Organics Recycling

~30% of what is sent to landfills and incinerators is food waste - the biggest category of items in our trash. Organics include food scraps, food-soiled unlined paper and paperboard products, and BPI certified compostable plastics. Organics recycling, or composting, allows residents to recycle a variety of organic materials into nutrient-rich, useful soil, instead of sending it to a landfill. In a landfill, food waste rots and produces methane, a powerful greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. Composting reduces greenhouse gas emissions and decreases the costs of wastewater treatment and waste disposal.

A facility's large composting piles become hot enough to break down meats, bones, fats, certified compostable products, harmful pathogens, and weed seeds. Organics break down in ~6-8 weeks at an industrial composting facility, then cure for several months before the final compost can be used. Finished compost can be used in gardens and landscaping to absorb rainwater and nourish plants.

What's the difference between backyard and curbside composting?
Backyard composting is a great way to turn waste from your yard and kitchen into a nutrient-rich compost that you can use to improve your soil right at home. You can compost yard waste like leaves and grass clippings as well as fruit and vegetables scraps and coffee grounds at home. You cannot put meat and dairy products into a backyard compost bin because the pile won’t reach as high of temperatures as a commercial composting facility. These temperatures are needed to kill bacteria and break down items. 

Where can I purchase compostable bags?
There are several options for purchasing your own compostable bags online or in store. Search for brands like EcoSafe or BioBag, or any that are certified by BPI. Local stores include Menards, Home Depot, Target, Lakewinds, and Cub Foods. Here is more information on where to buy compostable bags in Richfield and Bloomington

More resources!

*Video Note: There are currently no locks on the drop-off site dumpsters.*

Organics Curbside Collection Program
Much like with traditional recycling, every property in Richfield is now charged a small flat fee for organics collection and recycling. By doing so, the city reduced the cost to individual residents, incentivized participation, and removed barriers for traditionally marginalized groups. Numerous studies have found a significant increase in organics collection participation with this model. The cost of disposing of trash in landfills or incinerators continues to increase and we hope residents can reduce the amount of trash they throw out by participating in this program. This was a policy decision made by the City Council; we encourage residents to reach out to their councilmember if they have further questions.

To sign up for organics collection, contact your hauler or the City: 

Organics Drop-Off Program

Through a grant funded by Hennepin County, Richfield has launched an organics drop-off program in 2018. Residents can recycle their household organic waste at two drop-off sites in the city. Anyone can participate in this program!

  • Where are the drop-off sites?
    • Wood Lake Nature Center, 6710 Lake Shore Dr. South: The dumpster is located near the southeast end of the main parking lot.
    • House of Prayer Church, 7625 Chicago Ave: The dumpster is located in the back parking lot off of Elliot Ave.
  • How do I sign up?
  • What can go in the drop-off site?

Frequently Asked Questions

If my cart is not picked up on my scheduled day, what do I do?

Do the materials have to be bagged before putting them in the cart?

How do I sign up if I live in an apartment or condominium?

I want to participate, but I don't have room in my garage for another cart.

Where does the stuff that I put in the cart go?

What do I do about jumping worms?

How do I prevent and/or get rid of maggots?

Can I use regular plastic bags?

Does the city provide free kitchen pails?

I don't have much organics waste; can I just put my kitchen pail out for collection?

What about using my garbage disposal for food scraps?

Where can I get finished compost from the program to use at home?

Will my container smell?

What is the difference between biodegradable and compostable?