Green To Go

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


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

Food must be put in containers that are one of the following:

  • Reusable
  • Recyclable
  • Compostable

Food businesses must provide collection bins for each type of material used. 

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

Read the Green To Go ordinance



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


  • Cups
  • Bowls
  • Sauce cups
  • Lids
  • Clamshells (hinged food containers)
  • Other to go containers
hand holding a reusable cup at event

Packaging examples


  • We allow plastic marked with a number #1, #2 or #5
  • We allow compostable plastics that are BPI certified

Not allowed

  • Rigid polystyrene plastic marked with a #6
  • Polyethylene (PE) plastic lined paper cups and plates
  • Styrofoam (expanded polystyrene)

MNimize business assistance

You can get free help from MNimize. MNimize is a non-profit offering financial, technical and other assistance to help you meet Green To Go rules. 

MNimize will help you with:

  • Financial support – get up to $1,000 worth of containers that meet Green To Go rules
  • Technical assistance - get help finding reusable and certified compostable packaging alternatives
  • Staff training
  • Other assistance as needed
  • Recognition on the MNimize Website for plastic reduction efforts you’re already making

We are partnering with MNimize to improve compliance with Green To Go. MNimize is a program of the Minnesota Waste Wise Foundation.

Contact MNimize at or 651-292-4664.

Learn more about MNimize 

Black plastic

Black plastic food containers are not allowed under Green To Go rules.

Black plastic containers are a problem because they:
•    Are not accepted in Minneapolis residential recycling carts
•    Do not align with the City's Zero Waste Plan goals
•    Are trash

Consider using clear or white recyclable plastic or compostable containers.

Confusing packaging

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

Some products promoted as green, or good for the environment, do not meet Green To Go rules.  Packaging with these terms may not meet Green to Go rules:

  • Green alternative
  • Degradable
  • Biodegradable
  • Sustainable

Call 311 or the health department to confirm if a container meets Green To Go rules.  


Green To Go flyers

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

Exempt items

Some items do not need to meet Green To Go rules:

  • Utensils
  • Straws
  • Stir sticks
  • Foods prepackaged by the manufacturer, producer or distributor
  • Plastic films less than 10 mils thick

Exempt businesses

Caterers, hospitals, and nursing homes do not need to follow Green To Go rules.

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


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

Minneapolis Health Department




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

Minneapolis 311


Office hours

7 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Monday – Friday