Curbside Organics Recycling

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Curbside organics recycling will begin for residents in Bloomington with the City's garbage and recycling service in March 2022. This will ensure that the City is in compliance with Hennepin County Ordinance 13 which requires cities with more than 10,000 residents make organics recycling available to residents in 2022. It will also benefit the environment by keeping these beneficial materials out of incinerators and landfills.

The collection of organic material at the curb is important to the City’s sustainability and overall solid waste reduction goals. These include the City Council’s Strategic Priorities related to reducing the citywide carbon footprint; reducing the volume of solid waste delivered to landfills and incinerators; improving water quality, and improving customer service for trash and recycling.

At the March 1st, 2021 City Council Meeting, the Council decided all households in the solid waste program will be billed for organics, much like our regular recycling service. Residents will be able to opt out of participating by not receiving a cart, but will not be able to opt out of paying for the program.

The curbside organics program will begin in March 2022.

What is curbside organics recycling?

It is the curbside collection of organic material in a separate cart. Organics are any item that came from a plant or animal that will turn into compost. This includes:

  • All food scraps, including meat and dairy products
  • Pizza boxes
  • Napkins and paper towels
  • Certified compostable food service items like plates, cups and takeout containers
  • Other compostable household items like coffee grounds, paper tea bags and paper egg cartons

After organics are collected from the curb, they are taken to a commercial composting facility where they are recycled and turned into compost, a nutrient rich soil amendment.

Waste sort studies, like the one Hennepin County conducted in 2016, continue to show that organics materials are the largest proportion of our trash, making up about 25% of the trash stream.

This project page is available for residents to learn more about organics recycling, ask questions, and share information with the City about your awareness of, support for, concerns about, or other ideas you may have related to the City's rollout of curbside organics.

Curbside organics recycling will begin for residents in Bloomington with the City's garbage and recycling service in March 2022. This will ensure that the City is in compliance with Hennepin County Ordinance 13 which requires cities with more than 10,000 residents make organics recycling available to residents in 2022. It will also benefit the environment by keeping these beneficial materials out of incinerators and landfills.

The collection of organic material at the curb is important to the City’s sustainability and overall solid waste reduction goals. These include the City Council’s Strategic Priorities related to reducing the citywide carbon footprint; reducing the volume of solid waste delivered to landfills and incinerators; improving water quality, and improving customer service for trash and recycling.

At the March 1st, 2021 City Council Meeting, the Council decided all households in the solid waste program will be billed for organics, much like our regular recycling service. Residents will be able to opt out of participating by not receiving a cart, but will not be able to opt out of paying for the program.

The curbside organics program will begin in March 2022.

What is curbside organics recycling?

It is the curbside collection of organic material in a separate cart. Organics are any item that came from a plant or animal that will turn into compost. This includes:

  • All food scraps, including meat and dairy products
  • Pizza boxes
  • Napkins and paper towels
  • Certified compostable food service items like plates, cups and takeout containers
  • Other compostable household items like coffee grounds, paper tea bags and paper egg cartons

After organics are collected from the curb, they are taken to a commercial composting facility where they are recycled and turned into compost, a nutrient rich soil amendment.

Waste sort studies, like the one Hennepin County conducted in 2016, continue to show that organics materials are the largest proportion of our trash, making up about 25% of the trash stream.

This project page is available for residents to learn more about organics recycling, ask questions, and share information with the City about your awareness of, support for, concerns about, or other ideas you may have related to the City's rollout of curbside organics.

Ask A Question

Send us your questions and a staff member will get back to you soon.    Check our FAQ's section on the right for answers to commonly asked questions. 

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    We have 2 rotating bins which we’ve been using in our back yard for household compostables for years; we take great pride in making rich dirt for our flower beds. We’re in full support of a city-run composting program. We will use it for things we cannot compost ourselves. Please include in the Bloomington composting program the long-term goal that NO ADDITIONAL TRUCK-TRIPS WILL BE REQUIRED (compared to our present trash and recycling programs), or NO ADDiTIONAL DIESEL FUEL OR GASOLINE WILL BE USED. Tough goals.

    Francisco asked 6 months ago

    Thank you for your support for organics recycling and feedback.  We will consider this in our long-term goals for the program.

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    Will we be provided with biodegradable bags? Currently, I buy bags to take to the drop-off. Dakota County provides bags to anyone who uses their drop-off.

    Redalita15 asked 6 months ago

    The City will likely supply residents with some compostable bags at the start of the program when organics carts are delivered.  We are investigating the costs of continually supplying compostable bags to residents.  

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    Where will the compost go?

    Redalita15 asked 6 months ago

    The haulers will be able to take organics to any appropriately permitted organics processing facility.  Currently, there are two commercial composting facilities in the metro-area where our organics can be processed, including the Shakopee-Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) Organics Recycling Facility, in Shakopee, or Specialized Environmental Technologies (SET)/The Mulch Store  in Rosemount, MN.

    The finished compost is sold to and used by several different markets, including state agencies, counties, and cities, as well sold to landscapers, farmers, and gardeners.   The compost is used in highway projects, for erosion control, lakeshore bank restoration, applied on new development projects, on farms, and in community and backyard gardens.  

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    Fabulous! What will be done with the finished compost? Is it available to Bloomington gardeners? I assume not, but worth asking.

    Karayanke asked 6 months ago

    Organics will be taken to a commercial composting facility for processing.  The finished compost is owned and sold by the commercial composting facility.  We understand the benefit of providing some compost back to residents to use in their own backyards, and are considering how some compost could be provided to residents who participate in organics recycling.  There would be a cost to the City to purchase the compost, and we are looking into that further.    

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    Why is it that if I were to opt out of organics recycling I will still be required to pay for it? I can opt out of my yard waste collection and I don't have to pay for it. I can opt out of solid waste collection all together and I don't have to pay for it. How is this ethical? What makes this any different?

    jtown asked 6 months ago

    Residents can opt-out of garbage and recycling program entirely, including organics recycling.   To opt-out of garbage and recycling program, residents must fill out an application and submit to the city proof that they are self-hauling garbage and recycling.  The City has the right to monitor and request additional proof from residents to ensure they are continuing to self-haul materials.   

    We have looked at different models for how to make organics recycling service available to residents, we have considered different ways to fund the program.  We have found that looking at this service as a system, where it is accessible to all garbage and recycling customers, makes organics recycling service available for everyone and more affordable for residents overall.  Having a system-wide approach means we can negotiate for volume pricing with the haulers.   Keeping the prices affordable and having the service accessible also helps to ensure residents will use the organics program.  

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    How often will organics be picked up?

    Laura asked 6 months ago

    Organics will be collected weekly, on the same day as garbage collection.

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    This is great that we are doing this as a city. For those of us who compost all those mentioned compostable materials all year on our own properties, are we able to opt out and not pay the fee? Also, will the residents then have access to this compost once it is processed for use in gardens/yards?

    Beth asked 6 months ago

    A fee for organics collection will be charged to all residents in the City’s garbage and recycling program.  The city uses this system-wide approach with regular recycling, which is paid for by all residents, as well.   As we have looked at different models for how to make organics recycling service available to residents, we have considered different ways to fund the program.  We have found that looking at this service as a system, where it is accessible to all garbage and recycling customers, makes organics recycling service available for everyone and more affordable for residents overall.  Having a system-wide approach means we can negotiate for volume pricing with the haulers.   Keeping the prices affordable and having the service accessible also helps to ensure residents will use the organics program.  

    Because the organics are taken to a commercial composting facility, there are items that can be collected that should not be composted in a backyard pile, including meat and dairy products, other greasy foods and certified compostable products like disposable cups, bowls and plates.  Backyard piles are not large enough to create enough heat to break down these items and kill any pathogens and bacteria from meat and dairy products.  Some households might choose to use both a backyard compost pile as well for items like fruits and vegetables and use the city’s program for those added materials like meat scraps, dairy, and compostable paper products that can be diverted and composted at a commercial composting facility. 

    We are considering how the finished compost created at the commercial composting facility compost could be provided to residents who participate in organics recycling.   There would be a cost to the City to purchase the compost, and we are investigating this further.   

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    Why are townhomes being excluded from organic waste pickup?

    Jfisher25239 asked 6 months ago

    The City is adding organics recycling to our current solid waste and recycling program, which provides service to single family homes, duplexes and some townhomes that have opted in to the City’s solid waste program.  If you live in an apartment, townhome or condo with private garbage and recycling service, you can talk with your property manager about signing up for private organics recycling service.

    Properties can request organics hauling service from some garbage haulers for a fee. Check if your current trash and recycling hauler provides organics for composting hauling service.  There is assistance available to cover some of the startup costs through Hennepin County business recycling grants.

    The City will continue to operate drop-off sites for residents after curbside organics is rolled out.  There is no charge to use these sites, but you do need to sign up to use them.  Learn more and sign up to use the drop-offs on the City’s website. 

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    Will compostable bags be provided by the city (for your personal small collection bin inside the home)?

    Erin asked 6 months ago

    The City will likely supply residents with some compostable bags at the start of the program when organics carts are delivered.  We are investigating the costs of continually supplying compostable bags to residents.  

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    Will participants have access to the composted soil at some point? It would be really awesome if once a year we could go grab a bag. Might also entice some folks who seem resistant.

    Erin asked 6 months ago

    We understand the benefit of providing some compost back to residents to use in their own backyards, and are considering how some compost could be provided to residents who participate in organics recycling.  There would be a cost to the City to purchase the compost, and we are looking further into the possibility of providing finished compost.    

Page last updated: 18 August 2021, 12:57