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From BPS Director Susan Anderson: Three kids and a mini-can

Now that curbside collection of food scraps is just around the corner, I thought I would share my experience with garbage and composting at home.

Several years ago, I proposed a challenge to my family (including three kids) to recycle and compost as much as we could, and shift to a 20-gallon mini-can for garbage.  Like many families, I was looking for ways to cut costs and, if possible, protect the environment.

We went to the hardware store and bought the mini-can, and after just a few weeks, the results were amazing.  The older boys were in charge of making sure all our veggie waste went into the compost bin on the side of the house, and my daughter, who was eight at the time, made sure we sorted the recycling and glass.  There wasn’t much left in the garbage.  In fact, some weeks we only had one small bag of trash.  And in the summer, we had great compost for the garden.

Fast forward six years, and now we are ready to compost even more. Starting October 31st, we will be able to compost meat scraps, fish, bread, grains and even pizza boxes in with our yard debris – and it will be picked up every week.  It will be good to know that when the truck picks up our green cart, our food scraps will become nutrient-rich compost for someone else’s garden.  

So if you don’t have a compost bin now, you will finally have an easy way to compost all your food waste and veggies.  And, if you’re like me, you can do both:  Compost veggie waste in your compost bin (or the green cart), and the rest of the food waste in your green roll cart.

So what’s next for the Anderson household?  With the shift to every week composting and recycling, and the boys going off to college, I’m ready for a new challenge — so we are getting ready to shift to once-a-month garbage pick-up!  

To learn more about the new food scrap program, please visit This new program will keep more than 20,000 tons of food scraps from going to the landfill, and less waste to the landfill means less greenhouse gas emissions contributing to climate change.  In fact, the reduction in emissions is equal to Portlanders driving 48 million miles less each year.  

Your participation really adds up!

All the best,

Susan Anderson sig


Susan Anderson