A composting facility is substantially different from a backyard compost pile. Large-scale compost facilities closely monitor and have practices in place to ensure conditions are ideal for composting. Waste entering the facility and finished compost are tested so finished compost is safe and the environment is protected.
Rules and regulations
To operate a compost facility in Minnesota, you must have a solid waste facility permit. The application form, instructions, and checklists are available from MPCA's Solid Waste Permit Application webpage.
Yard waste facilities
Yard waste includes garden waste, leaves, lawn clippings, weeds, shrub and tree waste, and pruning. These materials have been banned from Minnesota landfills since 1992. Owners or operators of a new yard waste facility need to fill out a permit-by-rule notification form and are responsible for following Minnesota's compost rules.
- Yard waste compost facility permit-by-rule notification (PDF Version)
- Minnesota State Compost Rules
- Yard Waste Compost Facility Siting and Management Considerations
- Permitted yard waste PBR sites
Home backyard compost bins are not regulated by the MPCA. Check with your community about local ordinances or requirements.
Establishing a source-separated organics dropsite
Collecting compostable material such as food scraps and non-recyclable paper is becoming more common. Some communities offer curbside organics collection or drop-off locations for residents. A growing number of businesses, organizations, and schools are also participating in organics collection.
To establish a dropsite to collect organics that will be transferred to a commercial composting site, complete the notification form:
- Source Separated Organic Materials Transfer Facility Permit-by-rule Notification Form (PDF Version)
- Template - Source Separated Organic Materials (PDF Version)
Use this example as a guide to complete the required plans and schedule.
Looking for composter in your area?
Visit BioCycle's www.findacomposter.com
It's a free searchable directory of compost facilities in North America.
Organics compost facilities
Some communities are testing or implementing programs to divert the entire organic waste stream, not just yard waste for composting. The MPCA has permitted the following solid waste/food waste facilities:
- Creekside Organic Material Processing: 111 Hassan St. SE, Hutchinson Mn 55350
- Dodge County Transfer and MSW Compost Facility: 22 6th Street E, Mantorville Mn 55955
- Empire Processing Facility: 16454 Blaine Ave., Rosemount Mn 55068; Kevin Tritz, 952-946-6999
- Full Circle Organics: 15301 140th Ave SE, Becker Mn 55309 (VONCO II campus)
- Full Circle Organics: 16225 563rd Ave., Good Thunder Mn 56037
- Prairieland Solid Waste Management: 801 E. 5 th St. N., Truman, MN 56088
- Swift County Compost/ Recycling Facility: Benson, MN 56215, Scott Collins 320-843-2356
- Tri-County Organics (operated by Full Circle Organics): 40 35th Ave NE, St. Cloud Mn 56304
- WLSSD Source Separated Compost Facility: 2626 Courtland St., Duluth, MN 55806, Kurt Soderberg 218-722-3336
Other rules and regulations
Other state agencies have rules concerning composting:
- Minnesota Board of Animal Health regulates composting of farm animal mortalities.
- Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) has specifications for the quality and use of compost for its turf establishment projects. See MnDOT Standard and Specification for Construction, specification 3890.
- Minnesota Department of Agriculture regulates the labeling and fees of compost sold as fertilizer. See Minn. Rules 1510.0430 - 1510.0434
- Source Separated Compost Study Preliminary Summary and Data
- Commingling Residential Organics with Yard Waste
- Continuation & Expansion of the Commercial & Residential Co-collected Organics Compost Project
- Aspergillusem Fungus Spores from Yard Waste Compost Facilities
- Yard Waste Compost Facilities - Inert Material Testing
- Metro county organic collection and compost programs reports
For more information
For more information about composting community yard waste and solid waste material, contact:
- Lisa Mojsiej, 651-757-2373 (yard waste permits)
- Anthony Bello, 651-757-2219 (solid waste permitting)
- Tim Farnan, 651-757-2348 (general compost information/markets)