FAQ - Recycle at Work

Recycling At Work

Do the Business Recycling Requirements still apply to me if I lease my office space from another entity?

A. Yes, your business is still required to meet the recycling requirements. The Business Recycling Requirements also apply to any person or entity that owns, manages or operates premises and provides garbage collection services for business tenants. If your property manager or owner is responsible for the garbage service location and has not yet provided for recycling collection service, contact them directly or contact the Washington County Recycle at Work Program for assistance; (503) 846-8609 or recycle@co.washington.or.us.
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How can the Recycle at Work Program help businesses meet the Business Recycling Requirements?

A. Recycle at Work staff are available to assist your business by providing free internal recycling boxes, posters, labels, and tips to improve your recycling system. Our specialists also help to coordinate external recycling services with your collection service provider. Contact the Washington County Recycle at Work team at (503) 846-8609 or send an e-mail to recycle@co.washington.or.us. If your business is located within the City of Beaverton, please contact the Beaverton Recycle at Work Program at (503) 526-2665 or recyclingmail@ci.beaverton.or.us.

How do I recycle items that my hauler does not accept in the “standard mixed recycling”?

A. The materials included in the mixed recycling program regularly picked up by your hauler include: papers, metal cans and rigid plastic bottles, buckets and tubs. To recycle other items such as wood pallets, scrap metal, odd types of plastics, plastic film, 55-gallon barrels, bubble wrap or foam packing, etc., use Metro’s Find a Recycler website to find a recycler near you or contact the Washington County Recycle at Work program.
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We have recently updated our office equipment and now have several old computer monitors and other electronics equipment. How do we dispose of these responsibly? 

A. Changes in technology may leave businesses with large amounts of obsolete electronic equipment. Fortunately there are several options for reusing and recycling electronic equipment before disposal is necessary. Businesses and other organizations can:
Donate: Schools or nonprofit groups will gladly accept useable equipment. To identify donation sites contact the Recycle at Work program
Resell: Sell equipment to employees, an electronics resale business or post the equipment on-line
Return: Ask if your manufacturer or supplier offers an electronics take-back program
Recycle: Locate nearby recyclers at Metro’s “Find a Recycler” webpage.

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What do businesses need to do comply with the Business Recycling Requirements?

A. According to the adopted Business Recycling Requirements, businesses must:

1. Place recycling receptacles throughout the workplace.
2. Post signs at collection areas that identify materials to be recycled.
3. Recycle all paper, cardboard and metal cans, plastic bottles and tubs, and glass bottles and jars (glass bottles and jars must be collected separately from all other recyclable materials).

Fortunately, the Washington County Recycle at Work Program provides free technical assistance and educational resources to make it easy to meet these requirements.

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Which businesses are affected by the Business Recycling Requirements?

A. The recycling requirements apply to all businesses, government agencies, schools, and not–for-profit organizations. The requirements also apply to property managers and/or owners that provide garbage collection services for their business tenants. Residential or home-based businesses are exempt from the Business Recycling Requirements.

Why focus on businesses to increase recycling?

A. The business sector generates almost 50 percent of the waste collected in Washington County.  The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) found, in a recent waste composition study, that recyclable papers, cardboard and containers accounted for approximately 25 percent of the garbage collected from businesses in the Metro area. Thus, the primary goal of focusing on recycling at businesses is to recover these recyclable materials and send them to recycling markets to be utilized in manufacturing processes. Considering the recycling opportunities in our region, sending these valuable materials to landfills makes little economic or environmental sense.

Will my business be required to pay extra for recycling service if I do not already have it?

A. With the exception of businesses located in Forest Grove or businesses that use a drop box or compactor for garbage collection, all businesses in Washington County with dumpster-style or cart-based garbage service are entitled to recycling service at no additional charge. Recycling may even lower your disposal costs. Adding recycling containers offers the possibility of decreasing your garbage service to a smaller container or to a less frequent pickup.

Businesses within Forest Grove and all customers with compactor-only garbage service may be charged a relatively small fee to add recycling pickup to your service. Diverting material to recycling and the resulting decrease in service level can potentially more than offset that extra fee. For example, if you are an average office building, located in Forest Grove, disposing of mostly paper, containers and packaging material, half of your waste may be recyclable.

Garbage-only service: 3-yard garbage container collected weekly= $218/month
Compared to:
Garbage + Recycling service: 1.5-yard garbage container collected weekly ($121/month) + 1.5 yard recycling container collected weekly ($18.10/month) = $139.10/month
Total savings = $78.90/month

That is real savings for recycling! Many businesses have the potential to decrease their waste and thus their costs – contact the Recycle At Work Program for more information about our free technical assistance services at 503-846-8609.

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