Health Department

Food, Lodging & Pools
Public Service Center
250 S. 4th St., Room 510
Minneapolis, MN 55415

Green To Go logo

Green To Go Environmentally Acceptable Packaging Ordinance

The Environmentally Acceptable Packaging Ordinance requires food and beverages prepared for immediate consumption and to-go must be placed in environmentally acceptable packaging. Recyclable materials must be recycled. Compostable plastics must be composted.

The ordinance went into effect on April 22, 2015

Informational handouts describing the requirements of the of the Environmentally Acceptable Packaging Ordinance are available in English: Green To Go Flyer, Spanish: Green To Go Ordenanza para Envases Ambientalmente Aceptables, Hmong: Siv Cov Ntim Khoom Kom Zoo Rau Tej Chaw Puag Ncig, Somali: Xeerka Konteenarada Deegaan-Ahaan La-Aqabli Karo, Vietnamese Sắc Lệnh về Đóng Gói Chấp Nhận Được Về Mặt Môi Trường and Chinese/环保包装条例.   

Exemption for rigid polystyrene lids extended to April 22, 2017

Businesses may continue to use rigid polystyrene (plastic #6) lids until April 22, 2017. The lids are used with polyethylene (PE) hot and cold cups and containers for liquids.

PE lined hot and cold cups and containers (soup etc.) for liquids also have an exemption from the ordinance until April 22, 2017.

As required by the ordinance, the product exemptions will be reviewed annually to determine if the exemptions should be ended or extended.

  Polyethylene (PE) lined paper cup and rigid polystyrene (#6 plastic) lids

Polyethylene (PE) lined paper cup and rigid polystyrene (#6) plastic lid.

 Confusing packaging

Beware of packaging that does not meet Green To Go requirements. Health Inspectors are seeing products represented as meeting the ordinance, but do not meet it. Some of the products are beige and resemble compostable to-go containers. The symbol on the bottom of the products is a number six inside the chasing arrow triangle. This symbol means the product is polystyrene, which is not an acceptable material under the ordinance. 

Terms such as “green alternative,” “degradable,” “biodegradable,” and “sustainably sourced” are marketing terms. They do not indicate if a product meets Green to Go requirements.

In order to comply with Green To Go requirements, packaging and containers must be reuseable, recyclable or compostable. Preferred plastics are numbers 1, 2, and 5. Compostable items must be BPI certified or meet ASTM standards D6400 or D6868. If you have questions about whether or not a container meets the Green To Go rules contact your Health Inspector or or call 311 (outside Minneapolis call (612) 673-3000.


Find answers to frequently asked questions here.

What is Packaging?

Cans, bottles, or containers used to package food or beverages for immediate consumption including glasses, cups, plates, serving trays, and to-go containers.

Examples of packaging

 Green To Go Product examples of acceptable and non-acceptable packaging

 Red Circle with Line.jpg  Not Allowed


Exempt from the ordinance:

The following items are exempt until April 22, 2017, (Earth Day) to allow for full city-wide implementation of residential organics collection:

Polystyrene (PS) lids for PE lined cold cups are exempt for one year, until April 22, 2016.

Green To Go supplier list

See a list of suppliers selling products which meet Green To Go requirements here.

The City of Minneapolis does not endorse any company. This list is provided as a resource for businesses that need to purchase products that meet the city’s environmentally acceptable packaging ordinance requirements. The companies listed sell directly to businesses.

Hennepin County assistance

Business recycling grant information here. Full url:

Free Support for:

Business grants are available to assist with:

Hennepin County composting haulers

Find a list of haulers that collect organics for composing on the Hennepin County website here. Scroll down and select, "Organics composting haulers."


Read the ordinance here.

Full url:

Interested in the ordinance history?

Health Department staff gave a PowerPoint presentation on the history of Green To Go at the 2015 Minnesota Association of Recycling Managers workshop. See the PowerPoint here.

Residential Organics

Residential organics recycling will soon be available to Minneapolis residents. Get more information or sign up here.


For questions or to get more information about the Green To Go Environmentally Acceptable Packaging Ordinance contact Minneapolis 311.

Para mayor información sobre la ordenanza o mandato del el empaque ambientalmente aceptable comuníquese con la línea del 311 de la ciudad de Minneapolis.

Yog xav noog lossis paub ntxim txog txoj cai Siv Cov Ntim Khoom Kom Zoo Rau Tej Chaw Puag Ncig (Environmentally Acceptable Packaging), hu tau rau Minneapolis 311.

Wixii su’aalo ama faahfaahin ah ee ku saabsan Xeeraa Weelasha Deegaan‐ahaan La‐Aqbali karo, kala xidhiidh ama wac Minneapolis 311.



Last updated May 24, 2016