Recycling is required in many commercial buildings in the Twin Cities metro area, and has been since January 1, 2016.
Who must recycle
- Businesses located in Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott, or Washington counties.
- With contracts for four cubic yards or more of trash collection per week — that’s a 6 foot by 4 foot by 5 foot dumpster.
- Classified in sectors 42 to 81 under the North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS). This includes hotels, restaurants, gas stations, grocery and liquor stores, retail stores, dry cleaners, banks, repair shops, and many others. (Look up your NAICS code.)
What must be recycled?
At least three recyclable materials must be collected, such as paper, glass, plastic, metal, and food waste. Less common wastes specific to your business or that are hard to recycle count as one stream, such as textiles or plastic strapping.
Single-sort recycling meets the requirement as long as three or more different materials are put in one container.
Sort your trash. Save money.
Recyclables are tax-exempt which means your trash is taxed, but recycling containers are not. If you sort out your recycling, you pay less on your solid waste bill when you ‘right-size’ your service. Call your hauler to discuss reducing your dumpster size or service frequency Contact your hauler to discuss and see what you might save on your monthly bill. Request competitive bids from other haulers when your contract is up for renewal.
The MPCA recognizes that not all the commercial buildings required to recycle were in compliance by the effective date, and remain out of compliance today.
MPCA's strategy for enforcing any law first emphasizes outreach and assistance. The agency is working with building owners, counties, cities, haulers, businesses, and trade groups to help businesses understand the commercial recycling law and the available resources to start or improve their recycling programs.
To submit a complaint about a business that does not recycle, email the business name, address including city, and details you feel are relevant to email@example.com. If a business fails to meet requirements, it can lead to possible enforcement action that could include a monetary penalty.
About 75% of Minnesota’s trash is materials that could be recycled. Think about what goes in your trash. How much of it can be recycled? Here are some tips for getting started:
- Make recycling convenient by putting recycling and trash bins right next to each other and put them in accessible areas with clear, simple signage. You can customize and download signs with pictures of your common wastes at https://www.rethinkrecycling.com/businesses/signs.
- Work closely with staff to ensure understanding and tie it to company values.
- Work with janitorial staff to ensure proper placement of bins.
- Contact your hauler about outdoor bins, enclosures, and, once implemented, moving to a smaller container.
Most Twin Cities metro counties have resources available for businesses to get free on-site assistance and grant funding to help you implement a recycling program. Get details about business resources and success stories are available at www.pca.state.mn.us/businessrecycling.