant where staff can most effectively reduce food waste as a team
  • Reveal the size and scope of an “invisible food waste problem” and make it more “visible” and understandable
  • Highlight that food waste reduction can save money
107866
  • Offer multiple portion sizes such as “full” and “half” so guests can customize based on appetite.
  • Serve smaller portions of side dishes with “bottomless” or “refill” options.
  • Allow customers to choose the sides they prefer and train staff to ask for preferences.
  • Implement an “eat half, take half” option that wraps up half a portion before it’s served.
  • Print storage and re-heat instructions on doggie bags or take-home containers to maintain the quality of leftovers when guests take them home to enjoy. (We have these available for you!) 
107866
  • Printing it on the menu.
  • Including it on the website.
  • Printing it on packaging and supplies (e.g., napkins, to-go containers).
  • Sharing it on social media.
  • Showing it on wall plaques or posters
  • Having staff tell them about it.
  • Learn more 
107866

Businesses across the region are reducing food waste. Learn from local champions at Food Waste Stops With Me — a collaboration between city and county governments in the Portland area, Metro, Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association, and Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality.

107866
  • Businesses across the region are reducing food waste. Learn from local champions at Food Waste Stops With Me — a collaboration between city and county governments in the Portland area, Metro, Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association, and Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality.
  • The Bomber Restaurant and Catering in Milwaukie highlights how to divert food waste from the landfill while saving money and improving company culture. Listen to the Boiled Down podcast: Food Waste Stops With Me.
  • Embassy Suites by Hilton Portland Washington Square engages employees and guests to prevent food waste. Watch the video.
  • Old Spaghetti Factory in Tigard developed a sustainable compost program. Learn how
  • How 8 Portland restaurants minimize food waste 
  • Testimonials from 5 food waste champions in Washington County.  
     
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Prevent Food Waste

The restaurant industry is in a unique position to help reduce the amount of food that goes into the trash. An operation can end up throwing out 4% to 10% of the food it purchases, and that percentage can rise in buffet-style concepts and at restaurants with diverse menu offerings requiring large and varied food inventories. The first step is always the hardest. Build a plan and get started.

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1

Set up service 

Contact your franchised waste provider to learn more about service options (size and frequency) and to start Food Only service. In many urban cities and within the urban unincorporated area there is no extra cost for the service.

*Property owners and managers must allow for the collection of food waste by these businesses or help secure the service for lessees that are covered under the requirement.

2

Set up internal containers with labels (free signage and stickers are available)

3

Put all food scraps* in compost instead of garbage

*This requirement does not apply to public or customer-facing areas of your business. It only applies to food scraps handled by employees.

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Our staff are here to help. Contact us at 503-742-4458 or greenbiz@clackamas.us

The cities of Gladstone, Happy Valley, Lake Oswego, Oregon City, Milwaukie, West Linn, and Wilsonville have designated Clackamas County waste prevention staff to provide free personalized assistance and supplies to all business in the county impacted by this requirement.

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Businesses will be notified of the Food Waste Requirements one year before enforcement begins. 

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Enforcement is phased based on businesses’ estimated volume of food scraps.

  • March 2023
    Businesses that produce over 1,000 pounds of food waste or more per week are required to compost by March 31, 2023. 1000 pounds is about four full 60-gallon compost roll carts.  
  • September 2023
    Businesses that produce over 500 pounds of food waste or more per week are required to compost by September 30, 2023. 500 pounds is about two full 60-gallon compost roll carts. 
  • September 2024
    Businesses that produce 250 pounds of food waste or more per week are required to compost by September 30, 2024. 250 pounds is about one full 60-gallon compost roll cart. 
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1

Set up service 

Franchised waste haulers in the Urban areas provide food scraps collection service. In many cities and within the unincorporated area there is no extra cost for the service. Contact your waste hauler to learn more about service options (size and frequency) and to start food only service.

We can also help you initiate service; identify rates and when/if your business is subject to local requirements.

2

Set up internal containers with labels

Outdoor containers

trash canYour garbage company will provide compost containers for your main waste collection area. These may be roll carts, dumpsters, or a compactor. All containers – food scraps, recycling, and garbage – should be well-labeled with stickers showing what can and cannot go in each container.

Indoor containers

Place containers where food is prepped and plates are scraped. Small containers work best since food waste is heavy. They’re easier to lift, carry, empty and clean. We provide a limited supply of free containers in a variety of sizes.

Trash cans and buckets
  • Buckets with handles are easy to carry, empty and wash. They can be used on top or beneath food prep areas, or nest a square bucket for food scraps within a slim garbage containers to save on space. You can reuse old food storage buckets or purchase green buckets. 
  • Slim containers are another option. They often hold 23 gallons and measure around 30" tall x 25” wide x 13.5” deep. Because food waste is heavy and certified-compostable bags aren’t as strong as regular plastic bags, empty the container before it's completely filled.

Posters and stickers

food only posterUse our free posters and stickers to label all waste containers clearly. 

These labels show staff what should and shouldn’t go in each container, and are part of criteria for meeting local requirements. 

Educational posters are especially important since the guidelines for composting at home are different than at work, and an on-the-spot reminder is helpful.

Always use posters and stickers provided by your local waste authority (Clackamas County), since guidelines outside of the tri-county metro area are different.

Get free posters and stickers

Bags and bin liners

bin liners You don’t have to use bin liners, but many restaurants use them to keep containers clean and to reduce mess and odors.

Advantages of using bags: Minimizes the need to wash containers and can reduce odor or fruit fly problems during the summer. Keeps exterior collection containers cleaner. Makes emptying containers easier.

Disadvantages of using bags: Cost. Compostable bags can degrade if not used within a certain timeframe. Compostable bags are generally not as strong as conventional plastic bags. Double bagging may be necessary.

Only BPI-certified compostable bags are allowed in Portland’s compost program. Find BPI-certified compostable bags at restaurant supply stores or through janitorial supply vendors.

Size of bags: 32-gallon bags generally fit slim containers (slim containers are around 30" tall x 25” wide x 13.5” deep).

3

Train staff

Before you start separating food waste, make sure that staff understands what goes in, where to empty the containers, and how to keep containers clean. We can help with this. Invite our staff during a huddle or have staff watch these training videos. Trainings are available in English and Spanish. 

What goes in, what stays out

Label all waste containers with stickers and waste areas with posters.  

Business compost is food only. No napkins, paper products, or other non-food items. Conduct occasional spot checks to make sure non-food items aren’t going into the compost bin. Correct issues before they become a habit.

food only poster

Lift safely

Compost containers can get heavy quickly. Don’t fill containers to the top. This is true for outdoor containers too. When emptying internal containers into a dumpster or large roll cart, it's best to have two people lift and dump the container, especially with the larger 23-gallon slim container.

Clean containers

Containers should be cleaned regularly to prevent odors and fruit flies. For sanitation reasons, containers must be cleaned out at the dump sink, not the food prep sinks.

Five-gallon buckets can go in many dishwashers for easy cleaning. For larger indoor containers, use soap and water and make sure to dispose of the rinse water in a sanitary sewer drain (not storm drains).

4

Start separating food scraps

Incorporate the new program details into your garbage tasks and general workflow. Remember, the program is for food only: meat, dairy, fish, bread, pasta, coffee grounds, peels, shells, bones, spoiled food, and plate scrapings. 

Do NOT include liquids, paper products, packaging, or anything that is not food. Compostable packaging and utensils are not allowed.

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1

Identify food to be donated  

  • What type of shelf-stable, perishable or prepared foods could be donated? Prioritize the donation of healthy food most desired by food donation organizations and the people they serve. Don’t worry about donating complete meals. Excess ingredients can be made into meals at the food assistance organizations as well. Avoid sending unusable food they may be burdened with disposing of later. 
  • Access how much food could be donated and how often: every day, once a week or once a month?
  • Follow food-safety practices for handling preparation, cooking, cooling, and storing. Concerned about liability? Learn more about the Good Samaritan Laws.
2

Find a local food donation partner 

  • For smaller, more sporadic amounts, consider donating to employees first, then look for food assistance programs in your area.
  • Let us help you identify potential partnerships within our community. We have a good understanding of who takes what and capacity. Connect with us
  • Search the Oregon Food Bank tool to get an idea of what organizations are in your neighborhood that you might partner with.
3

Plan accordingly and establish a routine

  • A donation partner will need to assess the time, effort and coordination necessary to pick up or receive your donation. Often these are volunteer ran organizations. 
  • Work with a chosen donation partner to set up a process to identify, gather, safely store, label, and record food for donation and create a pick-up schedule.
4

Train staff

  • Train employees to identify, safely store, and label food properly for donation. We can help. Assistance in English and Spanish. 
  • Build it into your standard operating procedures. Post donation protocols and tracking logs near storage and prep areas. 

1-2-3 poster
Download the Business Guide to Donating Food flyer

107826

You are protected by both state and federal laws when you donate food in good faith. The federal Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act and Oregon Laws (ORS Chapter 30.890 and 30.892) state that the donor shall not be subject to civil or criminal liability arising from the nature, age, packaging, or condition of apparently wholesome food or an apparently fit grocery product that is donated in good faith to a nonprofit organization for ultimate distribution to needy individuals.

107826

The federal enhanced tax deduction for food donation, Internal Revenue Code 170(e)(3), states that businesses may be eligible to deduct some of the cost to produce the food and part of the lost profit. For more information about how the deduction works, visit Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic and consult your accountant for eligibility requirements.

107826

There are several different types of food assistance programs across the county, and region. The kind of food items you may have to donate (shelf-stable, perishable or ready-to-eat) will determine what type of agency to work with. Please note that some agencies help their clients with food in multiple ways. We’re familiar with all the options in Clackamas County and can connect you with suggestions on where to start. 
Some general guidelines for organizations include:

  • Food Bank/Pantry: The service offered usually mirrors a shopping-style experience that allows clients to pick and choose items that are shelf-stable, fresh or frozen from each category of food.
  • Meal Site: This service tends to consist of a hot meal, dessert and a beverage.
  • Emergency/Supplemental Food Box: This is a prepacked bag or box of food that consists of pantry staples and shelf-stable items that can be supplemented with fresh and frozen items.

If you are a representative from one of these food assistance programs, please connect with us. 
 

107826
  • Expose where the largest sources of food waste were generated internally
  • Underscore areas in the restaurant where staff can most effectively reduce food waste as a team
  • Reveal the size and scope of an “invisible food waste problem” and make it more “visible” and understandable
  • Highlight that food waste reduction can save money
107866
  • Offer multiple portion sizes such as “full” and “half” so guests can customize based on appetite.
  • Serve smaller portions of side dishes with “bottomless” or “refill” options.
  • Allow customers to choose the sides they prefer and train staff to ask for preferences.
  • Implement an “eat half, take half” option that wraps up half a portion before it’s served.
  • Print storage and re-heat instructions on doggie bags or take-home containers to maintain the quality of leftovers when guests take them home to enjoy. (We have these available for you!) 
107866
  • Printing it on the menu.
  • Including it on the website.
  • Printing it on packaging and supplies (e.g., napkins, to-go containers).
  • Sharing it on social media.
  • Showing it on wall plaques or posters
  • Having staff tell them about it.
  • Learn more 
107866

Businesses across the region are reducing food waste. Learn from local champions at Food Waste Stops With Me — a collaboration between city and county governments in the Portland area, Metro, Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association, and Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality.

107866
  • Businesses across the region are reducing food waste. Learn from local champions at Food Waste Stops With Me — a collaboration between city and county governments in the Portland area, Metro, Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association, and Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality.
  • The Bomber Restaurant and Catering in Milwaukie highlights how to divert food waste from the landfill while saving money and improving company culture. Listen to the Boiled Down podcast: Food Waste Stops With Me.
  • Embassy Suites by Hilton Portland Washington Square engages employees and guests to prevent food waste. Watch the video.
  • Old Spaghetti Factory in Tigard developed a sustainable compost program. Learn how
  • How 8 Portland restaurants minimize food waste 
  • Testimonials from 5 food waste champions in Washington County.  
     
107866

Why Reduce Food Waste?

  • Food production and preparation require tremendous resources including farmland, clean water and air, labor and energy. Yet millions of tons of food is wasted each year. 
  • In 2019, an enormous 35% of all food in the United States went unsold or uneated. That’s $408 billion worth of food – roughly 2% of US GDP – with a green house gas equivalent to 4% of total US GHG emissions. (Refed)
  • According to a report from October 2021 from OSU, 1 in 10 Oregonians experience food insecurity. 
  • Food is the single largest component of garbage in the region. Food makes up 28% of the total waste that grocery stores, restaurants, caterers, commercial kitchens, food manufacturers and food distributors send to the landfill each year. (Metro)
  • Oregon has a statewide goal to reduce food waste by 50% by the year 2030. 

Phone:503-557-6363
Email:wasteinfo@clackamas.us

Administrative office | 150 Beavercreek Road Oregon City, OR 97045

Office Hours:

Monday to Thursday
8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Available by phone/email
Friday
8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Se habla español

128721, 127241, 127256, 127236, 127756, 127246, 127976, 134271, 159656, 159916

Phone:503-742-4458
Email:greenbiz@clackamas.us

Administrative office | 150 Beavercreek Road Oregon City, OR 97045

Office Hours:

Monday to Thursday
8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Available by phone/email
Friday
8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Se habla español

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