Hennepin County requires organics recycling for cities and certain businesses

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hennepin county minnesota


November 27, 2018

Hennepin County requires organics recycling for cities and certain businesses

On Tuesday, the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners approved revisions to the county’s recycling ordinance. The changes require businesses that generate large quantities of food waste to implement food waste recycling by January 1, 2020 and cities to offer organics composting service to residents by 2022. In addition to requiring organics recycling, the ordinance was revised to improve conventional recycling at businesses, apartments, and other multifamily dwellings.

Thank you

County staff would like to thank the many stakeholders who took time to provide input along each step of the process. Your thoughtful comments made for a better final ordinance. By incorporating your feedback, it is our hope that implementation will be as manageable as possible for affected businesses.

Since organic materials make up 30 percent of trash, recycling food and other organic materials is the biggest opportunity to achieve the county’s recycling goals of recycling 75 percent of our waste and sending zero waste to landfills by 2030. Putting our food waste to a better use can help feed people in need, create compost for healthier soils, and create energy through anaerobic digestion.


Staff are now turning their attention to implementing the requirements. Our plans include:

Notify businesses, property owners and haulers and provide support for the requirements that begin on January 1, 2020

  • Create plain language guides for compliance, education resources and training support
  • Help address barriers and continue to offer grants and technical assistance
  • Promote requirements to covered sectors and provide targeted assistance

Support cities in implementing residential organics by January 1, 2022

  • Fund drop-off sites
  • Support pilot projects
  • Develop program plans and share contract language
  • Create education materials and help cities with promotions

Sign up for our sector-specific newsletters

Now that the ordinance has been revised, we will no longer use the email list to send updates. Please take a moment now to sign up for our sector-specific newsletters (business recycling or multifamily recycling) to stay informed about implementation guides and other resources as they are developed.

Details of the new recycling requirements

  • Businesses that generate large quantities of food waste, such as restaurants, hotels, grocers, residential care facilities, and office buildings with dining services, must implement food waste recycling by January 1, 2020. This requirement applies to businesses in the covered sectors that generate one ton of trash or more per week or contract for weekly collection of eight or more cubic yards of trash. This threshold was selected because large generators of organics are likely to break even or even save money when implementing food waste recycling.
  • Cities must make organics recycling service available to all households with curbside recycling service (single-family and dwellings up to four units) by January 1, 2022. Cities of the fourth class (those with a population of 10,000 or less) that choose not to make curbside organics recycling service available to residents must provide at least one organics recycling drop-off site by January 1, 2022.
  • Multifamily properties must provide recycling education to residents, offer adequate service for the collection of recyclables (and organics if offered), increase service levels if insufficient, provide recycling containers in common areas where trash is being collected, and label waste containers.
  • In addition to meeting state recycling requirements, businesses must offer adequate service for the collection of recyclables, increase service levels if insufficient, and label containers.
  • The county will have the authority to enforce these requirements, including the ability to issue warnings or citations for noncompliance. Businesses and multifamily properties would be given the opportunity to comply before the county would take enforcement action.

Learn more

Read the board action

Review the ordinance language (PDF)

See a summary of new requirements, ordinance revisions and completed public engagement efforts

Staff contacts

Contact us

Hennepin County Environment and Energy





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