Due to changes in the international, national and local recycling markets, it’s more important than ever to only put the proper items in recycling carts. Only the items identified on the recycling guide (below) should be placed in recycling carts.
Recent changes to what is accepted include those that have weak markets and can be difficult to sort at the recycling facility.
- No #6 plastics (polystyrene: rigid or foam)
- Fortunately due to Minneapolis’ Green to Go ordinance, #6 plastics are not allowed to be used for food-service applications (still make sure to check though). Other locations you’ll commonly find #6 plastics are in foam (referred to as StyrofoamTM) or plastic cups or plates purchased from a store and plastic holders for things like pre-packaged cookies, pre-packaged crackers, and possibly pre-packaged clamshells from bakery items (so long as they’re not packaged at the store, they are exempt from Green to Go requirements).
- No black plastics (any number)
- Black plastics are typically a #1, #5 or #6 plastic. Plastics are sorted by type (number) at the recycling facility by a laser. The color black absorbs the laser light and does not allow it to identify the type of plastic an item is. Black plastics would have to be pulled by hand and a person would have to look at each piece to identify if it is a #1, #5 or #6. These logistics, including the weak markets, make recycling black plastic not economically feasible.
Residents should avoid purchasing these items and encourage those using them to switch to recyclable or compostable alternatives. If they cannot be reused, #6 and black plastic items should be placed in the garbage. For more information on what to do with items not included on the recycling guide below, search our What to Do List or Hennepin County’s Green Disposal Guide.