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 Green To Go exemption for the products listed below has been extended for one year due to market conditions for compostable products. This means businesses may continue to use packaging products exempted from the Green To Go ordinance until April 22, 2018. The exempted products are:
- Polyethylene (PE) lined paper hot and cold cups and containers (soup, etc.) for liquids.
- Rigid polystyrene (plastic #6) lids for those containers.
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.
Find answers to frequently asked questions here.
Green To Go decal
The City of Minneapolis Health Department created a Green To Go decal to recognize businesses that have invested time and resources to meet the rules of Green To Go.
Decals were mailed to Minneapolis licensed food businesses that have met the rules of Green To Go on their routine health inspection after April 22, 2015.
The removable decal tells patrons “We use environmentally friendly food containers." The decal also displays the City of Minneapolis logo, the Green To Go symbol and the city’s Green To Go website.
Minneapolis licensed food businesses that have not had a routine health inspection since April 22, 2015 or were marked "out" (not-compliant) for Green To Go may apply for the Green To Go decal. Click on the application below.
Green To Go decal
Exemptions extended to April 22, 2018
Until April 22, 2018, businesses may continue to use:
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 lid.
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 email@example.com or call 311 (outside Minneapolis call (612) 673-3000.
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
Rigid polystyrene - plastic marked #6:
Expanded polystyrene (commonly known as styrofoam™)
Exempt from the ordinance:
- Knives, forks and spoons (they are not packaging items)
- Straws (they are not a packaging item)
- Foods prepackaged by the manufacturer, producer or distributor
- Plastic films less than 10 mils thick
- Catering companies licensed by the City of Minneapolis, another city or the state.
- Hospitals and Nursing Homes
The following items are exempt until April 22, 2017, (Earth Day) to allow for full city-wide implementation of residential organics collection:
- Polyethylene (PE) plastic lined paper hot and cold cups and containers (such as soup containers).
- Polystyrene (PS) lids for PE lined paper hot cups and containers.
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
Free Support for:
- Receptacle signage
- Program development
- Establishing collection set up
- Cost savings estimates
- Educational & promotional materials
Business grants are available to assist with:
- Program design
- Container purchasing
- Potential enclosure improvements
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.
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.
Sign up for residential organics recycling. 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 Jan 23, 2017