In 1989, the Governor’s Select Committee on Recycling and the Environment (SCORE) recommended to the Legislature to adopt a comprehensive set of laws, commonly referred to as SCORE. This act initiated a state funding source for recycling programs, as well as waste reduction, management of household hazardous wastes, and problem materials. SCORE legislation and grant dollars, along with funding from counties and local government, provide the basis for long-term, flexible programs.

The SCORE annual report summarizes information submitted by all 87 counties and the Western Lake Superior Sanitary District on waste management efforts, including funding and costs, waste reduction activities, recycling, composting, household hazardous waste programs, and problem materials collection. This information is used to calculate the cost of managing waste and recycling.


1989 was the first year the State collected data, and in 1991, counties began collecting data on a calendar year basis, instead of a fiscal year. By 1991, the collection and format had greatly improved, making the quality of the data better.

In 2007 Legislation Law, Chapter 37, Article 1, Section 62 (1,2), required the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) in consultation with the Association of Minnesota Counties (AMC), the Solid Waste Administrators Association (SWAA), the Solid Waste Management Coordinating Board (SWMCB), and other interested parties to make recommendations that improve and abbreviate SCORE reporting.

Changes in SCORE reporting

The MPCA’s first step to simplifying online SCORE reporting was to preload previous year’s data, eliminate some survey questions, and consolidate expense reporting for the 2009 reporting year. The second step began shortly after with an extensive evaluation of the current solid waste reporting systems used by the counties, facilities, and the MPCA. That evaluation and lengthy stakeholder input process led to statutory changes to improve data quality through facility and hauler reporting.

In 2015 (Reporting year 2014), counties began entering their SCORE information online via ReTRAC software which was an improvement over the previous online portal. This was also an important step as the Agency shifted to facility reporting through its solid waste permitting process. As an effort to relieve the burden from counties and to ensure that there is less estimation, the entities directly in charge of the waste began reporting directly to the state. The MPCA has worked with the hauling community to develop a data reporting mechanism that will provide information regarding transport of MSW, recyclables, and organics from generation to facility. Standard reporting forms have been developed at the request of the haulers in order to simplify the reporting that haulers currently provide to counties. Haulers began using these forms and entering this data into ReTRAC in calendar year 2017 (Reporting year 2016). Counties will continue to be responsible for any data that they handle directly, such as drop-off events and materials handled outside of the traditional hauling system.

PDF icon SCORE Implementation Plan (lrp-p2s-4sy11)

The MPCA uses SCORE information to detail trends in waste generation, management, and disposal. The MPCA Strategic Plan, 2013 to 2017, set a vision that Minnesota’s land supports healthy ecosystems and sustainable land uses. To reach this vision, solid waste is to be managed to conserve materials, resources and energy; by ensuring waste is reduced, recycling and organic recovery is increased, resource recovery capacity is maintained, and landfilling is reduced.