All about composting: what it is and how to get started. Composting plays a key role in keeping valuable materials out of landfills and doing it correctly will help Minnesota reach its 75% recycling goal.

Two hands cupped together hold soil with a seedling sprouting out

Types of Composting
Composting can be done indoors or outdoors. Organics collection focuses on food scraps and can be dropped off at several locations in Dakota County. Backyard composting focuses on yard waste but can also include food scraps. 

Yard Waste
Yard waste like leaves, twigs and branches can often be picked up by your garbage hauler in a separate bin. Yard waste sites are located throughout Dakota County. Residents may also compost in their own backyard.

Organics Collection
Eagan residents can bring their food scraps, napkins, and other organic materials to the Dakota County organics drop-site at the Holland Lake Trailhead at Lebanon Hills Regional Park. Organics collected are taken to a local facility to be turned into compost. Other locations in Dakota County can be found here.

How to Get Started
To participate in the organics drop-off, residents must first sign up by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., calling (952) 891-7557, or online. Participants will receive a how-to guide for organics and free compostable bags.

Backyard Composting
Backyard composting can be broken down into four steps:

  • Make a compost bin or buy one
  • Throw in yard waste and mix in kitchen scraps
  • Add water as needed
  • Mix it up with a shovel or pitchfork once in a while.

What Can Be Composted

  • About 30% of what we usually throw away can be composted.
  • Food scraps - bakery and dry goods, coffee grounds, dairy products, eggs, meat, fish, fruit and vegetables
  • Indoor plants trimmings
  • Non-recyclable paper - paper towels and napkins, toilet paper and paper towel rolls, paper egg cartons, tissues, dirty paper bags
  • Backyard composting can include all the items listed above and:
    • Leaves, grass clippings, and garden waste

Benefits of Reducing Food Waste

Saves money from buying less food. Reduces methane emissions from landfills and lowers carbon emissions from waste transport. Conserves energy and resources, preventing pollution involved in the growing, manufacturing, transporting, and selling food (not to mention hauling the food waste and then landfilling it). Supports your community by providing donated untouched food that would have otherwise gone to waste to those who might not have a steady food supply.

Composting - City Code Summary

This information summarizes the City Code on this topic. This is only a guide; it is not intended to be a complete set of requirements.

  • Composting is allowed only in residential and agricultural areas.
  • If your lot is 12,000 square feet or less, you can have a compost enclosure no larger than 100 cubic feet in volume.
  • If your lot is greater than 12,000 square feet, you can have a compost enclosure no larger than 150 cubic feet in volume.
  • All compost enclosures shall have at least three sides, or be circular. All compost enclosures shall be made of a durable material, such as wood, plastic, fiberglass or metal fencing.
  • All compost enclosures shall be located behind the residential home.
  • All compost enclosures shall be at least 30 feet from any habitable building.
  • All compost enclosures shall be at least 30 feet from any street. All compost enclosures shall be at least 5 feet from any property lines.
  • All compost enclosures on properties adjacent to ponds shall be located above the 100-year high water level for the pond.
  • All compost shall be maintained to limit odors and allow for the compost materials to decompose. The following items are allowed to be composted: yard waste, sawdust, wood ash, straw, kitchen wastes, and commercially available compost ingredients meant to accelerate composting.
  • The following items are NOT allowed to be composted: meat, bones, fat, oils, dairy products, food (other than kitchen waste), synthetic fibers, human or pet waste, diseased plants.

Get more information and tips about backyard composting from our recycling staff at Dakota Valley Recycling.

Yard waste drop-off/pick-up:

Yard waste cannot go in the trash. Instead, bring yard waste to a local compost site or call your garbage hauler to schedule a curbside pick-up.

Hours will vary for drop-off sites and fees may apply for both drop-off and pick-up of yard waste. Treated wood will not be accepted with yard waste and must go to a lined landfill.

Check out the Yard Waste Guide from Dakota Valley Recycling for drop-off locations and details.

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