Council approves mandatory food waste separation program
The Lake Oswego City Council unanimously approved an ordinance Tuesday requiring certain local food-related businesses to separate and recover food waste.
The ordinance follows a requirement passed by the Metro Council last year mandating that all local governments within the region implement policies requiring food-waste generators such as restaurants, grocery stores and food processors to separate and recover food from the waste they send to local landfills.
"Food is the largest single remaining recoverable item in waste going to landfill (16-18%), where it generates methane, a potent greenhouse gas pollutant," said Jenny Slepian, sustainability analyst for the City of Lake Oswego.
According to Slepian, approximately 40 percent of food in the United States is wasted and sent to landfills, and businesses are the number one contributor to local food waste in the Portland metro region.
Luckily for Lake Oswego, implementing these new regulations won't be terribly hard considering 33 local businesses already participate in a voluntary food scraps program that was rolled out through a partnership with Clackamas County.
In Lake Oswego, food-waste generating businesses already have access to a food scraps collection service as an option, which can be included with commercial service. That is, when a business participates, they will not pay an additional fee for food scraps collection.
The City of Lake Oswego is part of a cooperative program with Clackamas County under which the county will receive funding from Metro to implement this program over five years, Slepian said.
City Councilors Daniel Nguyen and John Wendland both expressed gratitude toward and support for the program in an effort for the City to do its part in combating climate change.
"As an owner of a food-related business, I'm very much supportive of these efforts," Nguyen said. "Thinking about the success of this plan, I think it requires not just the decision on the business owner's standpoint, but also requires the cooperation of the landlord."
Nguyen also pointed out that food, especially when large amounts of it are dumped together in the same place, smells bad as it decomposes. He suggested maybe looking at ways to increase the service so that businesses aren't left with hideous odors lingering around their storefronts, as well as not to attract pests.
"We probably do need to formalize in our code how large enclosures need to be and leaving room for food scraps," Slepian told the council.
The rollout will take place in three phases. Starting in March 2020, the requirement will initially apply only to large food waste generators — those producing more than 1,000 pounds of food waste per week — such as food processors, restaurants and grocery stores. The second phase would begin March 2021 extending the regulation to those producing 500 pounds of food waste per week, and finally in March 2022 to those producing 250 pounds of food waste or less. Each phase encompases around 30 local businesses that would be affected.
According to Slepian, the first tier of implementation will also include all Lake Oswego School District facilities, of which 10 are already voluntarily diverting food scraps. The majority of other Lake Oswego businesses that already divert food scraps are in groups 2 and 3, which will allow ample time to prepare them for implementation of the policy.
Metro funding will help to offset costs to businesses and franchised collectors.
Also on Tuesday:
n Acting as the Lake Oswego Redevelopment Agency, the council approved the City Hall redevelopment project's overall budget of $43 million, as well as the guaranteed maximum price of $30.5 million with 90 percent of the design being completed. The project retains a $4.5 million contingency. The overall cost is just under the $43.1 million estimate for the project.
n The LORA board approved an amendment to the project development agreement for Block 137 (The Windward) to allow instructional arts and crafts studio uses for retail space. This follows the LORA board's December 2018 approval of an amendment expanding the uses of retail spaces A1-A4 along A Avenue to include financial institutions, real estate firms, health and beauty, and fitness uses.
n The City Council approved a temporary designated speed of 25 mph for a portion of Boones Ferry Road from Washington Court to Mercantile Drive for the safety of the public and construction workers. According to Project Lead Crystal Shum, the Boones Ferry Road Project is a complex endeavor that includes undergrounding utilities, building retaining walls, constructing new sidewalks, adding bike lanes and a center median, all of which need to be built while still allowing traffic through the work area and access to business driveways. The work will necessitate that traffic be reduced to a single lane in each direction, at times with a center turn lane, and will include a temporary pedestrian access route.
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