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Skip the Stuff Program


Sign a Resolution: Reduce the Use of Throwaway Plastics

The omnipresence of plastic is harming our health, our environment and the planet. Beyond Plastics Greater Minnesota Area has developed resolutions to be presented to the City Councils in Mankato, North Mankato and St. Peter. The number of signatures entered in support of these resolutions will have an impact on how successful they are. Please read and the resolution unique to the city in which you live. Please share this information!

St. Peter


North Mankato



Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Fact Sheet

EPR Fact Sheet

Producer Responsibility – Reduce plastic and hold polluters accountable


What is EPR for Packaging?

It’s a program to hold producers responsible for the cost of managing packaging waste. At present, producers decide what to use for packaging and consumers must accept it and pay for it. EPR for Packaging puts costs back on producers, so they make different choices. The goal is to redesign packaging to make it safer and more recyclable and to reduce packaging altogether.

Why do we need it?

Plastic pollution is a crisis, and more recycling can’t fix it. 40% of the waste stream is packaging. Local governments are responsible for recycling and have little control over what they must manage.

Producers decide what to use for packaging and they have no incentive to reduce, to eliminate toxic chemicals, or to design with recyclability in mind. Packaging producers continue to develop ‘new’ packaging which is often more complex. To get to a circular economy, we must standardize packaging, make it less complex, and get toxic chemicals out.

What will it do?

  • Reduce the amount of packaging produced
  • Increase the recyclability of packaging
  • Increase reuse / refill options
  • Remove toxic chemicals in packaging
  • Increase post-consumer content in packaging
  • Reduce litter and reduce trash going to landfills
  • Create clear, consistent labeling
  • Reduce hard-to-recycle packaging

How does it work?

Brand owners pay a fee for the type and amount of packaging material they use. The fees are “eco-modulated” to incentivize reducing and redesigning packaging to make it more recyclable, compostable, or reusable.

Is this something new?

No, it’s already in use in the entire European Union and five Canadian provinces. Maine and Oregon passed EPR for Packaging bills in 2021.

How are fees used?

  • Offset local government recycling costs
  • Improve recycling infrastructure and education
  • Pilot reuse / refill programs

Increase* Reuse * Recycling * Recyclability * Recycled content

Decrease * Confusion * Contamination * Toxic chemicals


Articles and Video Interviews on Organic Recycling and Plastics

One Year of Plastic Film Recycling: KEYC & Free Press Articles

Ae you cuious about how many pounds of plastic film were collected in the first year of the plastic film recycling program in Mankato, North Mankato and Lake Crystal? Here are two stories that tell about it. The first is a video clip from KEYC. The second is from the Mankato Free Press. 

To view the video, click here.

To read the Free Press article, click here.


Mankato Magazine April 2022  A Natalie Rademaker

https://mankatofreepress-cnhi.newsmemory.com/ Sunday, August 30, 2020 Compost Girl:  Young Entrepeneur Helps Neighbors Go Green

 https://mankatofreepress-cnhi.newsmemory.com/    Thursday, May 6 2021 Plastic Drop-Off:  Efforts Urge Recycling of Bags, Packaging

https://mankatofreepress-cnhi.newsmemory.com/  Wednesday, October 20,2021 Right Thing:  Senior Living Facility Conducts Unusual, Robust Composting System

Wednesday, October 20, 2021  Board Oks Good Thunder Compost facility to Start back Up

https://mankatofreepress-cnhi.newsmemory.com/   Sunday, June 19, 2022 Compost Business Rebounds

How to get started



  • Sign up to become members and receive valuable information/updates. For Mankato members, call 311 or 507-387-8600 or sign up at mankatomn.gov under “City Services”, “Garbage & Recycling” and then “Organics Recycling”. For North Mankato residents, call April at City Hall 507-625-4141. For Lake Crystal residents, call Lake Crystal City Hall 507-726-2538.
  • Bring all food waste except liquids and all food-soiled compostable paper waste, such as paper napkins, paper towels and pizza boxes, to the drop-off site at Public Works Center, 501 South Victory Drive, Mankato, Riverbend Recycling Center, 600 Webster Avenue, North Mankato.  Sites are open all day every day.


  •  Find an acceptable container with a lid for your waste. Some people use a plastic ice cream pail, others use something fancier.  Some start with a smaller container and then transfer to a larger container (such as a 5 gallon bucket) when the waste accumulates. Some use a vented container because air slows down decomposition. These are available on-line or you can make holes in your pail’s lid to give it a try.
  • Decide on a good place for your container. Some keep it right on the counter or under the counter, others in the refrigerator or freezer.  In hot weather keeping the container in the refrigerator or freezer can help slow the mushiness factor.
  • Discover a system of bagging the waste that works for you. Some people line their pail with a 2 to 3 gallon compostable plastic bag and when that is full, tie it and place it in their larger container.  Others keep the waste un-bagged and dump it into bags (either certified compostable plastic or paper) just before coming to the drop-off site.

Adding a layer of dry stuff (items like facial tissues, paper egg cartons, shredded paper, soiled paper towels and napkins) in the bottom of the pail or bag will absorb moisture that can break down the bag. Layering such items into your scraps will help too.

  • See the extensive list of acceptable/unacceptable items at that tab on the MZW website: mankatozerowaste.com. You will be surprised how many items are compostable!
  • Get a supply of bags—paper grocery bags are acceptable. Cubs, Hy-Vee Hilltop and St. Peter Food Coop all sell BPI certified compostable plastic bags in 13 gallon and 2-3 gallon sizes.

Several general rules to remember:

  •  All organics are to be dropped off in paper or certified compostable plastic bags (no regular plastic bags please).
  • Larger items such as pizza boxes and paper egg cartons don’t have to be bagged.
  • No yard waste is accepted.
  • Recycle clean paper waste instead of bringing it to the organics drop-off.

For questions, please contact:  [email protected] or call Jane Dow at 625-5092.

Good luck, we know you can do it!  The Mankato Zero Waste Team