Ask The Radish: Sustainability Edition

Every month, we receive lots of questions about various sustainability topics. These are some of our most popular ones with answers directly from yours truly.

Q: Why is food in the deli and bulk departments packed in #1 clamshells? They are not recyclable or compostable in Dunn County.

A: Ah, yes. The age-old (or at least a couple of years-old) question. We could devote this entire article to answering this one because it requires a complex explanation, but here’s the gist. When we originally selected #1 plastic clamshells for these products, we were part of a pilot program with Dunn County Recycling through which we could recycle them. That program was suspended about a year ago, and since then, we have been unable to adequately research and make the switch to one of the many remaining plastic packaging options that is both recyclable in Dunn County and is the least evil (because as you probably already know, no plastic is truly perfect). We have our new Sustainability Team on the case though, so watch for announcement about it soon!

Q: Can I bring my personal compost to the co-op?

A: Not at the moment. We don’t currently have a storage system in place to accept compost, but we are exploring options. We’ll share an update if we do ever offer compost dropoff.

Q: What items are recyclable at Menomonie Market Food Co-op?

A: We accept all of the recyclables listed on Advance Disposable’s list of accepted items. These include aluminum cans, glass jars and bottles, paper products, and more.

Q: How clean does recycling need to be? 

A: How clean it needs to be actually depends on where your recycling is collected, but here in Dunn County, most of our recycling goes through a single stream process, which means all recyclables should be rinsed thoroughly so food is not transferred.

Q: Where does the plastic we recycle in Dunn County go?

A: Recycling collected by our waste management company, Advanced Disposal, in Dunn County is transferred to a facilty in Minneapolis where it is reused in different ways.

Q: Are the deli carryout containers being composted?

A: Our deli carryout containers are all compostable, and we do collect them in our compost bins. At the time of writing this article, they are being picked up by Advanced Disposal to be composted at a professional composting facility in Dunn County. Keep your eyes peeled though because a new composting service may be available in Menomonie very soon, and we’ll be exploring ways to partner with them.

Have a question you’d like us to answer? Leave us a note on a comment card available in our front lobby or send an email to Our staff will reply as soon as soon as they can, and you may even see your question here in a future issue of our newsletter.

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