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Residential organics recycling

Questions and answers

When will I get my cart?
Your organics recycling cart will be delivered within a couple weeks of signing up. 

How often are organics collected?
Organics are picked up every week on your regularly scheduled collection day.  Click here to find your collection day.

Can I take part?
If you live in a house with Minneapolis Solid Waste & Recycling services, you can sign up to participate in the organics recycling program. There is no extra charge on your Utility Bill to participate.  Renters in a house that has Minneapolis Solid Waste & Recycling services can also sign up and don’t need to have the utility bill payer (landlord or owner) sign up for them.

What if I can’t take part in organics recycling collection?
Minneapolis residents can also use the
City's residential organics drop-off locations. Another option is to encourage the owner or manager of the apartment building or commercial property to add organics collection service. There are no Solid Waste Management Taxes or fees on recycling or organics.  By diverting recycling and organics from the garbage, the size of the garbage dumpster and/or the collection frequency can be reduced, resulting not only in savings of taxes and fees, but also savings in overall service costs.  Hennepin County has business grants that can help add or improve recycling or organics collection programs.  Visit Hennepin County's Business Recycling webpage for more information.

How can I sign up?
Customers may sign up online by filling our our Organics Recycling Sign Up form or by contacting Solid Waste & Recycling at 612-673-2917 Monday–Friday 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m.

How much will it cost me to participate?
There is no added cost to your solid waste and recycling fees to participate in the organics recycling program. It’s included in the base fee for service for all of our customers.

What size is the organics cart?
Households with two or fewer dwelling units will receive a 32-gallon cart.  Households with more than two dwelling units will receive a 64-gallon cart.  

Can I share a cart with my neighbor?
City ordinance does not allow residents to share carts. City Ordinance 225.10 states in part: "No person shall leave, throw, or deposit or use or permit any other person to leave, place, throw, or deposit, any substances or materials of any kind at a city solid waste collection point...for city disposal when the substances or materials were generated at a location other than the residence."  

Can I put yard waste in my organics recycling cart?
No, at this time yard waste must be prepared to collection requirements and cannot be placed in the organics recycling cart. 

Should I stop composting in my backyard compost bin if I participate in the organics recycling program?

You don’t have to stop backyard composting, which lets you immediately have access to the compost produced from your hard work and dedication.  Organics recycling does let you compost items that you should not include in your backyard compost bin, such as meat, bones, dairy products and compostable plastics. It also lets you recycle organics during the winter, when a lot of residents don’t do backyard composting.

What happens to organics after they're picked up by the City?
Organics collected through the program are brought to a commercial composting facility where they're mixed with yard waste and composted.  Microbes break down material in the piles, causing them to heat up.  After several pile turnings and a curing process – a process that takes six to nine months – the compost is screened to remove any items that didn’t get composted (such as larger sticks or contaminants) and is ready for use in gardens, or in landscaping or erosion control projects.  Click here to watch a video of what happens to organics when they arrive at the composting facility.   Click here for a short animated video produced by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency or this Video of the composting process

How do I prevent my organics from producing odors and attracting pests inside your home?
Organics recycling does not produce any waste that you’re not already producing, so there shouldn’t be any new odors because of it.  See below or read our Indoor Organics Collection Tips handout for some ways to reduce the potential of odors.  

1. Use a kitchen collection container that has a vented lid. Food waste decomposes faster and creates odors when its access to oxygen is cut off. That’s why lidded garbage containers smell bad once the lid is opened. Purchase a kitchen pail with a vented lid (with or without a carbon filter) or make one using an ice cream container or a coffee ground type container as a pail.

2. Consider collecting your “wet” organics (food scraps, meat trimmings, etc.) in a large yogurt or cottage cheese container (a half-gallon ice cream container works well too) and keep it in your refrigerator or freezer until you're ready to put bag them and place in your organics cart.  Paper items do not need to be stored in the refrigerator or freezer as they usually don’t cause any odors.

3. Drain all liquids and place newspaper in the bottom of your organics collection container. Newspaper absorbs liquids and prevents odors.

4. Wait until the night before collection to put your organics (particularly the wet organics) into your green organics cart. 


5. Clean spoiled food out your refrigerator the day before your organics recycling collection so that any spoiled food can be bagged and brought out to your organics cart right away rather than sit in your home or in your cart for several days.


Will my organics cart attract pests outdoors?
If you currently have issues with raccoons, squirrels, etc. with your garbage cart, those issues may persist with the addition of organics.  If you do not have issues with pests now, you will not likely have issues by participating in the organics recycling program.

How can I prevent or get rid of maggots in my organics recycling cart?
Maggots are a common, naturally occurring problem with many organics recycling programs.  Even if you didn't see them, maggots were commonly found in garbage carts before the City implemented the organics recycling program.  Maggots are fly larvae and occur when flies lay eggs on organic materials.  Maggots are more common in warmer temperatures.  To prevent maggots inside your organics recycling cart, you have to prevent mature flies from laying eggs in on your food scraps by eliminating odors and reducing their access to organic materials.  See our Outdoor Organics Collection Tips handout for information about preventing maggots and other pests.

Which is better: garbage disposal or organics recycling?
Collecting organic materials for composting helps maintain valuable nutrients within our soils. Placing these items down a garbage disposal puts extra processing burdens on our wastewater treatment facility.

Do I need to use compostable bags?

Yes, compostable bags (either certified compostable plastic or paper grocery bags) are required for collection of organic materials. This helps ensure that all organics are easily removed from your cart during collection and helps reduce odors and pests that can be associated with collecting organics.  Using certified compostable plastic bags to collect organics reduces the need to take paper bags from the grocery store.  Tie compostable plastic bags in a knot or use string or twine to tie them shut.  You may not use twist ties, rubber bands, tape, or nylon string to tie compostable plastic bags shut as these items are not compostable.  Pizza boxes and egg cartons do not need to be bagged.  See Bagging your Organics - Dos and Don'ts for more information.

Compostable plastic bags break down too quickly.  How can I increase the longevity of compostable plastic bags?
See our Indoor Organics Collection Tips handout for other collection method ideas that can reduce the chance of your compostable plastic bags breaking. 

Where can I buy certified compostable bags?

Certified compostable bags are sold at most grocery, hardware and large retail stores. Some garden stores and nurseries will also carry these bags. You may also find compostable bags online (suggested search term: certified compostable plastic bags). Be sure they have the compostable logo to the right on the box and on the bags themselves. Compostable bags come in a mini kitchen-pail size (approximately three-gallon bags), standard kitchen-size bag (approximately 13-gallon bags), lawn and leaf size (approximately 33-gallon bags), and even larger for commercial applications.  Lawn and leaf paper bags as well as 33 gallon or larger compostable plastic bags work well to line your organics recycling cart.  If your store doesn’t carry the brand or size that you like, let them know so they can consider carrying it. For more information on certified compostable bag brands and manufacturers, visit the Biodegradable Products Institute’s website at Logo


Do pizza boxes and egg cartons need to be in a compostable bag?

No. These larger, entirely paper items do not need to be in compostable bags and may be placed loose into organics recycling carts.

How can I tell if paper is plastic-lined?
Any item that has a smooth and shiny coating on it the item must say it's compostable or have the BPI or Cedar Grove certification to be able to be placed in the organics recycling cart.  This includes all items that you think may be wax lined such as: cups, plates, bowls, wax paper, parchment paper, butcher paper, butter wraps, Chinese take-out containers, paper ice cream tubs, milk and juice cartons, and more.  If you're unsure if an item is BPI or Cedar Grove certified compostable, visit their websites and check their certified compostable catalogs. 

What about paper towels used for cleaning, nail polish remover-soaked cotton swabs, chemical face cleaning product wipes, etc.?

If a product contains non-natural ingredients, it’s best to keep them out of your organics recycling. 

What about wax-coated boxes and parchment paper?

Almost all wax and parchment paper is made of a combination of wax and plastic.  For either of these products to go in the organics recycling cart, they must be BPI or Cedar Grove certified compostable.  The compostable logo will be visible on the packaging.

What about uneaten pet food and pet food bags?

Uneaten pet food is accepted in the organics recycling program. However, most pet food bags are plastic lined and are not accepted in the organics recycling program.

Why can't pet waste be included?
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency will not allow compost facilities to accept pet waste, so we cannot accept them in the residential collection program. Continue using the garbage for all pet waste.

Dryer lint, dryer sheets and cleaning pads?

For items such as these to be accepted in the organics program, they must be certified compostable. Contact the manufacturer and let them know that you’d prefer they had their products certified.

Microwaveable popcorn bags?

Microwaveable popcorn bags are plastic lined and they're typically also lined with bisphenol-A (BPA).  For these reasons, microwaveable popcorn bags are not accepted in the organics recycling program.

Items with foil paper?

Paper items with foil, reflective sections or glitter are not accepted in the organics recycling program or in the one-sort recycling program and belong in the garbage.


If you have any additional questions, please call Solid Waste & Recycling at 612-673-2917 or email [email protected].




Last updated Sep 11, 2020



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