1) Food Recovery
Businesses may donate excess prepared perishable, non-perishable and other food products that are fit for human consumption to food kitchens. Many food shelves accept surplus or salvaged packaged food that has not expired.
The organizations listed below accept food donations, and some also accept personal care and household items. Call first for a list of items currently accepted. For more information, visit The Food Group.
2) Food to Animals
Feeding waste food to livestock is a viable option for recycling food waste. Businesses that collect food waste from other businesses to feed to livestock must obtain the appropriate permits from the Minnesota Board of Animal Health. Call (651) 296-2942 for information.
Exempt Materials Permit Holders - Accepts Non-Meat Food By-ProductsFood waste recyclers with exempt material permits can only take non-meat food by-products. They typically serve industries such as snack food manufacturers, dairies and cereal manufacturers.
Garbage Feeder Permit Holders - Accepts Food Waste Containing MeatFood recyclers with garbage feeder permits are licensed to accept food waste that contains meat or has had contact with meat. These permitted food waste recyclers typically accept food waste from grocers, hospitals, restaurants and cafeterias. No grease is accepted (see Grease and Cooking Oil).
Food Waste Processing FacilitiesSome animal feed manufacturers accept food waste to process into animal feed.
3) Food and Food-Soiled Paper Composting
Compost facilities accept food waste along with food-soiled paper products to produce soil amendments.
A growing area is source-separated organics composting (SSO). SSO involves collecting and separating organic materials generated at commercial, industrial and institutional facilities. Through source separation, materials such as food processing residues, garden wastes and soiled and non-recyclable paper can yield a high quality, marketable compost with minimal contamination levels. For more information on SSO, contact your waste hauler or county environmental office to inquire about pilot projects in your area.
For more information on food waste management, visit How to Keep Food Waste Out of the Trash. Additional information is available by contacting your county environmental office, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency at (651) 296-6300, or the Minnesota Technical Assistance Program (MnTAP) at (612) 624-1300.
See Recycling & Disposal Sites for a list of food recovery facilities.