Recycling at your business

Who must recycle

Dumpster full of trash

  • Commercial buildings with one or more businesses classified in sectors 42 to 81 of the North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS code)
  • Located in Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott, or Washington County
  • With contracts for weekly collection of 4 or more cubic yards of trash

What must be recycled

At least three of the following types of materials must be recycled:

  • Glass
  • Metal
  • Plastic
  • Paper: office paper, cardboard, newspaper
  • Organics: food waste and non-recyclable paper
  • Less common materials specific to your business, such as textiles

About the law - Frequently asked questions

PDF icon Commercial recycling law FAQ (w-sw10-02)

Sort your trash. Save money.

  • Recyclables are tax exempt. Sort out your recyclables and pay less tax on your solid waste bill
  • Less trash means you can “right-size” your hauling service by getting a smaller bin. Call your hauler to discuss reducing your trash dumpster size or service frequency
  • Request competitive bids from other haulers when your contract is up for renewal
  • Get grant money from your county to start or improve your recycling

Local success stories

  • Anoka County businesses: event center, gas stations, grocery, manufacturing, multi-family residential, non-profits, religious organizations, restaurants, sports venue, and more
  • Hennepin County Environmental Partners recognizes businesses committed to recycling and how you can become a partner. See how many businesses are already being recognized for their efforts through their interactive map.
  • Ramsey and Washington County businesses: searchable by industry and zip code; health care, housing, manufacturing, marina, non-profits, offices, religious organizations, restaurants, retail, schools, services
  • Waste Wise: hotel, manufacturing, offices, printing, restaurants, sports venue, warehouse

Compliance

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.

Complaints

To submit a complaint about a business that doesn’t recycle, email the business name, address including city, and details you feel are relevant to commercialrecycling.pca@state.mn.us. If a business fails to meet requirements, it can lead to possible enforcement action that could include a monetary penalty.

The value of recycling

Based on a 2013 study of Minnesota's trash:

  • 37,000 jobs in Minnesota are directly and indirectly supported by the recycling industry
  • Nearly 75 percent of Minnesota’s trash is materials that could be recycled
  • 1.2 million tons of recyclable materials are thrown away every year in MN
  • Those materials are worth $285 million
  • It costs $200 million to throw it all away
  • The lost value of the materials plus the cost to toss them in a landfill is nearly half a billion dollars

Think about what types of trash your business generates. How much is recyclable but thrown away?