Green To Go

We explain container requirements for food and drinks prepared for immediate consumption and to go.

Overview

The City's Environmentally Acceptable Packaging Ordinance is also known as Green To Go. Under Green To Go, food and beverages that are either:

  • Prepared for immediate consumption
  • Taken to-go

Must be put in containers that are one of the following:

  • Reusable
  • Recyclable
  • Compostable

Additional Green To Go requirements:

  • Recyclable materials must be recycled.
  • Compostable plastics must be composted. 

Read the Green To Go ordinance

Packaging

Definition

Cans, bottles or containers used to package food or beverages for immediate consumption.

Examples:

  • Glasses
  • Cups
  • Plates
  • Serving trays
  • To-go containers
hand holding a reusable cup at event

Packaging examples

Not allowed
Rigid polystyrene is plastic marked with a number 6 inside three chasing arrows.

Green To Go packaging example Rigid polystyrene

Allowed
We allow plastic marked with a number 1, 2 or 5 inside three chasing arrows.

Green To Go packaging example plastics 1 2 5

Allowed
We allow compostable items that are BPI certified or meet ASTM standard D6868.

Green To Go packaging compostable plastics

 

Confusing packaging

Beware of packaging that does not meet Green To Go requirements. 

Often the products are beige and resemble compostable to-go containers. Some products have a symbol on them of a number six inside three chasing arrows. This symbol means the product is polystyrene, which is not allowed under Green To Go rules. 

Some packaging has descriptions that make it seem like the packing meets Green To Go rules. Packaging with these terms may not meet Green to Go rules:

  • Green alternative
  • Degradable
  • Biodegradable
  • Sustainable

Green To Go requires packaging and containers to be reusable, recyclable or compostable. Preferred plastics are numbers 1, 2 and 5. Compostable items must be BPI certified or meet ASTM standard D6868.

If you have questions about whether or not a container meets Green To Go rules, contact 311 or your health inspector.

Green To Go flyers

Our flyers describe the rules of Green To Go. They are available in English, Chinese, Hmong, Korean, Somali and Spanish.

Exemptions

Exempt from the ordinance:

  • Knives, forks and spoons (they are not packaging items)
  • Straws (they are not a packaging item)
  • Foods prepackaged by the manufacturer, producer or distributor
  • Plastic films less than 10 mils thick
  • Catering companies licensed by the City of Minneapolis, another city or the state.
  • Hospitals and Nursing Homes

Events and farmers markets

Event food sponsors and market managers are responsible for the collection and handling of to-go food and drink containers at their event or market. 

Event food sponsors and market managers must:

  • Provide recycling collection bins for recyclable food and drink containers
  • Provide organics collection bins if any vendors use compostable plastic food containers
  • Have systems in place to send collected materials for recycling or composting

Contact Minneapolis 311 if you have questions. Ask for an Environmental Health supervisor.

More on Green To Go rules:

Related links

Hennepin County

Get free assistance from the county

Read about business recycling grants from the county

See organics recycling and haulers in the county

Complaints

To report a business that is not following Green To Go rules, contact 311.

Request accessible format

If you need help with this information, please email 311, or call 311 or 612-673-3000.

Please tell us what format you need. It will help us if you say what assistive technology you use.

Contact us

Environmental Health

Health Department

Phone

612-673-3000

Address

Public Service Center
505 Fourth Ave S, Room 520
Minneapolis, MN 55415
 

Minneapolis 311

 
 

Office hours

7 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Monday – Friday