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What to Recycle?

Wisconsin has a long history of recycling. The solid waste, recovery, and recycling law passed in 1990.

Although every Wisconsin community recycles paper, cans and bottles, recycling requirements do vary across the state. This can cause some confusion but by knowing who to ask for clarifications you can rest assured that you are recycling right.

Scroll down to learn about items that are banned from Wisconsin landfills. 

Recyclables Banned From Disposal in Wisconsin

  • Paper, cardboard and containers

  • Aluminum containers

  • Bi-metal containers (i.e. containers made from a combination of steel and aluminum)

  • Corrugated cardboard or other containerboard

  • Glass containers

  • Magazines and other materials printed on similar paper

  • Newspaper and other materials printed on newsprint

  • Office paper

  • Plastic containers #1 and #2 - milk jugs, laundry detergent bottles, soda and water bottles, etc.

  • Steel containers (tin cans)

  • Electronics

  • Lead acid batteries

  • Major appliances [PDF]

  • Used oil filters

  • Waste oil, except when incinerated with energy recovery

  • Waste tires (except when incinerated with energy recovery)

  • Yard waste, including grass clippings, leaves, yard and garden debris and brush under 6 inches in diameter*

    • *​​Yard waste may go to an approved compost facility or be incinerated with energy recovery. Brush may be burned at licensed woodburning facilities if reasonable alternatives are not available.

Other Banned Items

Wisconsin's recycling law also bans the following materials from disposal, but the DNR allows them to be landfilled or incinerated because there are not yet adequate recycling markets. If, at some future time, the DNR determines that adequate markets for these plastics exist, they will be banned from disposal.

  • Foam polystyrene packaging (either designed for serving food or beverages), loose particles intended for packing (e.g. packing peanuts), or rigid materials shaped to hold and cushion a packaged article

  • Plastic containers #3 through #7. Many communities now accept these types of plastics, so check with your local recycling program or recycling hauler to find out if you can include them in your recycling.

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