Be a confident recycler by focusing on the following items. Do not use plastic bags. Put recyclables loose in your recycling cart or use a paper bag. Make sure bottles, jars and containers are empty and dry before recycling. They don't have to be perfect — just free of most residue like food and liquids. Leave caps on containers and flatten boxes.


All recycling service providers in Dakota County must accept these items. If you’re wondering about a specific item, use the online Recycling Guide at, search recycling guide.



  • Newspaper and inserts
  • Magazines and catalogs
  • Mail and office papers


  • Corrugated cardboard
  • Paperboard (e.g., cracker boxes)


  • Milk and juice cartons
  • Soup, broth, and wine cartons
  • Juice boxes

Metal cans

  • Aluminum, tin, and steel cans

Glass bottles and jars

Plastic bottles, containers and jugs

  • Containers numbered 1, 2 or 5
  • Soda, juice and water bottles
  • Milk and juice jugs
  • Margarine, cottage cheese, cream cheese and other tubs and lids
  • Laundry detergent bottles and jugs
  • Clear berry and produce containers


DO NOT put these items in your recycling

  • Batteries
  • Black plastic
  • Clothing and textiles
  • Electronics
  • Food


  • Diapers
  • Plastic bags and film
  • Shredded paper
  • Tanglers (e.g., chains, extension cords, hoses, string lights)


Free your bottles, cans and paper

Leave the plastic bag behind. Your bottles, cans and paper should go in your recycling cart loose – do not use a plastic bag for your recyclables. If you need a bag, use a paper bag. Plastic bags ruin the recycling process and don’t get recycled because they:

  • Prevent workers from seeing if bad items are mixed in with good items.
  • Wrap around machines at the sorting facility.
  • Workers must crawl into sorting machine to cut out tangled bags.

Plastic bags, bread bags, plastic wrap around paper towels and bubble wrap can be dropped off at grocery stores for proper recycling. Find drop-off locations in the online Recycling Guide at





Do good with food scraps


Food waste makes up nearly 20 percent of our household trash, yet it doesn’t do any good sitting in a landfill. Instead, food scraps could turn into beneficial compost – a soil-like material used to help plants grow. Sign up for the free organics collection program to access five drop-off sites throughout Dakota County with more being added this year.

Organics collection goes beyond backyard composting by accepting meat, bones, dairy products and pizza boxes. Food waste goes to a commercial compost facility in Rosemount where it is processed at higher temperatures that kill bacteria and break down larger pieces.

Sign up online at, search organics, call 952-891-7557 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. All participants receive helpful tips and free compostable bags to use at home.


Partially funded by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and Dakota County.