Food Scraps Collection for Businesses


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.


Set up internal containers with label

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, since guidelines outside of the tri-county metro area are different.

Get free posters and stickers


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).


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.

food only poster


We are here to help. Contact us at 503-742-4458 or email

Additional Tips 

Find out more details on bags and liners, avoiding odors and pests, front-of-house compost, costs and more on our FAQ page

Why collect your food scraps?

  • Reduce food costs by tracking food waste caused by over-ordering and over-production.
  • Keep food waste from the landfill, preventing greenhouse gas pollution.
  • Support local production of electricity and fertilizer.
  • Build stronger connections with like-minded customers.
  • Promote composting as a full-circle system that creates food from food within our communities.
  • Attract and retain employees by implementing sustainable practices.

Contact us

Our Sustainability Advisors can provide free personalized assistance, staff training, internal collection containers, signs and stickers to help integrate this program into your daily operations. Email us at or call 503-742-4458.

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