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Organics recycling for residents

About one-third of our trash is organic materials, including food, food-soiled paper, and certified compostable products, that could be composted. Organics recycling is the best opportunity to reduce our trash and put it to better use.

Materials accepted for organics recycling

See the organics recycling guide (PDF) for a list of materials accepted in organics recycling programs throughout Hennepin County.

Check with your city recycling coordinator or waste hauler for the most accurate information organics recycling service availability in your city, program setup, and materials accepted.

Organics recycling basics

Review the basics of how organics recycling works and materials accepted (PDF)

Order residential organics recycling labels and guides

Free resources, including container labels and guides, are available to Hennepin County residents to improve recycling and organics recycling in your home and to distribute to friends and neighbors.

See what's available and order free resources.

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The organics collected in curbside or drop-off programs are taken to a local commercial compost facility and recycled into compost, a nutrient-rich material that is used in landscaping and road construction projects to improve our soil.

Participants in organics recycling programs say it’s a surprisingly easy way to make a difference. It provides a “feel good” benefit, helps the environment, and results in a visible reduction in trash.

Why organics recycling

Provides the best opportunity to reduce our trash

Waste sort studies, like the one Hennepin County conducted in 2016, continue to show that organic materials are the largest proportion of our trash — making up about 25 percent of the trash stream.

Reduces greenhouse gas emissions

Organic materials decomposing in landfills generate methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Diverting organics to composting helps to reduce landfill methane emissions.

Improves soil and protects water

When compost is added to soil, it reduces the need for fertilizers and pesticides. It also increases the water retention of soils, which reduces runoff and erosion that can pollute our water and helps to conserve water.

Supports a local economy

Minnesota’s composting industry supports about 700 jobs and produces $148 million in gross economic activity per year. The composting industry supports four to eight times more jobs on a per ton basis than landfilling operations.

Helps achieve our goal of zero waste to landfills

Getting organic materials out of the trash means that facilities like the Hennepin Energy Recovery Center (HERC) that burn waste to generate energy have more capacity to help reduce the trash we send to landfills. In addition, sending organics materials to a composting facility is preferable to incineration for a number of reasons, including that organics recycling creates nutrient-rich compost and that burning wet organics is not energy efficient at waste-to-energy facilities.

Contact your city to ask about your options for organics recycling, or refer to the list below.

If you live in a city where organics recycling service is not offered, contact your city council members, mayor and hauling company to let them know you are interested in the service. And in the meantime, check to see if there are any drop-off options available that are convenient for you.

Service available to residents at no extra cost

In the following cities, organics recycling is available at no added cost to residents who have garbage and recycling service provided by or coordinated through the city. But you must sign up to participate.

Bloomington, Edina, Excelsior, Golden Valley, Hopkins, Minneapolis, Richfield, St. Louis Park

Organics will be collected in a separate cart. Learn more about each city's program below.

Bloomington organics program

Edina organics program

Excelsior organics program

Golden Valley organics program

Hopkins organics program

Minneapolis organics program

Richfield organics program

St. Louis Park organics program

Medicine Lake, Medina, Osseo, St. Bonifacius, Wayzata

Organics are collected in certified compostable blue bags and placed in your trash cart. The certified compostable bags are later separated from the trash bags and sent to a commercial composting facility. Learn more about each city's program below.

Medicine Lake organics program

Medina organics program

Osseo organics program

St. Bonifacius organics program

Wayzata organics program

Service available to all residents for an additional fee


Organics recycling is available for an additional cost to all Champlin residents with city recycling and garbage service. Sign up for the Champlin program.

Loretto and Maple Plain

Organics recycling is available to all residents in Loretto and Maple Plain for an additional cost through Republic Service's Blue Bag organics recycling program.

Organics are collected in certified compostable blue bags provided by Republic and placed in your trash cart. The certified compostable bags are later separated from the trash bags and sent to a commercial composting facility. Learn more about each city's program below.

Loretto organics program

Maple Plain organics program


Organics recycling is available for an additional cost to all Robbinsdale residents with city recycling and garbage service. Sign up for the Robbinsdale program.

Service available through waste haulers

In the following cities, organics recycling is available to residents through your trash hauler. Contact your hauler to sign up.

  • Brooklyn Center
  • Brooklyn Park
  • Corcoran
  • Crystal
  • Eden Prairie
  • Long Lake
  • Maple Grove
  • Minnetonka
  • New Hope
  • Plymouth

Organics recycling drop-offs can be a good option for residents that don’t have organics recycling service available yet. That includes those who live in cities where it isn’t offered and those who live in apartment buildings, condos and townhomes that don’t have access to their city’s residential service.

Grants available to establish organics recycling drop-off sites

Funding is available for cities, multifamily properties, businesses, nonprofit organizations, and institutions in Hennepin County to establish organics recycling drop-off sites. Up to $15,000 is available for each drop-off site. Funding can be used for hauling and disposal costs, construction, dumpsters or carts, and promotions and educational materials.

Priority will be given to drop-off sites that increase access to organics recycling for residents in multifamily properties without access to city service and in cities that don’t offer organics recycling service.

Learn more and apply

Applications are due Tuesday, September 13. See the organics recycling drop-off funding guidelines (PDF) to learn more, and access the application materials on the Hennepin County supplier portal.

A virtual information meeting about the grant and how to apply through the supplier portal was held on Tuesday, August 30. Watch the recording of the organics drop-off informational meeting (YouTube).

For more information and to RSVP to the information meeting, contact Kaitlin Steinberg at and Christine Longwell at

Organics recycling drop-off locations

The following drop-off options are available.

Hennepin County drop-off facilities in Brooklyn Park and Bloomington

Organics are accepted for free Tuesday through Saturday during normal facility hours. Limit of five bags per person per day. Organics must be brought in BPI-certified compostable plastic bags. Learn more about organics at drop-off facilities.


There are two organics recycling drop-off sites available to Bloomington residents.

Map: Valley View Park
201 90th Street East, Bloomington, MN 55420

Map: West Bush Lake Park
95th Street and West Bush Lake Road, Bloomington, MN 55438

Both sites are free and open daily. Learn more about the Bloomington organics drop-off program.


The organics drop-off in Crystal is available to residents of Brooklyn Center, Crystal and New Hope.

Map: Crystal Cove Aquatics Center
4848 Douglas Drive North, Crystal, MN 55429

Learn more about the Crystal site and sign up.


An organics recycling drop-off site is available to Dayton residents.

Contact or 763-421-1791 to sign up.

Deephaven, Greenwood, Shorewood and Woodland

There are three organics recycling drop off sites available to Deephaven, Greenwood, Shorewood and Woodland residents.

Map: Haralson Park
20260 Minnetonka Boulevard, Excelsior (Deephaven), MN 55331

Learn more about the Deephaven site and sign up.

Map: Freeman Park – south entrance
6000 Eureka Road, Excelsior (Shorewood), MN 55331

Map: South Shore Community Park
5355 St. Alban’s Bay Road, Shorewood, MN 55331

Learn more about the Shorewood sites and sign up.


Hopkins residential garbage customers may bring their household organics to the Minnetonka-Hopkins Recycling Center.

Map: Minnetonka-Hopkins Recycling Center
11522 Minnetonka Boulevard, Hopkins, MN 55305

The drop off site is open 24/7. Learn more about organics recycling in Hopkins.


There are 20 drop-off locations throughout Minneapolis for city residents, including at parks, the city’s South Transfer Station, and the Wedge Community Co-op locations. Learn more about Minneapolis locations and sign up.

Minnetonka Beach

Minnetonka Beach residents may bring their household organics to the Minnetonka Beach Public Works Facility.

Map: Minnetonka Beach Public Works Facility
2510 Woodbridge Road, Wayzata, MN 55391

The drop off site is open 24/7. Contact City Hall at or 952-471-8878 to sign up.


Minnetrista residents may bring their household organics to the drop-off site located near the Public Works Garage.

Map: Minnetrista Drop-off Site
7701 County Road 110 West, Minnetrista, MN 55364

Learn more about the Minnetrista program and sign up.


Mound residents and Shorewood island residents may bring their household organics to the drop-off site located in the parking lot of the Mound Centennial Building at 5341 Maywood Rd. Learn more about the Mound program and sign up.


An organics recycling drop-off site is available to Orono residents. Learn more about the site and sign up.


Two organics recycling drop-off sites are available for Richfield residents.

Map: Wood Lake Nature Center
6710 Lake Shore Drive South, Minneapolis, MN 55423

Map: House of Prayer Church
7625 Chicago Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55423

Learn more about the Richfield program.

St. Anthony Village

An organics recycling drop-off site is available for St. Anthony Village residents at city hall.

Map: St. Anthony City Hall
3301 Silver Lake Road, St. Anthony, MN 55418

The drop-off site is open 24/7.

St. Louis Park

Drop-off sites are available for residents who live in apartment buildings and townhomes. Learn about multifamily recycling in St. Louis Park and sign up.

You’re ready to start organics recycling at home. Great!

Some steps you may need to take to get started include making space for your cart, figuring out your setup room-by-room, and getting the supplies you need.

Making space for your cart

If you’re participating in a program where you get a separate cart for organics recycling, determine where you will put your cart. To make space (and potentially save some money), you may be able to downsize to a smaller garbage cart.

Setting up room-by-room


Start here as this is where most organics recycling is generated, and focus first on collecting food. Spoiled food and food scraps are the most common material in the trash and the most valuable material in the composting process, which makes them the most important material to start collecting for organics recycling.

You will generally need a collection container and compostable bags. Choose a container and location that will work for you.

If you have issues with pests or smells or want your compostable bags to last longer, consider keeping a container in the fridge or freezer for “wet” organics like fruits, vegetables and meat scraps.

Expand to other rooms

You can also collect organics in the bathroom, bedrooms and office.

Remember items like tissues, paper towels, cotton balls, hair and pet fur are accepted for organics recycling.

Getting the supplies you need

Collection containers

There are many options for collection containers. You can purchase simple to fancy countertop collection containers, convert an existing bin to an organics recycling bin, reuse a coffee can or ice cream pail, or use something as simple as a bowl on your kitchen counter. Choose something that works for you in your space.

Compostable bags

Your organics must be bagged before you place them in your organics cart. Acceptable bags generally include BPI-certified compostable plastic bags. Some programs also allow you to use Kraft paper bags.

BPI-certified compostable plastic bags may be provided by your city or hauler, or they can be purchased at most retail or grocery stores or ordered online. If you are purchasing your own, you may want to try different brands to find what works for you - they will all perform differently.

Check to see what items need to be bagged for your program. Some programs allow you to put larger items like pizza boxes from delivery and paper egg cartons into your cart without being bagged.

Labels for your bins

Well-labeled bins help everyone in your household know what goes where. Order free labels and guides.

Certified compostable products

There can be a lot of confusion regarding compostability of paper and plastic plates, cups, bowls, containers and utensils.

Certified compostable products, including paper and plastic plates, bowls, cups, containers, and utensils, are accepted for organics recycling. Certified compostable products must have the BPI logo or the term “certified compostable” to be accepted.

Paper items that have a shiny or smooth surface, such as coffee cups, to-go containers, and ice cream tubs, likely have a plastic lining and are not accepted in the organics program unless they are identified as a certified compostable item.

If an item doesn’t have the BPI logo or isn't identified as certified compostable and you’re unsure whether or not it’s compostable, it’s best to put that item in the trash. This will help ensure the organics recycling is clean and free of contamination.

The importance of composting the right things

Organics recycling is the best way to reduce the amount of waste put in our trash bins - helping to move us closer to our zero waste and climate action goals. You can help ensure the success and sustainability of organics recycling programs by putting the right materials in the organics bin.

Compost sites need to receive organics with low levels of contamination, or materials that cannot be composted, so they can produce clean, nutrient-rich compost that people want to purchase and use. Compost that contains plastic, glass, and other contaminants is very difficult to sell and can only be used for low-end, low-value purposes.

Know what’s accepted for organics recycling

See the organics recycling guide (PDF) for a list of items that are and are not accepted for organics recycling.

If you’re unsure, focus on collecting food. Spoiled food and food scraps are the most common material in the trash and the most nutrient-rich material in the composting process, which makes them the most important material to collect for organics recycling. If you aren’t sure what to do with an item, refer to the organics recycling guide or put it in the trash.

Tips for reducing contamination

Review our factsheet (PDF) to learn more about what is accepted, situations where contamination issues commonly arise, and ways to address contamination issues. The factsheet is focused on reducing contamination at businesses and schools, but the tips are applicable to households.

Prevent food waste in the first place

While composting is great for disposing of food scraps and other compostable materials, preventing wasted food is even more important and more impactful.

Making simple changes and working to adopt new habits can have a big impact. Creating and following a meal plan, keeping track of and using up the food you buy, understanding date labels, and learning how to properly store and process food can all significantly reduce the amount of food waste you generate.

The following resources are available to help you reduce food waste:

Developing composting infrastructure to increase capacity

Additional capacity is needed to ensure the viability of existing organics recycling programs and support the development of new programs.

The county is pursuing a variety of strategies to increase transfer and processing capacity for organics, including making modifications at the Brooklyn Park Transfer Stations, supporting the opening of new compost sites, exploring the development of an anaerobic digestion facility, and increasing the use of compost in county operations.

Organics recycling requirement for cities

Cities are required to make organics recycling service available to all households with curbside recycling service by January 1, 2022. This requirement was part of revisions the county made to its recycling ordinance (Ordinance 13) in November 2018.

More details about the requirements

  • The ordinance offers flexibility in how cities meet the requirement so they can develop an approach based on the needs of their community. Cities may contract for citywide service or require haulers to provide the service.
  • The requirement generally includes single family households and buildings with up to four units.
  • Cities with a population of 10,000 or less can choose to provide at least one organics recycling drop-off option instead of making curbside organics recycling service available.

What is not required

The ordinance does not:

  • Require cities or haulers to charge all residents for organics recycling. Some cities or haulers may choose to charge all customers for organics recycling service whether or not they participate, but the county’s ordinance does not require cities or haulers to charge residents.
  • Require residents to participate in organics recycling.

Cities that already meet the organics recycling requirement

Check with your city or hauler about program timeline and how to sign up.

  • Bloomington
  • Brooklyn Center
  • Brooklyn Park
  • Champlin
  • Corcoran
  • Crystal
  • Dayton
  • Deephaven
  • Eden Prairie
  • Edina
  • Excelsior
  • Golden Valley
  • Greenfield
  • Greenwood
  • Hopkins
  • Independence
  • Long Lake
  • Loretto
  • Maple Grove
  • Maple Plain
  • Medicine Lake
  • Medina
  • Minneapolis
  • Minnetonka
  • Minnetonka Beach
  • Minnetrista
  • Mound
  • New Hope
  • Orono
  • Osseo
  • Plymouth
  • Richfield
  • Robbinsdale
  • Shorewood
  • St. Anthony
  • St. Bonifacius
  • St. Louis Park
  • Tonka Bay
  • Wayzata
  • Woodland

Cities that must offer an organics recycling drop-off or organics recycling service in 2022

  • Hanover
  • Rogers
  • Spring Park

Backyard composting is a great way to turn waste from your yard and kitchen into a nutrient-rich compost that you can use to improve your soil right at home.

Backyard composting differs from organics recycling in the list of materials accepted.

You can compost yard waste like leaves and grass clippings as well as fruit and vegetables scraps and coffee grounds at home.

You cannot put meat and dairy products into a backyard compost bin because the pile won’t reach as high of temperatures as a commercial composting facility.

Learn more about backyard composting.

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