Business recycling

The commercial sector generates more than half of the total waste in Hennepin County, and nearly two-thirds of the waste created at businesses and non-profits is recyclable. A strong recycling program conserves natural resources, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, can help your bottom line and demonstrates your organization’s commitment to sustainability and the community.

Hennepin County offers grants, signage, technical assistance and case studies to help businesses and organizations start or improve recycling programs, reduce waste and donate usable goods.

Owners with commercial buildings in the seven-county metro area -- that also generate four cubic yards or more of trash per week -- must be recycling at least three materials by January 1, 2016.

Submit a business recycling request form or call 612-543-1316 to discuss business recycling grant project ideas and funding opportunities.

The following information refers to non-hazardous waste. For information on managing hazardous items from businesses, like electronics, fluorescent bulbs and other chemicals, visit the Hennepin County Managing and Disposing of Hazardous Waste site.

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Apply for recycling grants

Funding options

Please submit a business recycling request form for a waste assessment or to discuss grant project ideas with Hennepin County recycling staff prior to applying for funding.

Business recycling information online request form

Container only grants: Receive up to $2,500 for recycling containers only (apply anytime).
Accelerated grants: Receive up to $10,000, primarily for recycling containers (apply any time)
Competitive grants: Receive up to $50,000, for large or innovative projects over $10,000 (applications due February 15, June 15 and October 15)

See the Business recycling grant guidelines (PDF) to learn more about the grants.


Applications for business recycling grants are currently being accepted.

Complete a business recycling grant application. All applicants must submit a current W-9 form and additional application forms based on the type of grant.

Container only grants: W-9 form and a completed container grant application.

Accelerated grants:W-9 form, a business recycling grant application, and a budget.

Competitive grants: W-9 form, a business recycling grant application, and a budget.

Organics recycling grant projects: Contacts for organics composting haulers and compostable bag vendors are available to help you determine the budget for your grant project. Learn more:

Reporting information for current grantees

Grantees are to submit a final report (for Container and Accelerated grant recipients) or both an interim report and a final report (for Competitive grant recipients). These reports provide crucial information for Hennepin County to evaluate and continue the program. Templates are provided to grantees.

See an example of a grant report (PDF) for more information.

Contact us

Our staff is available to answer questions about the application, review project ideas, evaluate potential costs and savings, and offer resources to start or improve recycling and organics programs.

Email or call 612-543-1316.

Order free signage and request assistance

Recycling signage

Order free recycling, organics recycling and trash signs. A variety of signs are available for spaces such as offices, cafeterias, commercial kitchens, public spaces and more.

Request assistance

Our committed staff is ready to help you start or improve recycling at your business or organization. Free services include on-site assessments to determine your best options and necessary start-up steps and evaluation of potential costs and savings.

Submit a Business recycling request form or call 612-543-1316 to request assistance.

Best practices for business recycling

Business Recycling Best Practices Guide (PDF)

The Business Recycling Best Practices Guide will help your business implement a successful and sustainable re cycling program. The guide includes information and tips on:

  • Assessing your current situation
  • Identifying the items accepted for recycling and organics recycling in various areas throughout a business
  • Developing your action plan
  • Setting up your program
  • Kicking off and promoting your program
  • Reducing waste
  • Troubleshooting your program

Waste Assessment Checklist (DOCX)

Use this checklist to assess your current waste situation and identify opportunities for recycling and organics recycling in each of the main areas of your building.

Improve recycling

Mixed recycling means paper, cardboard, bottles, cans and cartons can all go in one container and get picked up by your hauler. See our recycling guide (PDF) for a list of the most commonly accepted materials. Trash is always collected separately from mixed recycling, and mixed never means trash and recycling together. Call your hauler to learn what services they provide. Hennepin County drop-off facilities accept limited quantities of mixed recycling from businesses.

Learn about organics recycling for food, food waste and non-recyclable paper. By collecting organics for composting or for a food-to-animals program, you can reduce your environmental footprint and recycle more.

Specialized recycling is also available for plastic film, electronics, media, cooking oil, wood pallets and more.

Reduce and reuse

Waste reduction is the most effective way to lower disposal costs. Brainstorm with employees about your day-to-day operations. Find creative ways to reduce waste and substitute less-hazardous products that pose fewer disposal problems.

Minnesota Materials Exchange

Use the Minnesota Materials Exchange to donate your used materials and equipment to reduce the cost of disposal and receive tax benefits for donated items in usable or working condition.

Inbound Waste Inventory (XLSX)

The Inbound Waste Inventory is a tool to help you identify and quantify inbound waste to inform supply chain decision-making and prevent waste upstream.

Prevent wasted food

Businesses can play a significant role in preventing and reducing wasted food.

The business recycling grants program can be used for equipment, systems and other needs to support collection of edible food for donation to hunger-relief agencies. The grants can also be used to purchase food waste prevention software to track and identify sources of food waste.

Looking to be paired with a food-to-people donation program? Submit a business recycling request form to us.

Get recognized for your recycling efforts

The Hennepin County Environmental Partners program recognizes businesses for their efforts to recycle and divert organic waste, which includes food scraps and non-recyclable paper, from the trash through composting, sending food scraps to local farmers to feed animals, or by donating edible food.

Learn more about participating businesses and how your business can get recognized.

What are businesses recognized for?

Businesses can be recognized for diverting wastes in the following categories:Hennepin County Environmental Partners

We recycle: Materials including paper, cardboard, cartons, glass, plastic and metal are sent to a recycling facility so they can be manufactured into new products.

We compost: Organic waste, which includes food waste, non-recyclable paper and compostable foodware, is sent to a composting facility where it is recycled into valuable compost that is put to good use in landscaping and road construction projects.

We donate food: Leftover edible food, including unserved menu items, food from catered events and day-old baked goods, is donated to hunger-relief agencies.

We feed animals: Food that is no longer safe for people to eat, including food prep waste, plate waste, spoiled or outdated food and unpackaged frozen food, is processed into animal feed.

Recently awarded grants

The county awarded grants to 19 businesses and organizations to start or improve recycling and organics recycling programs in its last round of grants:

Apartment building, townhouse or condo

  • Fourth Street Housing Cooperative (Minneapolis)
  • Riverview Tower Condominium (Minneapolis)
  • Summit Homes (Minneapolis)

Childcare, education, and family-oriented non-profit

  • Especially for Children (Edina)
  • FamilyWise Services (Minneapolis)
  • Spark-Y (Minneapolis)

Entertainment, exercise, or travel

  • Minnesota Twins Baseball Club (Minneapolis)

Grocery store, farmers market or food production

  • CROSS Services (Rogers)
  • General Mills Inc. (Golden Valley)
  • Taher Incorporated (Minnetonka)

Hotels and lodging

  • DoubleTree Minneapolis Park Place (Minneapolis)


  • J. Becher & Associates, Inc. (Rogers)

Office, corporate building, or multi-tenant commercial property

  • Be the Match (Minneapolis)
  • C. H. Robinson (Eden Prairie)
  • Pentagon Park (Edina)
  • Eaton Hydraulics (Eden Prairie)

Place of worship

  • Immanuel Lutheran Church (Eden Prairie)
  • Minneapolis Area Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (Minneapolis)

Restaurant, coffee shop or caterer

  • Rise Bagel Company (Minneapolis)
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