New organics recycling rules in effect

The new rules affect composting for backyard composters, small compost facility operators, and large-scale source separated organics facilities. These new rules will help guide the expansion and development of new organics recycling facilities in Minnesota and will help the state reach its 2030 goal for food waste and organics recycling. Right now food waste and other organics waste like used paper towels or facial tissues is about 40 percent of all the material that is landfilled. The end product of organics recycling is compost. Compost is valuable in many ways-it reduces the need for pesticides and fertilizers; it increases drought resistance; it helps prevent water pollution; and greenhouse gasses are reduced when organic materials are sent to a organics recycling facility instead of a landfill.

Carver Co-Arboretum Demonstration SiteHighlights of the new compost rule include:
• Home compost bins or small site (ie. community gardens, etc.) compost sites will not require a permit
• The above types of compost sites can only have the following: food waste, non-recyclable paper (i.e. paper towels, facial tissue, etc.)
• Yard waste compost sites will continue to be permitted by rule
• Source-separated organics materials compost facility is considered a new category of facility and will require a permit just as a solid waste compost facility currently is required to have a permit
• SSOM facilities is a new type of category and they may be required to have an impermeable working pad (concrete, blacktop); they will have fewer testing requirements making it more cost effective to operate; they will be allowed to process the material more quickly than in the past; their operations staff will have increased training requirements

Potential benefits of the new rules include:
• The expansion of on-site composting with the two new categories
• Reduction of operating costs for facilities
• Increased flexibility in design and operations of facilities
• Includes standards to protect the environment
• And it can bring together regulatory and policy goals
If you are interested in starting a compost pile at your home, check out our composting fact sheet for helpful tips. If you are interested in starting a larger scale organics recycling facility, please contact the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency: http://www.pca.state.mn.us/index.php/waste/waste-and-cleanup/waste-management/commercial-composting/compost.html