Business recycling

Hennepin County approved a revised recycling ordinance on November 27, 2018 that includes new recycling requirements for businesses.

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.

Sign up for the Recycling at work newsletter

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.

Expand all information

Recycling requirements for businesses

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

Summary of requirements for business recycling

1. Incorporates the state recycling requirements into the county’s ordinance

Commercial building owners that contract for weekly collection of four or more cubic yards of trash must provide recycling service for at least three types of materials. For example: paper and cardboard, cans, bottles or less common materials specific to the business, such as textiles. Offering single-sort recycling service fulfills this requirement.

2. Sets labeling standards

Business owner (or whoever is responsible for contracting for waste services) must label internal waste containers. Your waste hauler is responsible for labeling waste containers provided by them to customers.

3. Sets service levels standards

Business owner (or whoever is responsible for contracting for waste services) must provide adequate service for the amount of material collected onsite for recycling (and organics if offered).   Business owners will need to increase service levels if carts and dumpster are overflowing.

The county will have the authority to enforce these requirements, including the ability to issue warnings or citations for noncompliance.

The county provides resources to assist businesses in meeting these requirements. Learn more about grant funding and assistance and free signs availableSign up to receive the Recycling at Work newsletter to receive updates as new resources become available.

Apply for business organization outreach grants

In 2019, Hennepin County has budgeted $100,000 to fund projects up to $15,000 each to improve commercial recycling rates and participation in the area by partnering with business-focused organizations. Organizations will provide outreach and other services that encourage businesses to take advantage of Hennepin County Business Recycling resources such as recycling grants, trainings and signage to label bins. Help us spread the word.


  • Organizations located in and/or serving businesses in Hennepin County, such as chambers of commerce, business associations, trade associations and neighborhood associations.
  • Organizations must be registered at the Minnesota Secretary of State.
  • Organizations must be insured.

See grant guidelines (PDF) for more information.  


Applications are due May 17, 2019 by 4:00 PM to  Applications will be accepted beyond May 17 as funds remain available.    

Application documents:

W-9 form, a grant application

Apply for business recycling grants

Hennepin County provides funding and assistance for businesses and institutions to start or improve programs to divert recyclables and/or organics. Eligible recipients include for-profit businesses and institutions, including multifamily housing, and non-profit organizations. Grant activities must take place in Hennepin County

Funding options

Please submit a business recycling information online request form for a waste assessment or to discuss grant project ideas with Hennepin County recycling staff prior to applying for funding. See the Business recycling grant guidelines (PDF) to learn more about the grants.

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 anytime)

Competitive grants:

Receive up to $50,000, for large or innovative projects over $10,000 (applications due February 15, May 1, August 1 and November 1)

Multifamily grants:

Receive up to $10,000, primarily for recycling containers (apply anytime). For large projects over $10,000 (applications due February 15, May 1, August 1 and November 1)


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.

Multifamily grants:

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.

Assistance and free signs

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 to request assistance.

Recycling signs

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.

Improving recycling and preventing waste

The Business Recycling Best Practices Guide (PDF) will help your business implement a successful and sustainable recycling program. The guide includes information and tips on things like assessing your current situation, identifying the items accepted for recycling and organics recycling in various areas throughout a business, developing an action plan, and setting up your program. 

Use the Waste Assessment Checklist (DOCX) 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.

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.

The Inbound Waste Inventory (XLSX) 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.

Recently awarded grants

The county awarded grants to 27 businesses and organizations to start or improve recycling and organics recycling programs in its last round of grants:

Apartment building, townhouse or condo

  • Riverton Community Housing, Bunge Tower (Minneapolis)

  • Riverton Community Housing, Marshall Co-Op (Minneapolis)

  • The M on Hennepin (Minneapolis)

  • Menorah Plaza Apartments (St Louis Park)

Grocery store, farmers market or food production

  • Cub Foods (Edina)

Hospital or health clinic

  • Park Nicollet Maple Grove Clinic (St Louis Park)

  • Park Nicollet Clinic Campus – 3850 Building (St Louis Park) 


  • Thermo King (Minneapolis)

  • The Dampfwerk Distillery (Edina)

  • Tennant Company (Plymouth)

  • Tattersall Distilling Company (Minneapolis)

Office, corporate building, or multi-tenant commercial property

  • SRF Consulting Group, Inc. (Minneapolis)

  • MentorMate Inc. (Minneapolis)

  • HealthPartners (Bloomington)

  • Eden Prairie Center (Eden Prairie)

Place of worship

  • Messiah United Methodist Church (Plymouth)

  • Greater Mount Vernon Missionary Baptist Church (Minneapolis)

  • Light of Christ Lutheran Church (Delano)

Restaurant, coffee shop or caterer

  • Sift Gluten Free (Minneapolis)

  • Ibrahim Restaurant (Minneapolis)

  • Gorditas el Gordo (Minneapolis)

  • Alle Aamin Coffee Shop (Minneapolis)

Social services or non-profit

  • Urban Homeworks (Minneapolis)

  •  Wayzata Sailing Foundation (Wayzata) 

  • North Market LLC (Minneapolis) 

  • All Saints Church and First Nations Kitchen (Minneapolis)



Collapse all information