Compost facilities

Compost facility

Healthy soil is an important and valuable resource for numerous Minnesota landscapes including those in our agricultural and horticultural industries. Compost, a humus-like product derived from the aerobic decomposition of organic materials, is a soil amendment that is regulated in part, by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA). Compost has many desirable benefits for soil as it can improve the soil structure, improve the habitat for beneficial soil organisms thereby restoring soil fertility, conserve water and reduce erosion.

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.

Permit-by-Rule notification. This form is now online as an e-Service. Review the guidance document for information about what is required to complete and submit the notification form. The local acknowledgment form must completed before you can submit the notification.

Home backyard compost bins are not regulated by the MPCA. Check with your community about local ordinances or requirements.

Source-separated organics drop-off site

Community organics drop-off site.Collecting organic material such as food scraps and compostable 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.

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

  1. an existing facility with a permit such as a transfer station,
  2. an existing facility with a Permit-by-Rule (PBR) such as a yard waste site, or
  3. a new standalone site that is not associated with other solid waste activities, called a limited solid waste collection services transfer facility.

Find detailed information on how to set up a dropsite at each of these locations at:
PDF icon Source separated organic material drop-off sites (w-sw3-57)

To establish a drop-off site in your community

​Questions? Contact Tim Farnan at timothy.farnan@state.mn.us or 651-757-2348

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Looking for a composter in your area?

Visit BioCycle's www.findacomposter.com
It's a free searchable directory of compost facilities in North America.

Small compost sites

Compost pile at U of M Morris

State regulations have changed that allows more flexibility for composting 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.  For more information, visit the Small compost site webpage. 

Organics composting facilities

Many 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:

Office spreadsheet icon Source-separated organic material sites

Other rules and regulations

Other state agencies have rules concerning composting:

 Publications

For more information

For more information about composting community yard waste and solid waste material, contact: