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Community organics drop-off site.

Many communities are developing programs and plans to expand both residential and commercial collection of organics. Increasing organics collection and processing infrastructure is necessary to meet statewide recycling goals. If food cannot be donated or fed to animals, then composting is the next preferred option.

Compost facility locator

See all the MPCA-permitted composting facilities across the state:

Click an icon inside the map for details about the site. Use the layers icon to show Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s quarantine areas and general infestations for emerald ash borer (EAB). Use the filter to select compost types.

Note: Some sites may offer their compost for sale or be open to community members for organics drop-off, but not all. Call to confirm. Some sites only accept certain types of materials, are only open to residents of their host community, or have limited hours of operation.

Organics drop-off sites

Setting up organics drop-off locations for residents can be a useful extension of curbside organics collection in your community. These sites are not compost facilities but serve as a place to consolidate organics for efficient collection and transport.

Drop-off sites may be established in one of three places:

  1. An existing facility with a permit such as a transfer station – Contact your MPCA permit engineer to establish the drop-off site.
  2. An existing facility with a permit-by-rule, such as a yard waste site – Submit a notification form to establish a drop-off site:
  3. A new stand-alone site that is not associated with other solid waste activities, called a limited solid waste collection services transfer facility – Inform your county solid waste administrator of your intent to establish an organics drop-off site. Ensure the drop-site complies with the location and operating standards.

Small compost sites

State regulations allow for small-scale composting without an MPCA permit, at places such as community gardens, universities, churches, apartment buildings, and commercial properties. A small compost site bridges the gap between a backyard compost and a larger commercial compost site. Materials from multiple households, community places, or businesses and more types of materials can be composted in one location.

The Minnesota Composting Council offers guidance to local governments on updating ordinances so small compost sites do not burden communities where they operate.

Operating requirements

While you don't need an MPCA permit, there are some operating requirements for small compost sites:

  • Limited to no more than 120 cubic yards of material, including all food scraps, yard waste, other feedstock, and any active or finished compost.
  • Must avoid creating nuisance conditions
  • Operation must protect public health and the environment

Best practices

Small-site administrators must check with local government for any requirements that might impact operations.

  • Seepage from compost should not run off into public or private streets, storm sewers, drainage ditches, streams, or lakes.
  • Sites may not be within 10 feet of rear or side property line, or 20 feet from residential dwellings not on the property.
  • Acceptable material: food scraps, yard waste, poultry litter generated onsite, non-recyclable paper, compostable material meeting Cedar Grove or BPI standards.
  • Unacceptable material: fats, oils, grease, meat, dairy, animal manure, diapers, sanitary products, pet wastes, animal carcasses