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GreenStep City Best Practices Environmental Management

Sustainable Consumption and Waste
no. 22

Increase waste prevention, reuse and recycling, moving to a lower-consumption, more cyclical, biological approach to materials management.
  Best Practice Action 5      [ 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 ]       [all actions]

Arrange for a residential and/or business/institutional source-separated organics collection/management program.

  • The MPCA’s organics collection and composting resources page has guidance, rules and background on backyard composting, yard waste composting, organics drop-off sites, and a model ordinance for backyard and small composting sites.
  • The MPCA's tools for local government page includes source-separated organics management options grouped into “good,” “better” and “best” actions and are organized under the two catogories of ordinances/licensing and collection. Documents to help cities adopt these actions are license templates, a hauler services agreement template, and 3 Request for Proposal frameworks.
  • See a food waste management and prevention resource from Eureka Recycling and the U.S. EPA, which has a food waste hierarchy in graphic form on its page of resource materials.
  • Cities are also encouraged to adopt policies that expand markets for compost to improve the economic sustainability of organics collection and management programs. See these actions where cities can specify the use of compost as a soil amendment (using a MnDOT specification): Purchasing action 15.5, Forestry action 16.2, Stormwater action 17.5, and Parks action 18.5.
Provide participant numbers and/or tons managed of one or more programs: food-to-people, food-to-animals, compostables collection, and backyard composting. Mention any yard waste collection program (note that it it banned by state law from landfills).
Organics collection by one hauler; facilitate multiple businesses to collect compostables; include a public outreach program to prevent food waste; assist with or directly manage yard waste so as to produce and sell a value-added wood chip and/or compost product.
Manage organics via small site composting, drop-site composting, or anaerobic digestion, and/or set and meet an aggressive program goal, such as % residents/businesses participating or profitability of program.


Date action report first entered:   03/02/2016
Date of last report update:   03/02/2016

Implementation details:
Hutchinson has one of the most established residential composting programs in the state at Creekside Soils, with its residential composting beginning with an expansion of the organics processing facility in 2001. The City uses an opt-out system for residential compost with each of the approximately 4,000 household within the city given a compost bin that they can use for co-collection of organics and yard-waste. Participation is over 90% with only about 100 residences opting out of the program. Biodegradable bags are available to those who participate in the curbside organics program for free at events multiple times per year. Creekside does advertise their services beyond simply supplying the bins as well. In addition to sending information to residents on when they will be offering the free compostable bags, there is a conscious effort within the program to reach out to new residents. When Creekside is informed of a new resident moving into town, a package with information about the program is compiled and sent to the address. In 2015, the Creekside facility diverted a total of 3,819.91 tons of waste from the landfill from Hutchinson and surrounding areas. Only looking at source separated organics, the number are still impressive with the facility diverting 1,831 tons via their curbside program. While there is not an anaerobic digester on site for the composting facility, the facility has partnered with a local dairy farm that uses an anaerobic digester to process manure and send the product to Creekside to be packaged and sold.

Outcome measures/metrics:
around 2,000 tons of source separated waste diverted from landfills each year since 2001

Descriptive links: http://www.creeksidesoils.com/

For more information contact:
John Paulson (City staff)   |   jpaulson@ci.hutchinson.mn.us   |   320-234-5682

Creekside soils

View All Hutchinson Actions

Elk River

Date action report first entered:   11/25/2010

Implementation details:
Randys Environmental Services offers residential organics collection. This program is extensively promoted by the City of Elk River Environmental Division and by Elk River Municipal Utilities. Despite the fact that we have two waste haulers that share Elk River, Randys Environmental Services is allowed to conduct organics pick-ups citywide.

Outcome measures/metrics:
There are currently 471 households participating in residential organics collection. Last year, participating homes diverted almost 90 tons of organic material from the waste stream. The material is taken to the composting facility in Rosemount.

Descriptive links: http://www.randyssanitation.com/residential/elkriver-overview/elkriver-organics-recycling.html

For more information contact:
Amanda Bednar (City staff)   |   ABednar@ElkRiverMN.gov   |   763-635-1068

View All Elk River Actions


Date action report first entered:   04/13/2018
Date of last report update:   04/13/2018
Year action initially completed:   2018
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   Yes

Implementation details:
Fridley residents can participate in a voluntary curbside organics recycling program. This program is offered citywide to residents of single family homes, duplexes, triplexes, and fourplexes through a single hauler.

Descriptive links: www.fridleymn.gov/organics

For more information contact:
Rachel Workin (City staff)   |   rachel.workin@fridleymn.gov   |   763-572-3594

Republic Services

View All Fridley Actions


Date action report first entered:   04/19/2017
Date of last report update:   04/19/2017
Year action initially completed:   2017
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   Yes

Implementation details:
In the spring of 2016, the City of Jordan signed a 5 year contract with a Dick’s Sanitation. The new partnership began offering city-wide organic collection on January 1, 2017. Jordan is now one of a few cities in Minnesota that offers food and yard waste collection to all residents. Dick’s Sanitation also engages residents in order to provide education on best methods for managing organics, yard waste, solid waste, and recycling. In addition to regular organics collection and outreach, annual fall leaf collection and winter tree collection are provided for free to all residents – keeping excess organic matter out of the city’s surface waters.

Outcome measures/metrics:
By issuing a RFP for a new waste hauler, the city saved a considerable amount of money for its residents while offering them additional services including organics collection. Moving forward, the baseline of organics collection participants will be assessed and the city will look into partnerships to increase usage.

Descriptive links: Jordan.gov/notice-category/environment

For more information contact:
Lauren Walburg (City staff)   |   lwalburg@jordanmn.gov   |   952-492-7928

Dick's Sanitation

View All Jordan Actions

Lake Crystal

Date action report first entered:   02/22/2017
Date of last report update:   02/22/2017
Year action initially completed:   2017
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   Yes

Implementation details:
Lake Crystal Wellcome Memorial School District with approximately 1,000 students in two buildings implemented an organics recycling program to prevent food waste from entering the waste stream. Instead all organics are sent to Full Circle Organics for Composting. The City of Lake Crystal, joined together with North Mankato and Mankato to be part of a Zero Waste Composting program funded by a grant from the MPCA. Lake Crystal has over 37 households signed up for the free program.

Outcome measures/metrics:
To date, the household program estimates that 907 pounds of household waste has been collected. Averaging 113 pounds of waste per week. The program estimated 25 households would sign up within the first year and as of 2/22/17 there are 37 households. A public outreach program includes participating in the 12/3/16 Christmas in Lake Crystal Craft Bazaar. Educational information was distributed and participants were able to sign up for the program. A 2/19 outreach event was held at the Presbyterian Church, and another one is set for 3/26/17 at Zion Lutheran Church. A presentation is also schedule for a Natural Resources class at LCWM on 2/22/17 which will include the composing program. Articles and photos of events were posted on social media and sent to the Lake Crystal Tribune. A 2/22/17 radio interview with KNUJ also highlighted the program, benefits, and information about signing up.

Descriptive links: mankatozerowaste.com

For more information contact:
Taylor Gronau (City staff)   |   lccity@hickorytech.net   |   507-726-2538

Mankato Zero Waste

View All Lake Crystal Actions

Marine on Saint Croix

Date action report first entered:   01/19/2017
Date of last report update:   01/19/2017
Year action initially completed:   2016
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   Yes

Implementation details:
Five businesses received a Ramsey and Washington County grant, with help from Waste Wise, to reduce trash, increase recycling, and implement (new!) compostables pickup. A new enclosure was built, using local contractors, to consolidate waste storage and pickup. Three other Marine businesses have received grant money to start commercial compost pickup, and others are exploring the option.

Descriptive links: http://www.countrymessenger.com/news/marine-on-st-croix-green-step-city/article_05540744-bbd5-11e6-9ce3-2b3afb8ddada.html

For more information contact:
Anne Reich (Community volunteer)   |   reichmn@gmail.com   |   651-433-1341

Waste Wise; Kristen Klemestrud, Stillwater business owner

View All Marine on Saint Croix Actions

Coon Rapids

Date action report first entered:   10/27/2014
Date of last report update:   10/27/2014

Implementation details:
In 2013, Coon Rapids launched a pilot organics collection program for residents to drop household food waste and non-recyclable paper products at the recycling drop off center. Grant money was used to provide roughly 100 households with Randy's Blue Bags and kitchen pails at no cost. Part of this program included educating those residents about the importance of organics collection and ensuring the correct materials are added to the organics. This program continues to expand.

Outcome measures/metrics:
Approximately 200 households currently participating and plans to expand through more advertising and outreach. In the first six months of collection, roughly 10,000 lbs of organic material collected.

For more information contact:
Colleen Sinclair (City staff)   |   csinclair@coonrapidsmn.gov   |   763-767-6485

View All Coon Rapids Actions


Date action report first entered:   04/06/2012

Implementation details:
In August 2011, the City and Randy's Environmental Services (contracted solid waste hauler) launched a collaborative project to provide a separated organics collection program within the City. The program is labeled the Blue Bag Program by Randy's. The Blue Bag Program is different from previous organics collection programs offered by Randy's and other waste haulers in the area. This program allows residents to still throw all refuse in one waste container, but by separating organics wasted into a separate "blue bag", it allows the waste hauler to separate the organics from the waste stream later. The advantages to this method are convenience for the resident and the same waste collection process for the hauler. A second organics collection truck is not needed - a process previously required in other organics collection processes. The first phase of the program was launched with a small, 40-household pilot group, to test the product and its deliver. Some modifications with the program were made over the past 6 months. In June 2012, Randy's is expected to complete the expansion of its existing waste collection site in Delano, allowing for more space to separate the organics from the waste stream. The construction project began in the fall of 2011 and is progressing as planned. Randy's and the City have collaborated on a date for launching the program City-wide. This effort is currently planned for August 1, 2012.

Descriptive links: http://www.pressnews.com/articles/2011/07/28/delano/3delanocc7-19-11.txt

For more information contact:
Phil Kern (City staff)   |   pkern@delano.mn.us   |   763-972-0565

Randy's Environmental Services

View All Delano Actions


Date action report first entered:   04/05/2011

Implementation details:
In progress: Dakota Valley Recycling continues to explore organics recycling; no program is in place yet. Thomson Reuters has implemented a waste-to-food program, in which they donate food waste to Second Harvest Farms, which is then used to feed hogs.

Descriptive links: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ywCWR1wzPrw

View All Eagan Actions

Eden Prairie

Date action report first entered:   09/13/2011

Implementation details:
City has designated organic waste haulers.

Descriptive links: http://www.edenprairie.org/index.aspx?page=389

For more information contact:
Tania Mahtani (City staff)   |   tmahtani@edenprairie.org   |   952-949-8413

View All Eden Prairie Actions


Date action report first entered:   10/10/2012

Implementation details:
In 2010 Hopkins was awarded a grant for Organic Outreach to businesses and civic organizations in the City of Hopkins. No businesses so far have implemented an organics collection program, but many of them expressed an interest in doing so in the future. In the summer of 2012 Hopkins staff and Louise Miller, a Green Consultant, provided organic and traditional recycling at community events such as: Raspberry Festival Family Days - 3 day (Hopkins Jaycees) Music in the Park Concert Series - Thursdays 6 weeks (Hopkins Business & Civic Association) Hopkins Farmers Market - July through October (Hopkins Farmers Market Coop)

Outcome measures/metrics:
2,085 lbs of organics were collected at these events. 267 lbs of recyclables were collected at these events. All organics collected through Hopkins programs are composted.

Descriptive links: http://www.hopkinsmn.com/green/pdf/organics-recycling-brochure.pdf,

For more information contact:
Pam Hove (City staff)   |   Phove@hopkinsmn.com   |   952-548-6351

View All Hopkins Actions

La Prairie

Date action report first entered:   06/21/2011

Implementation details:
We have contracted with a non-profit group (Deer River Hired Hands) to pick up the brush from our community brush pile and chip the branches for recycling.

Outcome measures/metrics:
Rather than taking our brush to the landfill, recycling it by chipping it also offers an opportunity for a local non-profit to employ handicapped adults by their ability to sell the wood chips. This project is ongoing.

Descriptive links: Environmental Management

View All La Prairie Actions

Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe

Date action report first entered:   04/16/2015
Date of last report update:   04/16/2015

Implementation details:
Outreach campaigns and individual composter sales at each community event. Sold 80 earth machine composters at reduced rates.

For more information contact:
Brandy Toft (City staff)   |   air@lldrm.org   |   218-335-7429

View All Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Actions


Date action report first entered:   04/24/2017
Date of last report update:   04/24/2017
Year action initially completed:   2017
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   Yes

Implementation details:
The city of Mankato and a citizen group Mankato Zero Waste (MZW) have partnered on organics food waste recycling. Items (such as--meat, bones, dairy and bakery products, food-soiled paper products, pizza boxes, eggs and paper egg carton) can be dropped of at 2 sites in Mankato during daylight hours and at no charge. Starter kits with bag samples and coupons--are available at city offices. The organics are picked up by Full Circle Organics and composted at a location in Good Thunder. Program is supported by a grant from the MPCA.

Descriptive links: https://www.mankatomn.gov/city-services-a-z/city-services-a-m/garbage-and-recycling/organics-recycling

For more information contact:
Molly Westman (City staff)   |   mwestman@mankatomn.gov   |   507-387-8571

View All Mankato Actions


Date action report first entered:   04/14/2014
Date of last report update:   05/01/2015

Implementation details:
The City, in partner with the Minnesota Waste Wise organization has been providing technical assistance in the area of solid waste management to local churches and small businesses. At no cost to the participating organization the city will conduct a site inspection and provide feedback to help better manage an organization's solid waste stream. During a recent visit to Saint Jeromes school a opportunity for waste diversion. It was noted that a vast majority of the schools garbage was food waste. Waste Wise then helped the school set up a food-to-hogs program. The participating school has found the program to be very successful and is excited to reduce the volume of trash they are generating. For 2014 Ramsey County began hosting a source separated organics collection points at their compost sites. The county has provided the city with free compostable bags to hand to residents. The city now provides those bag to residents at the city hall, the Maplewood Community Center, and the City Hall. In addition to compost drop off, the city of Maplewood does have an ordinance that allows for backyard composting as well as the sale of composting containers that fit within that ordinance through the Recycling Association of Minnesota. The city will work with Ramsey County to deliver organics collection bins to be utilized during events. the city and Ramsey County will collect these bins and drop off the waste.

For more information contact:
Chris Swanson (City staff)   |   chris.swanson@ci.maplewood.mn.us   |   651-249-2305

Ramsey County

View All Maplewood Actions


Date action report first entered:   04/01/2014

Implementation details:
In 2007, the City of Minnetonka received a Waste Abatement Incentive Grant from Hennepin County to encourage refuse haulers to offer organics collections to their customers. Since then hundreds of families have signed up for weekly collection of organics. The city identifies and provides contact information for three refuse haulers offering organics collection on its website.

Descriptive links: http://www.eminnetonka.com/news.cfm?story_id=OrganicsRecyclingSignUp200809

For more information contact:
Drew Ingvalson (City staff)   |   dingvalson@eminnetonka.com   |   952-939-8293

View All Minnetonka Actions


Date action report first entered:   04/17/2018
Date of last report update:   04/17/2018
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   No

Implementation details:
The City of Pierz has not only designated a hauler for solid waste in our community, we have two different designated areas in our community for disposal of organic materials. We have implemented with assistance from Morrison County, a compost pile for leaves, grass clippings, mulch, etc. The City of Pierz also has a designated brush pile for those residents wishes to dispose of branches, tree debris, etc.

Outcome measures/metrics:
The compost pile is used by residents who choose to add compost to their lawns and gardens to use as a natural fertilizer. The brush pile is used by animals as homes and a food source. This decomposes and creates natural material for the ground nutrients.

For more information contact:
Kari Tyson (City staff)   |   karit@pierzmn.org   |   320-468-6471

View All Pierz Actions

Red Wing

Date action report first entered:   06/28/2011

Implementation details:
The City has at least one (name here?) organics managmeent program

Outcome measures/metrics:
Name the program , and list the amounts pulledout from waste streams.

For more information contact:
Paul Drotos (City staff)   |   paul.drotos@ci.red-wing.mn.us   |   651-410-6744

View All Red Wing Actions


Date action report first entered:   02/19/2016
Date of last report update:   02/19/2016

Implementation details:
Randy's Environmental Services offers "blue bag" organics recycling services to their residential and commercial customers in the City.

For more information contact:
Amy Markle (City staff)   |   amarkle@richfieldmn.gov   |   612-861-9394

View All Richfield Actions

Saint Paul

Date action report first entered:   12/23/2014
Date of last report update:   12/23/2014

Implementation details:
In Spring 2014, Ramsey County started accepting source-separated organics at four yard waste sites Located in Saint Paul. The City promotes the use of these sites on the City web site and through social media. The City currently financially supports the MGCC drop off site. This has increased opportunities for organics recycling in Saint Paul.

For more information contact:
Kurt Schultz (City staff)   |   kurt.schultz@ci.stpaul.mn.us   |   651-266-6590

View All Saint Paul Actions

Fergus Falls pending

Date action report first entered:   01/14/2016
Date of last report update:   01/14/2016

Implementation details:
Otter Tail County recently hired a Public Information and Education Officer in their Solid Waste Department. She has indicated this is the project she plans to focus on in 2016.

For more information contact:
Len Taylor (City staff)   |   len.taylor@ci.fergus-falls.mn.us   |   218-332-5418

Otter Tail County

View All Fergus Falls Actions

New Hope pending

Date action report first entered:   12/03/2018
Date of last report update:   12/03/2018
Year action initially completed:   2018
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   Yes

Implementation details:
Hennepin County Board passed mandate in 2018 that all cities in Hennepin County must provide curbside collection of organics by January of 2022. One of the city's licensed haulers, Randy's Sanitation, currently offers organics recycling.

Descriptive links: https://www.hennepin.us/residents/recycling-hazardous-waste/organics-recycling

For more information contact:
Jeff Alger (City staff)   |   jalger@ci.new-hope.mn.us   |   763-531-5119

Hennepin County

View All New Hope Actions

West Saint Paul pending

Date action report first entered:   01/23/2019
Date of last report update:   01/23/2019
Year action initially completed:   2017
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   Yes

Implementation details:
City of West St. Paul partnered with Dakota County for an organics drop site located at Thompson Park. Currently the program has 1,117 total registered households, of which 487 are from West St. Paul. The rest are from surrounding communities. The organics drop site is free for any resident in the County to use and compostable bags are provided for residents to take and use.

Descriptive links: https://www.co.dakota.mn.us/Environment/Residential/Organics/Pages/organics-drop-off.aspx

For more information contact:
Dave Schletty (City staff)   |   DSchletty@wspmn.gov   |   651-552-4152

View All West Saint Paul Actions

pending means a star rating has not yet been assigned to this city

greenstep advisor
Tim Farnan, Waste Prevention Specialist, MN Pollution Control Agency: 651/757-2348, timothy.farnan@state.mn.us, http://www.pca.state.mn.us/ktqh87d