Organics sorting tips

These sorting and collecting tips will set you up for organics recycling success.

Collect from the whole house

Most organics come from your kitchen, but you may also find compostable items in:

  • Bathrooms
  • Bedrooms
  • Home office
  • Other rooms
Organics and recycling bins in a bathroom

Label your containers

We have printable labels and stickers available.

They help make it easy to identify your containers for:

  • Recycling
  • Organics recycling
  • Trash 

Help your guests know where to put their waste!

Get container labels

Bins with recycle, organics and trash labels

Keep the bin handy for food prep

It's easier to collect food scraps if the bin is within reach when you make meals. Try putting it on the counter, under the sink or in the refrigerator. See which spot feels most convenient to you. You can also set the bin somewhere handy during cooking and mealtime, then put it away afterward.

Use a container with air holes

Containers with air holes on the lid or sides let moisture escape. This slows the rate of breakdown, reduces odors and helps your compostable plastic bags last longer. Shop for a container with a vented lid (with or without a carbon filter) or poke holes in the lid of your homemade container.

Organics bin with vented lid

Get the most use out of your bags

If compostable plastic bags aren't holding up in your kitchen pail, don't use them as a liner. Dump the organics from the pail into a compostable plastic or paper bag before you bring it out for collection.

A pail of organics being dumped into a brown paper grocery bag

Do not add liquids

Liquids speed the breakdown process and weaken compostable bags. Drain liquid from your food scraps before adding them to your organics. You can also line the bottom of the bin with paper towels or newspaper to soak up liquids.

Keep organics inside until pickup day

This limits exposure to flies and reduces the chance of maggots. 

Other ways to prevent pests

  • Set your organics out for collection every week, even if you do not have a full cart.
  • Clean your cart with a mix of borax and water or vinegar and water. This helps get rid of odors that attract pests like flies and squirrels.
  • If your cart needs to be fixed or replaced, contact us

If you find maggots in your cart

Keep the lid open for a couple of hours. The bugs will crawl to the top and should be eaten by birds. Close the lid before your collection day.

Store in freezer to keep fruit flies at bay

Keep wet food scraps like meat, fruit and vegetables in the refrigerator or freezer until your collection day, especially during hot and humid weather. If you do get fruit flies, create a fruit fly trap with a plastic bottle and some vinegar. You can find other tips and tricks online.

Organics bin in a home freezer

Have an organics bin in the bathroom

If there isn't space for a separate basket, try clipping or inserting a smaller bin inside the larger one. 

  • Use the smaller compartment for trash such as dental floss, dental picks, contact lenses and makeup remover wipes. 
  • Use the bigger compartment for compostables such as tissues (without makeup, medicine or other solutions), all-paper cotton swabs (no plastic), nail clippings and hair.
  • Be aware of humidity in bathrooms. Compostable plastic bags do not always hold up well in bathrooms because of the moisture. Try a paper bag or don't use a bag in the container. Transfer the compostables to a bag before you set it out for collection.
Bathroom wastebasket with separate smaller container clipped inside for compostables
Three solid waste and recycling interns standing next to recycling and organics carts

Make a difference in your community

Become a recycling block leader and help your neighbors reduce waste, reuse, recycle and compost.

More information

Contact us

Solid Waste & Recycling

Public Works





Eastside Maintenance Facility

2635 University Ave NE

Minneapolis, MN 55418

Office hours

8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Monday – Friday

This building is closed to the public.