Green To Go Environmentally Acceptable Packaging Ordinance
The Environmentally Acceptable Packaging Ordinance requires food and beverages prepared for immediate consumption and to-go must be placed in packaging that is reusable, recyclable or compostable. Recyclable materials must be recycled. Compostable plastics must be composted. The ordinance went into effect on April 22, 2015 (Earth Day).
*NEW* Green to Go Exemptions end April 22, 2019
Some products have been exempted from the Green To Go ordinance. The exemption allows businesses to use the products even through they do not meet the requirements of the ordinance.
The exempted products are:
- Polyethylene (PE) lined paper hot and cold cups and containers for liquids (soup, etc.), and
- Rigid polystyrene lids for those containers. The containers are marked with a #6 inside three chasing arrows.
Minneapolis Environmental Health has determined the product exemptions will end April 22, 2019.
By ending the exemptions in 2019, businesses have time to use up existing inventory and work with suppliers to purchase products that meet the Green To Go requirements. This approach is consistent with the educational approach used when the Green To Go ordinance was amended in 2014.
Green To Go flyers
Informational flyers describe the requirements of the Green To Go ordinance.
The flyers are in English: Green To Go Flyer; Spanish: Green To Go Ordenanza para Envases Ambientalmente Aceptable; Chinese: 环保包装条例; Hmong: Siv Cov Ntim Khoom Kom Zoo Rau Tej Chaw Puag Ncig; Korean: 친환경 포장 용기; Somali: Xeerka Konteenarada Deegaan-Ahaan La-Aqabli Karo; and Vietnamese: Sắc Lệnh về Đóng Gói Chấp Nhận Được Về Mặt Môi Trường.
Find answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).
Contact 311 to make a complaint about a business using a product(s) that is not allowed under the Green To Go ordinance. Call 311 (outside Minneapolis call 612-673-3000) or email [email protected]
Green To Go decal
The City of Minneapolis Health Department created a Green To Go decal to recognize businesses that have invested time and resources to meet the rules of Green To Go.
Decals were mailed to Minneapolis licensed food businesses that have met the rules of Green To Go on their routine health inspection after April 22, 2015.
The removable decal tells patrons “We use environmentally friendly food containers." The decal also displays the City of Minneapolis logo, the Green To Go symbol and the city’s Green To Go website.
Minneapolis licensed food businesses that have not had a routine health inspection since April 22, 2015 or were marked "out" (not-compliant) for Green To Go may apply for the Green To Go decal. Click on the application below.
Green To Go decal
Beware of packaging that does not meet Green To Go requirements. Health Inspectors are seeing products represented as meeting the ordinance, but do not meet it. Some of the products are beige and resemble compostable to-go containers. The symbol on the bottom of the products is a number six inside the chasing arrow triangle. This symbol means the product is polystyrene, which is not an acceptable material under the ordinance.
Terms such as “green alternative,” “degradable,” “biodegradable,” and “sustainably sourced” are marketing terms. They do not indicate if a product meets Green to Go requirements.
In order to comply with Green To Go requirements, packaging and containers must be reuseable, recyclable or compostable. Preferred plastics are numbers 1, 2, and 5. Compostable items must be BPI certified or meet ASTM standards D6400 or D6868. If you have questions about whether or not a container meets the Green To Go rules contact your Health Inspector or [email protected] or call 311 (outside Minneapolis call (612) 673-3000.
What is Packaging?
Cans, bottles, or containers used to package food or beverages for immediate consumption including glasses, cups, plates, serving trays, and to-go containers.
Examples of packaging
Rigid polystyrene - plastic marked #6:
Expanded polystyrene (commonly known as styrofoam™)
Exempt from the ordinance:
- Knives, forks and spoons (they are not packaging items)
- Straws (they are not a packaging item)
- Foods prepackaged by the manufacturer, producer or distributor
- Plastic films less than 10 mils thick
- Catering companies licensed by the City of Minneapolis, another city or the state.
- Hospitals and Nursing Homes
The following items are exempt until April 22, 2019, (Earth Day):
- Polyethylene (PE) plastic lined paper hot and cold cups and containers for liquids (such as soup containers).
- Polystyrene (PS) lids for the exempted containers.
Green To Go supplier list
Need products that meet Green To Go rules? Green To Go supplier list.
The City of Minneapolis does not endorse any company. This list is provided as a resource for businesses that need to purchase products that meet the city’s environmentally acceptable packaging ordinance requirements. The companies listed sell directly to businesses.
Hennepin County assistance
Hennepin County offers free assistance and Business recycling grants.
- Assistance and training
- Labels, signs and other educational materials
Business grants up to $50,000 are available to assist with:
- Start or improve recycling, organics and waste prevention programs
- Bin and other eligible equipment purchases
- New recycling or organics hauling service fees
- Improvements to loading docks and waste container enclosures (fenced
- in areas)
For more information visit www.hennepin.us/businessrecycling
Hennepin County composting haulers
Find a list of haulers that collect organics for composing on the Hennepin County website here. Scroll down and select, "Organics composting haulers."
Interested in the ordinance history?
Health Department staff gave a PowerPoint presentation on the history of Green To Go at the 2015 Minnesota Association of Recycling Managers workshop. See the PowerPoint here.
For questions or to get more information about the Green To Go Environmentally Acceptable Packaging Ordinance contact Minneapolis 311.
Para mayor información sobre la ordenanza o mandato del el empaque ambientalmente aceptable comuníquese con la línea del 311 de la ciudad de Minneapolis.
Yog xav noog lossis paub ntxim txog txoj cai Siv Cov Ntim Khoom Kom Zoo Rau Tej Chaw Puag Ncig (Environmentally Acceptable Packaging), hu tau rau Minneapolis 311.
Wixii su’aalo ama faahfaahin ah ee ku saabsan Xeeraa Weelasha Deegaan‐ahaan La‐Aqbali karo, kala xidhiidh ama wac Minneapolis 311.
Should you require a reasonable accommodation in order to fully participate, or information in an alternative format, please contact 612-673-2301.
Para asistencia 612-673-2700 - Rau kev pab 612-673-2800 - Hadii aad Caawimaad u baahantahay 612-673-3500
Last updated Mar 9, 2018