In an organics composting program, all food scraps, unlined paper, and certified compostable products are placed in a single container. A hauler picks up the waste and delivers it to a composting facility. After six to nine months, the material has been recycled into compost that is put to good use in landscaping and road construction projects.
Finished compost is an organic-rich soil amendment that is used to improve soils, prevent soil erosion and runoff, and capture carbon dioxide for climate protection.
Acceptable materials are all food products (fruit, vegetables, meat, dairy), unlined food-soiled paper (napkins, paper towels and egg cartons), other compostable items like coffee grounds and toothpicks, and certified compostable foodware (paper and plastic cups, bowls, utensils). These materials are often collected in a certified compostable bag.
Due to concerns about levels of contamination - or materials that don't belong in the organics recycling - that compost facilities receive, possible changes are being considered to organics recycling programs. Learn more in the reducing contamination section below.
Compostable bags and foodservice ware
As part of your organics recycling program, you may be interested in using disposable foodservice ware that is compostable or collecting organic waste in compostable plastic bags. If you are using these items, you will want to make sure that the materials are certified as compostable.
Find a local vendor of compostable products (PDF).
Certification for compostable plastics
Look for the label
The Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI) is the North American certifying body for compostable plastics. Look for the BPI logo on the products you purchase. You can also check to see whether a product meets the BPI standards for compostability at www.bpiworld.org.
When purchasing products, be sure to ask if what you are buying is certified compostable. Don’t be fooled by products marketed as “degradable”, “biodegradable”, or “made from plants”. Also, some companies that offer BPI certified products may also offer non-compostable products that look similar. Be sure to check to ensure you are buying what you intend to buy!
Commercial organics for composting haulers
The following haulers collect organics for composting in Hennepin County. This list was last updated December 2017.
Aspen Waste Systems
LePage & Sons
Randy's Environmental Services
Sanimax – Organics
- Andy Barnaal
Organics composting facilities