Lake Oswego offers “comingled” recycling, meaning that everything that can be recycled goes into the same container, with the exception of glass. It is very important that trash not end up in the recycling as it will contaminate the entire load. Remember: When In Doubt, Throw It Out.
What goes into my recycling cart?
The following can go into your blue recycling cart, or recycling dumpster if you live a multifamily residence:
- Plastic bottles, jugs, buckets and tubs larger than 6 ounces. Lids must be removed.
- Mixed paper and cardboard
All items in your recycling bin must be empty/clean and dry.
Items not listed above such as plastic clamshells, iced and hot coffee cups, lids, straws, plastic bags, etc have never been permitted in your curbside recycling bin. These items must go in the trash, or in the case of plastic film, can be dropped off for recycling at participating stores. Plastic bags and other types of clear plastic film are recyclable, but not at the curb because they get caught in and damage machinery at recycling facilities.
Please avoid "wishful recycling", meaning that you put an item in your recycling cart because it feels like it should be recycled. This just leads to contamination, which leads to increased costs as recycling facilities need to hire more sorters and pay disposal fees for these items. This is a major issue, directly responsible for increasing recycling costs.
Recycling was never meant to be the best or only option. You may have grown up hearing "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle". Today we add REFUSE, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. The most important thing you as a consumer can do is to by only what you need and minimize the use of single-use items, particularly those that cannot be recycled. Here are a few ideas to incorporate into your life:
- Buy used when possible, and sell or donate good-condition items you no longer need to help keep materials out of the waste stream. It's easy to find great quality used clothing, furniture, books, tools, and more.
- Before you buy something new, check if it's available to borrow through the Library of Things at the Lake Oswego Public Library. It's a great way to try out a new board game, kitchen appliance, or musical instrument, or to use a specific tool you might only need once in a while.
- Reuse produce bags or purchase reusable ones.
- Buy produce as-is, not boxed or wrapped in plastic.
- Purchase bulk foods using reusable bags or containers.
- When buying packaged foods, choose items that are packaged in recyclable materials. For example, bags of cookies instead of clamshells, pasta in cardboard boxes, and canned foods. If you notice packaging in your supermarket that seems excessive (ie, potatoes wrapped in plastic), utilize your power as a consumer to let the chain know you disapprove of this practice.
- Bring your own drink container when buying coffee or tea. Hot and iced coffee cups are not recyclable. Many local coffee shops will give you a discount when you use your own container!
- Unless you need them for accessibility reasons, decline straws at bars, cafes, and restaurants.
- Remember that you can still recycle plastic bags and film at most supermarkets.
- Always bring reusable bags with you, but if you forget, choose a paper bag over a plastic one.
Recycling and Reuse
Use Metro's Find a Recycler web site to find where to recycle items not accepted in the curbside recycling program and organizations that take materials for reuse. If you have a specific question about recycling, hazardous waste disposal or waste prevention you can use this link to email a Metro recycling expert or call Metro at 503-234-3000.
Paint, motor oil, batteries, CFL or LED light bulbs, prescription medications, needles, and many other products are considered to be household hazardous waste. These products must be taken to the Metro South Transfer Station at 2001 Washington Street, Oregon City.
Paint can also be taken to the Miller Paint store at 544 N. State Street or Sherwin Williams at 15659 Boones Ferry Road.