City of Eugene’s Love Food Not Waste commercial food waste collection program began excluding any non-food materials from collection as of April 15, 2019. When the program began, food soiled paper and certified compostable service ware were accepted along with food scraps in order to reduce waste and enhance the convenience of the program.
The facility that processes a significant portion of Eugene’s food waste into a high-quality compost product, no longer accepts compostable service ware products and food soiled paper due to ongoing challenges presented by contamination from non-compostable products that end up in the food waste system, and because of emerging concerns about persistent perfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS) which are found on some types of grease resistant food service packaging and can persist in the environment.
An exception to the food-only rule will be allowances for compostable bags and liners, because we know that using them is critical for some businesses to be able to participate. Accepted bags and liners must be certified by the Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI).
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Commercial customers are now able to separate meat, bones, fish, dairy, baked goods, fruits and vegetables, yard debris, and plant trimmings from garbage service. Eugene haulers pick up the food scraps and take them to a local organics processor for conversion into compost. Businesses can contact their garbage hauler to sign up for commercial food composting service. The garbage hauler provides businesses with free internal food waste bins and an external food waste collection container that will be serviced regularly and will work with customers to arrange a collection frequency that fits the needs of the business.
Rates for commercial food waste collection are set at approximately 20% below commercial garbage rates. By subscribing to commercial food waste collection service, businesses should be able to downsize their regular garbage container size and decrease the number of garbage pick-ups each week. The City of Eugene provides free materials and resources to participating businesses. These resources are funded through solid waste license fees and a Waste Prevention Fund grant from Lane County Waste Management. For commercial food waste collection rates, click HERE
No. Yard debris collection service at commercial properties is not priced to support the additional resources required for food waste collection. If your commercial property is interested in diverting food waste from the garbage, please ask your hauler about getting commercial food waste collection service.
The facility that processes a significant portion of Eugene’s food waste into a high-quality compost product is no longer able to accept compostable service ware products and food soiled paper due to ongoing challenges presented by contamination from non-compostable products that end up in the food waste system, and emerging concerns about persistent perfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS) which are found on some types of grease resistant food service packaging and which can persist in the environment.
Including non-food items in our food waste collection system puts the entire food scraps program at risk.
It is necessary to exclude food soiled paper (like napkins and coffee filters) because their inclusion makes detecting and managing contamination challenging and costly--when non-food materials make their way into a truck load of food waste and then it is dumped at the processing location it is difficult to attempt to identify what these now food coated items mixed into pile of organic waste actually are (for example: paper towels and grease resistant paper look very similar at this point of the process).
For information on Oregon DEQ life cycle analysis of the environmental impacts of disposable and compostable service ware click HERE.
The City provides employee training services to businesses at no cost. The City’s Love Food Not Waste staff members are happy to meet with businesses on-site to deliver employee training and provide technical assistance. Training includes free instructional materials for employees on how to source separate organics. Participating businesses also have the opportunity to gain recognition for their sustainability efforts with marketing materials provided by the City.
There are many food waste collection programs in the Northwest (Washington, Idaho, & Oregon). Our local food waste processor is Rexius. This company accepts all commercial food waste in addition to specified compostable containers. Rexius has been certified by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality to process commercial food waste into compost.
Love Food Not Waste promotional materials are available on our Commercial Food Waste Resources page. To receive a hard copies of Love Food Not Waste materials, email the program staff or call 541-682-5034.
Many Eugene businesses participate in Love Food Not Waste, including grocery stores, restaurants, office buildings, schools, nonprofit organizations, and more! View a complete list of participating businesses.
Large quantities of fats, oil and grease (FOG) are not allowed in Eugene’s food waste collection program, and grease and oily wastewater from restaurants, delicatessens, and other food service establishments clog sewer lines or storm drains when incorrectly disposed of. Your business can play a role in keeping our wastewater system functioning properly and reduce the cleaning frequency, hauling costs, and blockages associated with FOG by following these steps:
• Reduce the amount of solids that enter a grease interceptor.
• Scrape all food scraps including bones, meat and dairy into a food waste collection bin instead of a sink.
• Scrape fats, oil and grease from trays, pots, pans, and cooking utensils into waste grease containers before putting them in the sink or dishwasher.
• Scrape grills and cooking surfaces into waste grease containers.
• Place baskets in drains to catch solids.
• Reduce grease in mop water by minimizing spills of oil and grease. If possible, collect spilled grease and add to a waste grease container.
Eugene City Code sections 6.551(1) authorizes the City to require any industrial user including food service establishments to install and maintain grease removal devices.
Grease removal devices are important both to minimize the amount of grease in local sewer lines, and to provide appropriate disposal for all restaurant cleaning wastes. Fry hoods, floor mats, and other greasy equipment should be cleaned in an area where all cleaning water will flow through a grease removal device prior to entering the wastewater collection system. All food service establishments must install grease removal devices in accordance with the Oregon State Plumbing Specialty Code and the Eugene City Code.
City of Eugene Wastewater staff can provide more information on proper handling of FOG, and grease removal equipment requirements and staff training opportunities.
Yes. Rexius tests the Love Food Not Waste compost regularly to ensure that it is safe for planting. There is a slightly higher nitrogen in the food waste compost when compared with yard debris compost because of the high energy food that goes into it. For more information about the soil test or to receive a copy of the information, please contact Love Food Not Waste program staff or call 541-682-5034.
The three primary haulers that work with the City and the commercial composters are: • Lane Apex, • Royal Refuse, and • Sanipac. Don’t forget to thank them and give them a wave the next time you see them out around town!