Twin Cities Zero-Waste Resources

My plan for this page is to keep as current a list as I can for low and zero-waste resources around the Twin Cities. This is as much as for myself as it is also for any local friends who want to do something but don't know where to start.

This is a work in progress. If you live in the Twin Cites and know of something that would be helpful to add, please leave a comment below my latest post on my front page, or direct message me at Facebook or Instagram. Thanks!

Most recent update: 4/7/2019


Start by Refusing. You don't have to go anywhere for that! Politely refuse freebies at marketing conventions or the free pen your dentist has for you. A shopping bag seems like a good idea for a marketing gift; another water bottle? Maybe not. Travel prepared with your own cutlery, water bottle, coffee tumbler. And do you remember how to drink without a straw? Some people, it is true, who have different abilities, may actually need a straw. In that case, a reusable straw is a fine idea to add to your travel kit. Otherwise, just drink your beverage the old-fashioned way. Bring your own bags or just carry purchases out with you without a bag at all if you can.

Litterless website has a listing of Zero-Waste Essentials. Other websites probably do too. Use them for inspiration, but think about what you have already. You probably won't need to buy more things. Start where you are with what you already own.


Try to reduce the amount of packaging you bring into your home. Shop where there are package-free options and where package-free isn't offered, choose the options that be recycled the best ways: glass, steel and aluminum, paper. Remember, plastic never really recycles. It can only be down-cycled into another type of plastic that eventually degrades into particles that never disappear.

This is a wonderful resource for options all over the United States. The link directs you to the Minnesota stores arranged by city, but from there you can check out other states too.

Grand Opening April 19, 2019 - Your local, package-free store. I'm excited, are you?

Now THIS is cool! Falling Fruit is a map where people can "Map the Urban Harvest" That's free food to you and me that would otherwise go to waste. Fruit trees on public lands overhanging sidewalks. Edible mushrooms. Wild asparagus. This seems more fun than geocaching! Click on a location to see what the harvest is, when it happens, and see the notes that tell you if the source is public or private (if you need to ask permission or not).

Rent and Borrow

Can you borrow a needed item from a neighbor without having to purchase something you may use only a few times a year? Don't know your neighbors yet? Maybe try starting with borrowing a cup of sugar. 

Renting certain items is an option.

And did you know that there are lending libraries around for toys and tools too?

A nice note: You do not have to live in Minneapolis to use the toy library. This could be a great option for hosting out of town guests with children (such as grandchildren!) without having to have a stockpile of your own toys at home that don't get used very often. Or if you want to have access to different toys without actually needing to purchase more. Think of what a fun trip it could be for your little guests to go to the toy library to pick out some things for the duration of their visit. And then stop by your local, traditional library for books, music, movies and more!


Find new uses for your things before you give or throw them away. Repair and tailor your clothing and your shoes. Shop second-hand. Shopping second-hand does so much in terms of putting the breaks on the waste cycle from the energy and materials required on the front end of producing a product, to energy and resources required to dispose of the items in the least harmful way. We are not doing a good job of that right now. Buying second-hand is an easy way to do better.

Want to give it away or get it for free? Check Freecycle first!

Not just for Minneapolis and Saint Paul. Freecycle is everywhere! We used Freecycle in Florida to give away a futon bed frame to some very happy people, so excited to pick it up. You never know what you will find there!


You can recycle many, many items. It's pretty darn easy to do in the metro area and I think all municipalities offer curbside recycling.

But other things can be recycled too. Apart from selling your things, you can donate them, but donations to the big centers that most of us think about don't necessarily get reused in the ways we would hope. There is just SO much stuff. For an in depth conversation about this, have a listen to this episode of the Break the Twitch podcast - an excellent podcast that happens to be locally produced. You can watch the podcast on Youtube or you can listen via the website or your favorite podcatcher.

Julie Kearns is interviewed in this episode. Her website, Junket, offers its own resource page of places around the Twin Cities where you can donate your items places with specific needs, ensuring that the items will actually be wanted and used.


Compost. That COULD speak for itself, but here is an article by the University of Minnesota Extension service to get you started.

More to come!

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