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Apartment, condo and townhouse recycling

Recycling is an easy and convenient way to reduce waste and protect the environment. Property owners and associations are required to provide residents with the opportunity to recycle. Recycling service should be equal in capacity to trash service to capture all of the recyclable material generated by residents.

If you are a resident of an apartment building, condo or townhouse, and recycling service is not available, call your city recycling coordinator.

If you are a property owner, manager or part of an association and you need help with your recycling program, free educational materials and on-site assistance is available. 

 
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Hennepin County revised its recycling ordinance on November 27, 2018, to include new recycling requirements for multifamily properties.

See the "how to comply guide" (PDF) for step-by-step instructions.

  • Provide recycling education to residents at move-in and annually thereafter;
  • Provide recycling containers in common areas where trash is being collected an label waste containers. Your waste hauler is responsible for labeling outside dumpsters and carts.
  • Provide adequate service for the amount of material collected onsite for recycling (and organics if offered). Properties will need to increase service levels if carts are overflowing.

Please note, multifamily properties are not required to offer organics recycling service to their residents. The ordinance’s residential organics requirement applies to single-family up to 4-units dwellings.

The county provides resources to assist multifamily properties in meeting these requirements. Sign up to receive the Apartments Recycle newsletter to receive updates as new resources become available.

Hennepin County provides funding and assistance for apartment and condos to start or improve programs to divert recyclables and/or organics. Grant activities must take place in Hennepin County.

Request assistance

Our committed staff is ready to help you start or improve recycling at your apartment or condo. We can help you assess your best options, review potential costs and savings, and determine the steps forward to improve your programs. Free assistance can be provided online or in-person.

Contact the apartment recycling program coordinator to request assistance by emailing apartmentrecycling@hennepin.us.

Download educational materials and recycling signs

A variety of signs and educational materials are available for your recycling areas and to distribute to residents.

Due to efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19, Hennepin County is unable to fulfill orders of apartment and multifamily recycling resources until further notice. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. Our signs and educational materials are available as download only versions so you can print them yourself.

View and download apartment and multifamily recycling resources.

Sign up for our "Apartments Recycle" newsletter to stay informed about when we will be filling orders again.

Funding

Property owners, managers, and condo and townhome associations are eligible to apply for the county’s business recycling bin and compostable bag grants to start or improve recycling and organics recycling at multifamily properties. Applicants may select up to $3,000 worth of containers and compostable bags from the county's product list.

To apply:

  1. Review the 2021 Business recycling bin and compostable bag grant guidelines (PDF).
  2. For application materials, submit a business recycling information online request form.

Property owners, managers and associations are required to provide residents with the opportunity to recycle. These tips can help you set up and maintain a successful recycling program at your building.

Need help? It's free!

Residents in apartment and condo buildings want to recycle, but they don't always do it right. Hennepin County can help you set up a recycling system and provide educational materials for your residents. Free assistance from Hennepin County can greatly improve recycling at your building(s) making it easier for both managers and residents.

Contact the apartment recycling program coordinator at apartmentrecycling@hennepin.us to request assistance.

Share this educational video about recycling with your residents

Tips to help residents recycle more

These tips can help you set up and maintain a successful recycling program at your building. The most important tool is clear communication. Studies show that posting two or three recycling reminders throughout the year can increase participation by as much as 20 percent.

Set up collection best practices

Clearly label all recycling and trash containers. Use labels that include pictures of the materials that your residents can recycle. Use signs to direct residents to the correct containers.

Provide enough recycling service to accommodate all recyclables generated by residents. Recycling service should be at least equal to trash service; if your trash dumpster is 4 yards and serviced twice a week, your recycling dumpster should be as well.

If your building has trash chutes, add recycling bins next to the trash chutes to make recycling just as convenient as taking out the trash.

Provide educational materials

Give residents a recycling guide that includes a list of what can and can't be recycled when they move in.

Post instructions in the recycling and common areas of your building (laundry room, community room, mailroom, bulletin board, etc.) showing residents how to recycle.

Provide educational materials in multiple languages if some residents do not speak English.

Provide reinforcement

Remind residents to recycle by giving information to new residents at move-in and by providing periodic recycling updates. At a minimum, recycling updates should be provided annually.

Inform your residents of the benefits of recycling and assure them that materials collected for recycling do get recycled.

Provide positive feedback to your residents who are recycling. Consider setting a goal for your building and tracking progress regularly. If you produce a building newsletter, consider adding a recycling section for regular updates and reminders.

Prevent wasted food

As much as 40 percent of food produced in the U.S. for human consumption goes uneaten. Food is wasted for a lot of different reasons. Whether it’s produce that goes bad before we prepare it, crackers that get lost in the back of the cupboard, or leftovers we just don’t eat up, that wasted food has a big impact. Fortunately, there’s a lot we can do about it!

Let your residents know how they can save money and waste less food. Share the Save the Food flyer (PDF) or share these tips with residents in your next update.

Hennepin County recycling study reveals improvements needed at apartment and condo buildings

Hennepin County conducted a waste study (PDF) in 2017 to assess how well apartment and condo buildings were recycling. The study looks at the recycling diversion rate, contamination levels in the recycling, and the composition of what is being discarded as trash. The results highlight conclusions and next steps.

Organics, which includes food scraps and food-soiled paper, make up about a third of residential garbage. Instead of going in the trash, organics can be composted into a nutrient-rich material that is used in landscaping and road construction projects to improve the health of our soil.

Composting and organics recycling

Properties have several options for recycling organics.

Set up an onsite compost bin

Does your property have a garden, or outdoor space? If you have the space and a caretaker or knowledgeable resident to manage it, some food scraps and food soiled paper can be composted onsite using a compost bin. Hennepin County sells compost bins at the Hennepin County Recycling Center and Transfer Station.

Have residents use a drop-off site

Check with your city to see if they have a drop-off option. Some Hennepin County cities have organics recycling drop-off sites located throughout each city. There is no charge for your residents to use these drop-off sites but residents need to contact their city to sign up. Learn more about different drop-off sites that are available for residents or contact us to find the best drop-off option.

Sign up for organics recycling service

Properties can request organics hauling service from some haulers for a fee. Check if your current trash and recycling hauler provides organics for composting hauling service.

Tips for starting your organics recycling program (for organics recycling service)

Designate an area for organics collection

Ensure the cart or dumpster is co-located with recycling carts and dumpsters in a waste collection area. All carts and dumpsters should be clearly labeled.

  • If your building has trash chutes, consider adding organics bins next to the trash chutes to make collection just as convenient as taking out the trash. This will require someone to collect these containers regularly to bring down to the organics cart or dumpster.

Promote the new program to your residents

  • Distribute organics recycling guides to all residents and let them know when the service will begin. View free signs and labels available from Hennepin County.
  • Give residents a kitchen collection pail and compostable bags.
  • Host a training or launch event to show residents what types of materials go into each container. County staff are available to help with trainings.
  • Remember to inform new residents of your organics recycling service and give them a tour of the waste collection area. Monitor bins occasionally to make sure residents are placing the correct materials in the organics containers.

Share this educational video about organics recycling with your residents

Moving can create a lot of additional waste. You may notice extra charges on your invoices to manage bulky items. There are ways to reduce these charges by donation or recycling. For example, most of the materials in a mattress can be recycled.

Mattress recycling options

Drop-off sites

There are two drop-off sites for recycling mattresses. Each charge $20 per mattress or box spring:

Hennepin County Recycling Center and Transfer Station

8100 Jefferson Highway, Brooklyn Park, MN 55445
612-348-3777

Second Chance Recycling

1179 – 15th Avenue Southeast, Minneapolis, MN 55414
612-332-0664, ext. 14

Curbside pick-up

Curbside pick-up service for mattresses is available to Hennepin County residents and condo and apartment building managers in select cities.

Donation centers and charitable agencies

There are many charitable agencies in the region that are happy to take reusable household items and furniture in good condition left by your residents. Many even offer pickup service. Find charitable organizations that accept used items through the Choose to Reuse directory.

Electronics, hazardous waste, and other items

Electronics and some common household products such as batteries, compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), paint and cleaners can be hazardous if disposed of improperly and shouldn't be thrown in the trash. Safe disposal is free and easy for residents at Hennepin County drop-off facilities. Other items, such as mattresses, appliances and tires, are accepted for a fee. Residents can find more information about specific items on the Green Disposal Guide.

Many electronics recycling companies in the metro will pick up electronics for recycling. This includes broken or unwanted electronics.

TechDump

  • Collection method: Pick up and events
  • Accepted: Anything with a keyboard or cord
  • Not accepted: No appliances or hazardous materials
  • Contact: Ken Welander, 763-450-1746
  • Fee: Contact for more information

Recycle Technologies

  • Collection method: On call collection
  • Accepted: Fluorescent lights, batteries and unwanted electronics
  • Not accepted: No hazardous materials
  • Contact: Lynn Petros, 763-559-5130
  • Fee: Contact for more information

The information above refers to hazardous waste generated by residents. For information on managing hazardous items from businesses, like electronics, fluorescent bulbs and other chemicals, visit the Hennepin County page on managing and disposing of hazardous waste.

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