Organics recycling changes coming for businesses

Posted on 08 November 2019 by Tesha Christensen

Mallory Anderson, waste prevention and recycling specialist, said, “Organic materials are a resource, not a waste.” Waste-sort studies show that organic materials are the largest proportion of trash at about 25%, according to the county’s solid waste management master plan.(Photo by Margie O’Loughlin)

Restaurants and others with food waste must compost by Jan. 1, 2020

Businesses with a large amount of food waste must start recycling it by Jan. 1, 2020.
Hennepin County Ordinance 13 also will require cities within the county that have more than 10,000 residents to offer curbside organics recycling beginning in 2022. The new ordinance was triggered by a state mandate that counties recycle 75% of their waste, and a county resolution to send no waste to landfills by 2030.
Under the new ordinance, grocery stores, hotels, sports venues, senior living facilities, office buildings with food service, food shelves, colleges and schools with food service, shopping malls, and airports that generate one ton or more of trash per week (or more than eight cubic yards) will have to recycle their food waste.
Mallory Anderson is a waste prevention and recycling specialist with Hennepin County. She said, “We’re already well into notifying businesses about the new requirements. Outreach has been coming in the form of mailings, phone calls, and site visits. There are about 90 businesses in the 55406 zip code that could meet the limit of generating an eight-yard dumpster or more of trash weekly. We really are going after places with commercial kitchens; there is a lot of food waste happening out there.”

Grants available to help
Thanks to a county and state tax on trash, there are funds set aside to help businesses comply with the new requirements.
Anderson said, “Last year the county issued about 70 grants, with an average amount of $4,000. A request up to $10,000 can be funded anytime until the money runs out – which will probably be later in the fall.
“Examples of things we’ve funded in the past have been organics compactors, compostable products, or containers to hold organic matter until it can be moved outside. The requirements for participation are to submit an application, complete a grant agreement, and report back to us within one year to tell us how it’s going.”
Businesses are strongly encouraged to apply for grants while they are still available.
For more information about the new organics recycling requirements, and about granting opportunities, call Mallory Anderson at 612.348.3837 or Amy Maas at 612.348.6848.
You can also email or call 612.543.9298 with questions.

Focus on smooth roll-out
Note that all Minneapolis businesses will be required to have recycling bins in the front-of-house, if they have trash receptacles there. Dual bins are an efficient, attractive way to get the job done, and are covered under the cost of a grant ($1,200-$1,500.)
The county will have authority to enforce the new requirements, including the ability to issue warnings or citations.
Anderson said, “What we really want to focus on in the beginning though is compliance. We are doing our due diligence to inform businesses and ensure a smooth transition. Once the roll-out is complete, it’s likely that the county and city health department will observe how the organics recycling containers are being used as part of their health inspections.”
Ordinance 13 had not been updated since it was last signed into law by the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners in 1986. Hennepin County waste prevention and recycling specialists Mallory Anderson and Amy Maas led the team that wrote the updated version of Ordinance 13.
Anderson concluded, “It sets a new bar for recycling that our residents have asked for and expect within their community.”