Managing garbage and recycling generated in Washington County
Washington County is part of a regional solid waste and recycling system that consists of many collection companies, several material processing facilities, and a number of disposal facilities. The types of facilities that manage the County’s waste and recycling include:
- Material recovery facilities,
- Transfer stations, and
- Hazardous waste facilities
While these facilities typically operate independently of each other, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, the Metropolitan Service District (Metro) and the area’s local governments provide regulatory system oversight. They work with private service providers and facility operators to safeguard the public's health and the environment, while effectively managing garbage and recycling materials.
The regional processing, collection and disposal system is privately-owned and operated, with the exception of two Metro publicly-owned transfer stations that are operated by a private company:
- Metro Central (6161 NE 61st Avenue, Portland) and
- Metro South (2001 Washington Street, Oregon City)
Learn how easy it can be to take your waste to Metro's transfer stations! Watch this family clean out their garage and easily navigated the transfer station with ease!
The majority of the recyclable material collected from Washington County households and businesses is hauled in trucks to a Material Recovery Facility (MRF) such as Far West Fibers in Hillsboro and Beaverton. MRFs receive recyclables from the residential curbside and business recycling programs. Machinery and people at the MRF sort recyclable materials and prepare them to be sold as commodities to local, national and international markets. Approximately 95 percent of a load of recyclables taken to a MRF is recovered for recycling.
Non-Recyclables and Garbage
The garbage collected from households and businesses in Washington County is hauled by truck to a facility called a transfer station. It is then transferred to tractor trailers for delivery to municipal solid waste landfills. The majority of the waste generated in Washington County is taken to the Forest Grove transfer station and then hauled to Riverbend landfill located near McMinnville. The majority of the waste from the rest of the Metro region is sent to other transfer stations, and is then long-hauled by truck to the Columbia Ridge Landfill located in Arlington, Oregon.
Residents can self-haul garbage to either of the Metro transfer stations or the Forest Grove transfer station. Contact these facilities for details.
Yard debris, collected from residents and businesses throughout the County, is sent to several yard debris collection facilities throughout the county. Residents can self-haul yard debris to these facilities as well.
Nature’s Needs Compost Facility is the only Washington County-regulated composting facility open to the general public in Washington County. Nature's Needs accepts yard debris, wood and pre-consumer produce/fruits and vegetables, which are then processed onsite to produce compost. (Nature’s Needs does not currently accept residential post-consumer food waste.)
Residents can bring a wide variety of recyclables, including yard debris, to recycling depots throughout the Metro region. Click here for a list of recycling and reuse drop-off locations.
There are two landfills located within Washington County that only accept dry waste: Hillsboro Landfill and Lakeside Reclamation. These facilities accept dry waste (construction and demolition debris) and will not accept putrescible wastes (typical household or business food and kitchen-type waste).
The Hillsboro Landfill accepts dry waste from local residents (self-haul), as well as commercial haulers. Lakeside Reclamation accepts materials only from commercial customers. Both facilities are regulated under Chapter 8.08 Solid Waste and Disposal Sites of the Washington County Code.
** Effective July 1, 2009, the Lakeside Reclamation Landfill will be closed to accepting dry waste.**
Disposal of Household Hazardous Waste
Many household products used the yard and home can hurt people, fish and wildlife if used or disposed of incorrectly. You Products may be labeled with the words "warning" and "caution" or even "poison." Take these materials to one of the two household hazardous waste disposal facilities in the Metro region - the Metro South and Metro Central. Residents may bring up to 35 gallons of household hazardous waste such as pesticides, paint, solvents and automotive fluids to one of these facilities for a $5.00 disposal fee. Qualified small quantity business generators may also bring hazardous waste to Metro. Call Metro at 503-234-3000 or visit Metro's website for more information on proper disposal of hazardous waste.
Lighten Your Load
Before you take materials to a landfill or transfer station, identify which items could be reused or recycled. Separating reusable and recyclable materials from your garbage load may help to reduce your disposal costs at either a transfer station or a landfill. Learn about reuse and recycle options for many materials.
There are several materials that are currently banned from disposal in Oregon landfills. These include discarded or abandoned vehicles, large home or industrial appliances, used oil, tires, and lead-acid batteries. There are recycling options available for these materials. Find a Recycler near you.
Additionally, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has banned disposal of televisions, desktop and laptop computers, and monitors from landfills. These items are covered for free recycling at Oregon E-Cycles drop-off locations. Find a location near you at www.OregonEcycles.com.