Green To Go

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

Overview

The Environmentally Acceptable Packaging Ordinance requires food and beverages prepared for immediate consumption and to-go must be placed in containers that are one of the following:

  • Reusable
  • Recyclable
  • Compostable

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

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 vendor use compostable plastic food containers
  • Have systems in place to send materials collected for recycling or composting

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

Green To Go flyers

Informational flyers describe the requirements of the Green To Go ordinance.

Complaints

Contact 311 to make a complaint about a business using a product that is not allowed under the Green To Go ordinance. 

Green To Go decal

The Minneapolis Health Department created a decal to recognize businesses that meet Green To Go rules.

The removable decal tells patrons “We use environmentally friendly food containers." The decal also displays:

  • City of Minneapolis logo
  • Green To Go symbol and website

Confusing packaging

Beware of packaging that does not meet Green To Go requirements. Health Inspectors are seeing products represented as meeting the ordinance, but do not meet it. Some of the products are beige and resemble compostable to-go containers. The symbol on the bottom of the products is a number six inside the chasing arrow triangle. This symbol means the product is polystyrene, which is not an acceptable material under the ordinance. 

Terms such as “green alternative,” “degradable,” “biodegradable,” and “sustainably sourced” are marketing terms. They do not indicate if a product meets Green to Go requirements.

Green To Go requires packaging and containers to be reuseable, recyclable or compostable. Preferred plastics are numbers 1, 2, and 5. Compostable items must be BPI certified or meet ASTM standards D6400 or D6868.

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

Packaging definition

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

  • Glasses
  • Cups
  • Plates
  • Serving trays
  • To-go containers

Examples of packaging

 The Green To Go ordinance does not allow polystyrene products to be used: 

  • Rigid polystyrene  - plastic marked a number 6 inside three chasing arrow

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

Green To Go supplier list

Need products that meet Green To Go rules? Green To Go supplier list.

The City of Minneapolis does not endorse any company. This list is provided as a resource for businesses needing to purchase products that meet Green To Go rules. The companies listed sell directly to businesses.

Hennepin County assistance

Hennepin County offers free assistance and  Business recycling grants

For more information visit www.hennepin.us/businessrecycling

Hennepin County composting haulers

Find a list of haulers that collect organics for composing on the Hennepin County website. Scroll down and select, "Organics composting haulers."

Organics recycling and haulers

Ordinanance

Read the Green To Go ordinance

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

Health Department

Phone

612-673-2301

Address

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

Office hours
8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Monday – Friday