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Madison’s new recycling procedures

With new procedures on the horizon, brush up on Madison’s recycling guidelines.

A blue recycling truck from Madison Streets and Recycling Department.jpeg

Do you know what does and doesn’t belong in your recycling cart? | Photo via City of Madison

The City of Madison Street Division will soon be taking a closer look at residents’ recycling carts.

Starting later this year, Streets Division crew members will randomly select bins around the city to inspect. If they find a recycling issue, they’ll flag your bin to let you know that changes need to be made before the upcoming collection day.

If you find a card on your recycling cart, you must reassess its contents and resolve the issue by removing any of the above-listed problem items. Most likely, the crew member will leave a note on the card letting you know exactly what needs to be fixed.

608 recycling

Keep an eye out for these “Oh no” recycling cards left on your carts. | Image via City of Madison

Brush up on recycling rules

The following items should not be in your recycling carts:

Clothes | If your unwanted clothes or fabric are deemed unfit for donation, try reaching out to local makerspaces like Sector67 and UW-Madison Makerspace, who might find a use for the unrecyclable material.

Styrofoam | The City will collect styrofoam at drop-off sites to recycle; otherwise, it belongs in the trash cart.

Tanglers | Think Rope, plastic wrap, belts, and grocery store bags. These items are notorious for getting tangled in recycling machines, causing damage and lost time.

Trash bags | Ideally, your recycling will be loose in the cart. If you must use a bag, the bag needs to be see-through.

Wood | Bring wood directly to a drop-off site, where the city will repurpose it.

The more you know

If you want to learn more about how to stay on top of your sustainability game, check out these local resources:

  • Recyclopedia | We recommend downloading and printing this informational guide to put on your fridge for future reference. It lists brief “Dos and Don’ts” of recycling as well as contact information for relevant City departments and hotlines.
  • Donation options | Check out the City’s list of local organizations that may take your unwanted items that can’t be recycled.
  • Sustain Dane | Sign up for the virtual Recycle Better program where you’ll get a rundown on all things recycling from sustainability professionals.