Managing Waste in Minneapolis Parks

Environmental stewardship is at the heart of MPRB’s mission. This extends to sustainable park maintenance and operations, including:

  • Reducing the volume of trash generated in parks and MPRB buildings
  • Increasing the collection rate for recyclables and organics

Everyone who works in and uses the parks and recreation centers can help in this effort, by using recyclables and organics collection containers that are provided throughout the park system

MPRB’s Waste Stream by the Numbers

  2018 in tons (percent of total) 2019 (YTD) in tons (percent of total)
Trash 3072 (86%) 2325 (86%)
Recycling 440 (10%) 325 (11.2%)
Organics 102 (5%) 60 (3%)
Totals 4576 (100%) 2912 (100%)


Recyclables, organics, and trash: A place for everything

Most collection containers for trash, recyclables and organics in Minneapolis parks look like those that residents use at home, and use the same color scheme:

“When in doubt — throw it out!”

If you’re not sure which container to use for a waste item, put it in the trash.

Why? Noncompostable items can contaminate everything else in an organics container – which means all of it goes in the trash, instead of getting composted. The same goes for nonrecyclable items in a recyclables collection container.

So if you don’t know whether something is compostable or recyclable, don’t guess: add it to the trash, rather than contaminate organics or recyclables.


  • Water/soda bottles (keep caps on)
  • Take out containers/cottage cheese tubs
  • Yogurt containers
  • Shampoo/soap bottles


  • Office papers
  • Magazines
  • Newspapers
  • Shredded paper in closed paper bags
  • Cardboard boxes
  • Milk Cartons
  • Cardboard cans (i.e. nut cans)


  • Food and beverage bottles and jars


  • Food and beverage cans
  • Aluminum foil and trays (must be 95% clean)
  • Decorative tins/pie tins


  • Plastic bags
  • Cords, electronics, appliances
  • Paper plates
  • Napkins/paper towels
  • Styrofoam
  • Black plastic
  • Bulky plastics (i.e. laundry baskets)
  • Scrap metal
  • Garbage
  • Food
  • DO NOT bag recyclables; if you must put them in bags, empty them before putting them into the bin.

A more detailed list can be found on the City of Minneapolis’s webpage

  • Green Bins
  • Collects compostable Items
  • Picked up every week

Acceptable Materials

  • Food scraps
    • Fruits, vegetables, meat, bread, eggshells
  • Food-soiled and non-recyclable paper
    • Napkins and paper towels
    • Pizza boxes
    • Facials tissues
    • BPI Certified products

Non-acceptable Materials

  • Paper products that are NOT BPI certified
  • Dog waste
  • Diapers

A more detailed list can be found here through the City.

In Some Parks

Residential organics drop-off sites are located in some parks for residents who are unable to sign up for residential organics at home. These sites are run by the City for residents to drop off their organics recycling to become compost. More information can be found on the City of Minneapolis’s web page.

  • Dark gray or black plastic carts
  • Picked up every week
  • Our trash is sent to the Hennepin Energy Recovery Center (HERC), an incinerator that converts waste into energy.

Acceptable items:

Acceptable Items

  • Non-recyclables
  • Dog waste
  • Bait
  • Broken materials

Non-Acceptable Items

  • Recyclables
  • Hazardous waste

For more information on drop-off locations to properly dispose, check out Hennepin County’s Website.

For more detailed information on waste management topics check out Hennepin county’s website.

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