You may have seen new bins around your community featuring signs that say "organics only," but what does that mean? Organics recycling is the recycling of organic material- anything that was once alive- into compost, a special soil amendment. Composting happens naturally and requires very little energy input. Organics recycling plays a key role in keeping valuable materials out of landfills and doing it correctly will help Minnesota reach its 75% recycling goal.
What can go in the organics bin?
About 30% of what we usually throw away is actually organics including food scraps and food-soiled paper products.
See a detailed list of acceptable and unacceptable items.
I backyard compost- is this different?
The organics recycling you see in your community is different than backyard composting because the organics are brought to a specialized recycling facility. This facility will line up the organics in windrows which creates more heat than you would find in your backyard. Because of this, things such as bones, meat, and paper-products can go in these bins.
Is composting the best solution to our waste problem?
First and foremost, waste should always be reduced. If that is not possible, reusing is the next best thing. Only if we cannot reduce and reuse should we recycle or compost. Of course if the item is not recyclable or compostable such as but not limited to chip bags, Styrofoam©, and/or pet waste, then it must go in the trash. Reducing is especially important when it comes to buying food. Currently, in the United States, we are wasting as much as 40% of all of our food. Although composting is a great solution to preventing food scraps from entering the landfill, it is not the best solution to the food waste problem. For tips and tricks to reduce your food waste visit our Reduce Your Wasted Food Guide here.
How does it work?
Composting is a natural process. Follow the arrows below to see what happens to items you put in the organics bin!