Monday, August 22, 2022

Best Practices for Community Organics Composting Collection and Sites & Glacial Ridge Tour

Workshop Summary: 

In this workshop, presented on August 16, 2022, we learned best practices for community organics collection and site. The workshop included a tour of the NEW Pope/Douglas Solid Waste Management Glacial Ridge facility.

  • Tim Farnan provided an overview of compost facilities. Minnesota has around 125 Yard Waste Permit-By-Rule (PBR) sites and 9 Source Separated Organic Materials (SSOM) compost sites. Common challenges to operating a successful compost site include: invasive/noxious plants and weeds, invasive species, contamination, access to/resources for operator training, seasonality of incoming material, and markets & end uses for compost. A common term used is "Process to Further Reduce Pathogens" or PRFP. This is a treatment process involving consistent 131+ degree Fahrenheit temperatures over 7-15 days and helps reduce common pathogens in a final product. The key concepts Tim shared included:
    1. Know and follow applicable regulations 
    2. Take operator training (see resources below) 
    3. Meet the Process to Further Reduce Pathogens (PRFP) 
    4. Test your compost (see resources below) 
  • Kala Fisher talked about St. Louis Park's organics program which serves over 12,300 households for organics collection (40% participation). The program began in 2013 and costs are included in solid waste rates although participants request an organics cart to participate. The city also provides 5 organics drop-off sites with plans to double in 2022. St. Louis Park focuses on education and outreach by providing compostable bags and a welcome kit, print/online recycling guides, emails and newsletters, workshops, social media, cart tags for contaminated carts, direct mailing, local ads, how-to videos, community events, Recycling Champions program, and providing finished compost to residents.
  • Nathan Reinbold discussed the Pope/Douglas Glacial Ridge compost facility, which serves 7 counties across central Minnesota. A pilot program started in 2017 with 4 schools, a transfer station with capacity of up to 1,000 tons/year was added in 2020, and the compost facility added in 2022. 9 community based/supported drop sites are collected weekly. The goal is to increase recycling access and reduce rates. Funds were provided by the MPCA and state bonding. Compost end-use goals include: develop county compost use requirement, MnDOT supplier/vendor setup, shovel your own compost at the Environmental Center, and rental of top-spreader for household use.
  • Emilie Justen shared best practices for managing noxious weeds in compost sites. Legally, noxious weeds should not transported without a permit to avoid spreading to other areas. Acceptable disposal sites include designated compost sites (buckthorn, garlic mustard, etc.), incineration, and landfills. Other management methods include herbicides, biological control, mechanical (mowing, hand-pulling, etc.) and on-site composting, smothering, and burning.
  • Laura Van Riper provided information about Jumping Worms. All worms in Minnesota are non-native and cause bare soils and limited plant species. Jumping Worms can dramatically change soils and give it a coffee ground-texture, eat mulch, and strip nutrients. Identify a jumping worm by the clitellum (ring/band) that is 14-15 segments from the head, the snake-like movement, and a tail that can break off. Jumping worms and their egg cases can move with soil, plants, sod, mulch, and compost. If you have jumping worms, keep them on site or take material to a compost facility that follows the PRFP. Compost sites can reduce the spread by following PFRP (even if not required), keeping finished compost separate from drop-off area, and training staff on the identification and inspection of finished compost for jumping worms.


  • 10:00-10:10am: Welcome & Introductions
  • 10:10-10:20am: Overview of best practices - Tim Farnan, Planning and Assistance Unit Supervisor, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
  • 10:20-10:40am: Municipal collection and community education - Kala Fisher, Solid Waste Manager, St. Louis Park
  • 10:40-10:55am: Collection process and site - Nathan Reinbold, Environmental Coordinator, Pope/Douglas Solid Waste Management
  • 10:55-11:10am: Managing noxious weeds - Emilie Justen, Noxious Weed Law Coordinator, MN Agriculture
  • 11:10-11:25am: Jumping worm prevention - Laura Van Riper, Terrestrial Invasive Species Coordinator, MnDNR
  • 11:25-11:40am: Q&A and open discussion
  • 11:40-11:50am: Break
  • 11:50-12:30pm: Tour Glacial Ridge Compost Facility

View the workshop recording: 

View the PDF and additional materials: 


Best Practice Actions related to this topic: 
  • 16.2 - Adopt best practices for urban tree planting/quality

  • 17.5 - Adopt and implement guidelines or design standards/incentives for stormwater infiltration/reuse practices

  • 18.5 - Create park/city land management standards/practices

  • 22.1 - Improve city operations and procurement to prevent and reuse, recycle and compost waste from all public facilities (including libraries, parks, schools, municipal health care facilities)

  • 22.2 - Address concerns over consumer products and packaging through encouragement/implementation

  • 22.5 - Arrange for a residential and/or business/institutional source-separated organics collection/management program

  • 22.7 - Improve/organize residential trash, recycling and organics collection by private and/or public operations 

  • 25.4 - Strengthen value-added businesses utilizing local "waste" material

Register for upcoming GreenStep Cities and Tribal Nations workshops here. You do not need to be a GreenStep community to attend.

 Visit the GreenStep Cities and Tribal Nations program website at

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