Recycling in Minnesota: The SCORE Report

The Select Committee on Recycling and the Environment (SCORE) Report is an annual examination of Minnesota waste management programs and data, as well as providing detailed data by county. The MPCA uses SCORE information to detail trends in waste generation, management, and disposal. SCORE data trends are used to help develop sound policy and plans to manage waste in a manner that protects the environment and human health.

2018 SCORE data

Minnesota posted a combined recycling rate of 46% in 2018 which is the highest since the inception of SCORE in 1991. Although the recycling rate continues to climb in Minnesota, capture rates indicate there is still opportunity to recycle more waste than we currently are.


  • Municipal solid waste (MSW) tonnage increased by 1.9%.
  • Overall tonnage of recycling increased by 4.9% over 2017.

Legislative progress

  • Paper, metal, glass, and plastics continue to show to see growth in the amount collected over the last three years.
  • Recycling and organics collection grew to 45.9% of the MSW stream which is up from 44.6% in 2017.

Capture rate

  • Capture rate indicates how much of a specific recyclable material is captured for recycling relative to the total amount of the material in the waste stream.
  • Capture rates for paper in Minnesota are significantly higher than other material categories.
  • Plastics and food have higher opportunity than other material types due to high generation and currently low capture.
  • Additional information regarding greenhouse gas emissions from the management of these materials is available in the 2019 Solid Waste Policy Report.


  • 2018 saw a 2.9% increase in waste-to-energy statewide.
  • Ramsey and Washington counties’ waste designation took effect January 1, 2018, and all acceptable waste generated in the two counties must be sent to the Ramsey/Washington Recycling and Energy Center.
  • Great River Energy announced that their waste-to-energy facility would be shut down in January 2019.