Recycling Info

What can and cannot be recycled depends on whether a market exists for the recycled products. Here is a simplified list of items that can and cannot be recycled in the City of Madison and on the UW-Campus. More information can be found at the City of Madison’s Streets and Recycling website.

Feel free to also download the DNR’s Recycling Poster for answers to frequently asked questions on recycling in Wisconsin.



Recycle only these plastics:

  •  All plastic bottles (except Motor Oil bottles). In most cases, it does not matter if the cap is on.
  • Plastic containers #1 – #7.  [What do the numbers mean? Find out on the DNR’s Recycling Poster]
  • Plastic frozen juice containers
  • Plastic dairy tubs (ice cream, yogurt, cottage cheese, etc.)
  • Plastic laundry product containers
  • #1 Peanut Butter and other condiment containers
  • #1 Clamshell berry containers

The following plastics cannot be recycled through the City of Madison/UW:

  • Plastic Packaging Wrap / Cellophane
  • Styrofoam
  • Microwave Dinner Plates
  • Motor Oil Bottles
  • Syringes and medical needles



The recycling of clean plastic bags is now mandatory in Madison. However, because plastic bags are processed differently, do not place plastic bags in your recycling container. Clean plastic bags must be brought to one of the many drop-off centers in Madison. Drop-off centers near the UW Campus include The University Bookstore, Fresh Madison Market, and The Willy Street Co-op. — A complete list of drop-off locations 



Recycle all of the following paper items:

  • Newspaper
  • Magazines, catalogs, and junk mail
  • Paper Grocery Bags
  • Office and Computer Paper
  • Shredded paper
  • Envelopes
  • Phone Books
  • Cardboard (Cereal, Cracker, Soda boxes, etc.)
  • Paper Egg Cartons
  • Paper Milk and Juice Cartons
  • Juice Boxes and Other Aseptic Packages
  • Pizza Boxes: you can recycle only the clean portion of the box (the part uncontaminated by grease or food residue)
    The following items cannot be recycled:
  • Paper Towel / Napkins
  • Tissues
  • Soiled cardboard, paper plates, and paper cups



The City of Madison does not accept electronics in conventional recycling bins. Thanks to a partnership with Dell and ReconnectGoodwill drop-off centers will now accept electronics (including TVs, computer parts, laptops, cords, chargers, etc.)

Another option is to drop-off your electronics at the City of Madison recycling drop-off centers. The City of Madison will accept many electronics (including printers, cell phones, cords, and cameras) for free if they are delivered to one of the City’s drop off locations. Some items (TVs, monitors, laptops and CPUs) require a 10$ fee. You can visit the City of Madison’s Computer Recycling site for a full list of accepted items and locations.



Recycle all the following items:

  • Aluminum cans
  • Glass bottles and jars (with lids removed)
  • Poil pans
  • Steel/tin cans
  • Metal jar lids
  • Empty aerosol cans
  • Pots and pans
  • Paint cans and lids
  • Small metal appliances (toasters, blenders, etc.)
  • Metal pluming fixtures (Faucets, valves, pipes 18″ or less)

The following items cannot be recycled:

  • Glassware / ceramic drinking glasses
  • Mirrors
  • Light bulbs
  • Aluminum foil

2 thoughts on “Recycling Info

Comments are closed.