Outreach to begin about new business recycling requirements

The county has begun notifying businesses about the new recycling requirements that go in effect on January 1, 2020. Outreach will include mailings, phone calls and site visits.

Resources to help businesses understand and comply with requirements:

  • Training materials and how-to-comply guides to answer common questions to help businesses understand the food recycling and conventional recycling requirements.
  • A central access point for businesses to get quick answers from a recycling specialist by emailing businessrecycling@hennepin.us or by calling 612-543-9298.
  • An online form to request technical assistance and/or a site visit to help businesses determine how to set up food waste recycling within their operations.
  • New guidelines for business recycling grants that prioritize businesses that will be affected by the food waste recycling requirements and waste prevention efforts. Businesses are strongly encouraged to apply for grants while they are still available to help with the purchase recycling containers and start up supplies. The remaining 2019 application deadlines for competitive grants are August 1 and November 1.

For a list of covered sectors, see the current summary of requirements at www.hennepin.us/businessorganics. For more information about the business recycling requirements, contact Mallory Anderson at 612-348-3837 or Amy Maas at 612-348-6848.

Business recycling grants available

Accelerated grant applications for $10,000 or less are available for purchasing new blue and green containers to bring your recycling and organics programs up to best practice standards: color-code bins, label bins, and co-locate bins near each other to make sorting easier. The grant can cover the cost of three months of new hauling for recycling and organics recycling as applicable, six months of compostable liners for new programs, and construction costs associated with new compactors or enclosures.

The next competitive grant deadline is on Thursday, August 1. These are for applications for grants over $10,000 and up to $50,000, will be accepted on a quarterly basis. The last deadline for 2019 is on Friday, November 1. Learn more and apply here.

Assistance and resources available

Get started with a site visit

Request a site visit to learn what else your business could be doing to reduce waste and recycle more. Site visits take 30 to 60 minutes. A Hennepin County staff person will come to your location and join you on a walk through your site. They will point out quick fixes, make recommendations for more long-term changes, and discuss potential funding available through the county’s Business Recycling Grant Program.

Label your recycling, trash, and organics bins!

We have posters, signs, and stickers available so that you can label every bin at your business. Proper labeling and signage reduces contamination and confusion. Consistency is key and we are happy to talk you through best practices when it comes to labeling. Ready to get moving? Request signage here.      


Presentations and training for your staff

Hennepin County staff can come to your site and train your employees (for free!) about recycling and waste through hands-on and interactive training. Tight on time? We can also provide you with easy-to-distribute guides and tips for your employees. We also have webinar options so your staff can simply click a link to join the training. Email businessrecycling@hennepin.us today to discuss training opportunities.

Annual recycling progress report available

Measuring progress toward our recycling goals

Hennepin County’s Annual Recycling Progress Report (PDF) provides an update on our efforts to meet our goals of recycling 75 percent of waste and sending no waste to landfills by 2030. In 2018, county residents and businesses discarded about 1.45 million tons of solid waste. This includes everything put into recycling, organics recycling, and trash. That is a 1 percent increase over 2017, or about 16,000 tons more. Of all the waste generated, 80 percent was diverted from landfills. The county’s recycling rate, which includes conventional recycling and organics recycling, was 49 percent. The remaining waste was managed as trash, with 31 percent going to waste-to-energy facilities and 20 percent to landfills.

What to recycle and what happens to your recycling

Kare11 recently ran a two-part series on recycling. The first story featured a behind-the-scenes look at the Dem-Con materials recovery facility in Shakopee where recycling from residential carts gets sorted and baled.


They discussed some challenges that these facilities face from items that don’t belong in the recycling, like plastic bags and string lights that get tangled in the equipment and batteries that can cause fires. They also highlighted some recycling tips, including to leave plastic caps on plastic bottles, to not crush aluminum cans, and what the symbol with the number on plastic items really tells you (hint: it doesn’t mean that an item is recyclable).

So what actually happens to the materials that you put in your bin? Kare11’s second story features some of the 200 companies in Minnesota that take your recycled materials and turns them into new products. Boxes, ceiling tile, plastic furniture, plastic packaging, and rebar and just a few of the items your recyclables are turned into.

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To help address some common questions about recycling, Hennepin County is encouraging residents to Recycle Smart and know what goes in their recycling cart. See our recycling at work guide (PDF) for a list of what’s accepted for recycling.

Contact us businessrecycling@hennepin.us 612-543-9298
Learn more here

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