For most Minnesotans, it is against the law to burn or bury household wastes — it's been illegal since the 1980s. Farmers in some areas are still allowed to burn some household wastes, due to the limited availability of collection or drop-off services for waste and recyclables.
Even where it's still allowed by law, backyard burning of household garbage is an unsafe and unhealthy practice.
State statutes regulate open burning and on-site disposal of municipal solid waste in Minnesota.
- Open Burning Prohibitions (Minn. Stat. 88.171) addresses prohibited materials that cannot be burned, including industrial waste, garbage, and hazardous wastes.
- Farm Disposal of Solid Waste (Minn. Stat. 17.135) covers the specifics relating to farming operations and open burning or burying of municipal solid waste. This exemption does not apply to the prohibited materials listed in Minn. Stat. § 88.171 — materials found in most household garbage.
County and local
In Minnesota, 32 counties have formally banned garbage burning at the local level, passing a county board resolution stating garbage service is reasonably available to all residents and making onsite disposal illegal for county residents.
Contact your county solid waste office to learn about local laws and alternatives to back yard garbage burning in your area.