Changes in Markets Shrink Plastic Recycling

Tuesday, May 20, 2008 - 5:34am

Due to recent changes in plastic markets, the City of Madison will no longer be able to recycle plastic dairy tubs in its curbside recycling program. Effective immediately, the only plastic that can be recycled in the green carts are plastic bottles. Madison will accept any plastic bottle regardless of the number on the bottom. They only exception to this rule are motor oil bottles, which should be discarded.

"We are sorry to have to announce this change in our program," Madison recycling coordinator George Dreckmann said. "However, since we have no end users for old dairy tubs, we cannot recycle them any longer."

"In order for a community to successfully recycle a material, we have to have someone who will take the product and manufacturer a new product," Dreckmann said. "At this time the only end users we have for plastics are manufacturers who use bottles."

The City of Madison is committed to only asking for materials that can actually be recycled. Many programs will try to simplify their instructions by asking for all plastics. In the end, some of the material they ask for is discarded at the processing center or by the end user.

"We believe it is important for our credibility to only ask for products we know will be recycled," Dreckmann said. "This is the honest way to operate and, we reduce our sorting costs and insure good prices for our materials if we reduce contamination before our recyclables enter the marketplace."

The loss of markets for this small portion of the waste stream should not be looked upon as a reflection of the overall recycling market place. The City of Madison is
receiving record revenues from the sale of our recycling. Prices that Madison receives for its recyclables are up almost $10 per ton compared to last year.

"We will continue to look for new markets for plastic, and we will alert our customers as soon as we are sure we have sound markets," Dreckmann said. "For the time being, residents should remember to only recycle plastic bottles."


  • George Dreckmann267-2626