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Monday, December 3, 2012

The City Had Someone Look Inside Your Food Scrap Carts

Posted by Denis C. Theriault on Mon, Dec 3, 2012 at 12:14 PM

This Wednesday, Portland City Council is due to hear a report examining at how well the city's year-plus—and pointlessly and irrationally controversial—food-scrap composting experiment has fared. It's about what you'd expect from a document mostly meant to give city commissioners and city planners a chance to wax poetically about trash: A lot less of it is heading to landfills—a lot more food scraps are winding up in yard waste bins.

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But the best part? To test out, roughly, how many Portlanders were going along with the compost program, the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability commissioned a "field study" wherein intrepid and curious workers actually had to peek inside the garbage cans outside a random sample of 1,000 Portland homes.

"Based a positive identification of food scraps," nine in 10 green garbage cans contained kitchen slop—meaning, if you count homes where no one put out a green cart at all, close to 78 percent of residents participated overall.

Of course, no matter how good the numbers look, a disturbingly vocal and cranky minority of us won't ever be swayed and won't ever come around to the idea that biweekly pickup of regular garbage just isn't a real inconvenience. I say that even after having had, for a while, two kids crapping and pissing into disposable plastic diapers, which makes me one of the hordes of supposedly aggrieved Portlanders critics love to invoke.

Mayor-elect Charlie Hales has mentioned his willingness to find a way to restart some kind of weekly option for people who really want it. I'm just not sure who those people are.

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