Residential Organics Recycling
Minneapolis Solid Waste & Recycling customers will have an organics recycling option starting in 2015 - 2016. Read the City's press release for information about the program roll-out and to find out how you can sign now to participate! Please continue to take advantage of the Residential Organics Drop-Offs until the citywide Organics Recycling program roll-out is complete.
The City of Minneapolis, in partnership with the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board and various neighorhood groups, have opened Residential Organics Drop-Offs around the City. The drop-offs were opened to educate residents prior to the implementation of a citywide residential organics collection program. Visit our Organics Drop-Off webpage for more information on the drop-off locations currently available.
What are organics?
Organics include: All food scraps, most non-recyclable and food-soiled paper, certified compostable plastics and more! Your organics must be contained in a certified compostable bag or in a paper bag prior to it being brought to the residential organics drop-off. Large paper items such as pizza boxes, wax-coated boxes and egg cartons do not need to be bagged.
Below is more detailed information on the items that can and cannot be included in an orgnaics drop-off or curb/alley collection program. View this detailed Yes and No list for even more examples of what can and cannot be included.
- All food scraps including:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Meat, fish and bones
- Bread, pasta and baked goods
- Egg shells
- Dairy products
- Note: Meat, fish, bones and dairy items are accepted at the residential organics drop-off and in the pilot residential organics collection areas because the organics are brought to a commercial composting facility where temperatures remain hot enough for long enough to kill any pathogens and break down these items. These items should not be placed in a backyard compost bin.
Food-Soiled & Non-Recyclable Paper:
- All paper, non-plastic lined plates, cups, bowls, etc.
- Food soiled paper and paper products whose fibers are too short to be recycled including: paper towels, napkins, facial tissues, tissue paper, paper egg cartons, pizza boxes, etc.
- Boxes from the refrigerator or freezer that are not lined with plastic
- Note: If paper can be recycled, it should be recycled.
- Wax and parchment paper and containers
Other residential compostable items including:
- Coffee grounds, filters and tea bags
- Tissues, cotton swabs and Q-tipsTM (paper stem only)
- Wood chopsticks, popsicle sticks and toothpicks
- Dryer lint
- Floral trimmings and house plants
- Animal and human hair and nail clippings
Certified compostable plastics:
- In order to be accepted in the organics drop-off program, plastics need to pass testing standards (ASTM D6400 or ASTM D6868) that guarantee the plastic will break down in a commercial composting facility. The Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI) and the United States Composting Council (USCC) have created the logo shown to the right that is found on all plastic items that meet this certification.
A catalog of compostable plastic items that meet the compostability standards can be found on BPI’s website.
Items NOT accepted include:
- Non-compostable plastic bags
- Styrofoam™ or any expanded polystyrene foam
- Recyclable items (paper, plastic, glass, metal, cartons)
- Milk, soup, broth, and wine cartons (Every carton is recyclable. Cartons are not compostable because they all have a plastic and/or aluminum lining.)
- Pet litter, bedding or waste
- Fabric or "Cotton" items with synthetic fibers or cleaning chemicals on them (ex: baby wipes, cotton swabs with nail polish or nail polish remover, facial cleaning wipes, swiffer floor pads, etc.)
- Feminine hygiene products
- Diapers & wipes
- Plastic lined paper products (that do not meet ASTM D6868)
- Foil lined products
- Hazardous materials
Frequently Asked Questions:
When will city-wide organics be implemented?
We are working with City Council to determine the best collection method and program for a city-wide program. Stay tuned for more information.
How do I prevent odors from my organics?
Two options that help prevent and reduce odors are below.
1. Utilizing a collection container that has a vented lid. Food waste starts to decompose faster and create odors when its access to oxygen is cut off. This is why when you open your lidded garbage container, that your garbage can start to smell bad. You can purchase a pre-made kitchen pail with a vented lid (with or without a carbon filter) or you can make one using an ice cream or coffee ground type pail.
2. Consider collecting your 'wet' organics (food waste, meat trimmings, etc.) in a large yogurt or cottage cheese container (1/2 gallon ice cream pail works well too) and keep that container in your refrigerator or freezer until you're ready to bring them to the residential organics drop-off or place in your residential organics cart (pilot areas only). The paper items do not need to be stored in the refrigerator or freezer as they often do not produce any nuisance odors.
Which is better: garbage disposal or separate for organics recycling?
Collecting organic materials for composting helps maintain valuable nutrients within our soils. Placing these items down a garbage disposal places extra processing burdens on our waste-water treatment facility.
Do I need to use compostable bags?
Yes, compostable bags, either certified compostable plastic or paper bags are required for collection of organic materials. This helps ensure that all organics are easily removed from you cart during collection and helps reduce odors and pests that can be associated with collecting organics. It is preferred that clean paper bags be recycled, but they are also accepted in the organics collection program.
Where can I buy certified compostable bags?
Certified compostable bags are sold at most grocery, hardware and large retail stores. Some gardens and nurseries will also carry these bags. You may also find compostable bags online. Be sure they have the USCC/BPI compostable logo shown above. Compostable bags come in a mini-kitchen pail size (approx. 3 gallons), standard kitchen size bag (approx. 13 gallon), lawn and leaf size (approx. 33 gallon), and even larger for commercial applications. If your local retailer does not carry the brand or size that you prefer, let them know and they may begin to carry it in the future. For more information on certified compostable bag brands and manufacturers visit the Biodegradable Products Institute’s website at www.bpiworld.org.
Do pizza boxes, egg cartons, wax boxes, etc. need to be in a compostable bag?
No, these larger, entirely paper, items do not need to be in a compostable bag and may be placed loose into the organics cart.
How do I tell if an item is plastic lined?
Do a ‘tear test’. If it does not tear easily or if you can see a plastic lining where you tore the paper, then it has a plastic lining. Only ASTM D6868 plastic lined paper products are accepted for composting. They will have the BPI/USCC compostable logo on the packaging. If you’re unsure if its plastic lined, call the manufacturer and ask, or place the paper product in the garbage.
What about paper towels used for cleaning, nail polish soaked cotton swabs, chemical face cleaning product swabs, etc.?
If a paper item contains non-natural ingredients, it’s best to keep it out of the organics.
What about wax coated boxes and parchment paper?
Yes, wax coated boxes and parchment paper are accepted in the organics collection program. Wax is a natural substance that will be digested by microbes during the composting process. Please note that all soup, broth and milk cartons and juice boxes are plastic lined and/or aluminum lined and are NOT accepted in the organics program.
What about uneaten pet food and the pet food bags?
Uneatten pet food is accepted in an organics collection program. Most pet food bags are plastic lined and therefore are not accepted in the organics program.
Dryer sheets and Swiffer pads?
For items such as these to be accepted in the organics program, they must be certified compostable. Contact the manufacturer and let them know that you’d prefer they had their products certified.
Microwaveable popcorn bags?
Microwaveable popcorn bags are plastic lined and they’re typically also lined with bispheynol-A (BPA). For these reasons, microwaveable popcorn bags are not accepted in the organics collection program.
Items with foil paper?
Paper items with foil, reflective sections or glitter are not accepted in the organics collection program or in the recycling program and belong in the garbage.
Why can't pet waste be included?
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) will not allow compost facilities to accept pet waste at their facilities, therefore, we cannot accept them in a residential program either. They should continue to be placed in the garbage at this time.
Should I stop composting in my backyard compost bin if I participate in the organics drop-off program?
Absolutely not! Composting in your backyard allows you to immediately have access to the compost produced from your hard work and dedication. Items that you cannot compost in your backyard compost bin such as meat, bones, dairy products, compostable plastics and thicker compostable paper products are accepted at the residential organics drop-offs because they go to a commercial compost facility where they will break down. In addition, many Minnesotan's do not continue to add materials to their backyard compost bin during the winter.
If you have any additional questions, please call Solid Waste & Recycling at (612) 673-2917 or email SWRcustomer@minneapolismn.gov.
Last updated Jan 27, 2015