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May 27, 2022

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Ridwell sues Oregon county for banning recycling service

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HILLSBORO, Ore. — A county in the Portland area is facing a federal lawsuit from a recycling company that wants to operate in unincorporated rural areas.

Ridwell filed the lawsuit against Washington County Friday, saying the county is going against state law by prohibiting the company to operate, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported.

Ridwell’s complaint says the county barred its services because the company “charges a fee for its service and would thus pose a challenge to the Waste Haulers’ perceived economic interests.”

“What we’re asking the court to take a look at is whether these local jurisdictions can read that monopoly contract that they’re giving to the garbage haulers to exclude anybody from providing services that the garbage haulers aren’t even providing,” Ridwell spokesperson Caleb Weaver said.

Ridwell is a Seattle-based company that offers a subscription recycling service for items that are generally not accepted by curbside haulers, including batteries and light bulbs.

A Washington County code forbids anyone to collect waste for profit within unincorporated areas. Ridwell applied for an exemption last May, but a volunteer advisory committee denied it, questioning the company’s transparency in how it handled materials and its employment practices.

The lawsuit came after county officials announced plans to expand their own recycling program with added fees for customers.

Willamette Week has reported that hauling companies are lobbying local politicians and government staffers to stop Ridwell from operating in their service areas.

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