How organics recycling becomes compost

Ever wonder what happens to your recycled organics? Your organic materials are transformed into compost in a six-step process. 

  • First, you separate your organic materials at home, put it in your compost bin and bring it to a drop-off site. From there, the organics recycling dumpster gets collected by the City’s hauler and brought to a commercial composter.
  • Organic material from your household and other sources is mixed together. Balanced proportions of green (food scraps) and brown (leaves, tree branches and paper) organics are needed.
  • Stacking the compost into long piles, known as windrows, helps microbes to digest material. Water is added as needed to keep piles moist. 
  • Over time with the help of turning and heat from the digestion process, the compost breaks down to resemble soil.
  • Screening and testing ensure that the compost is safe. Any large material is filtered out and removed.
  • Compost is ready for a new use in garden beds, landscaping, erosion control projects and more.

Want to compost at home? Learn more by watching an organics recycling video, and sign-up for the free Organics Recycling Drop-Off Program at or call 952-563-8760.

Do you have a business and want to start an organics recycling program? Hennepin County has a grant program to help purchase bins. Free technical assistance is available. For information, visit or call 612-543-9298.