City of

District 11

Alder Arvina Martin

Image of Alder Arvina Martin,
Council Vice President

Alder Arvina Martin,
Council Vice President

Contact Information

Home Address:

4901 Waukesha Street
Madison , WI 53705

Council Office

Common Council Office:
210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd
Room 417
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: (608) 266-4071
Fax: (608) 267-8669
WI Relay Service

Alder Martin’s Blog

Holiday Recycling Series!

December 13, 2018 3:26 PM

Bryan Johnson, the City of Madison's Recycling Coordinator is providing tips on how to deal with recycling in advance of the Holidays. Stay tuned for all kinds of advice on how to sift through and handle recycling and trash.

Ah, cardboard. The perfectly recyclable menace of the holiday seasons.  What do you do with all the cardboard that you can't fit into the recycling cart?

The Streets Division has two options for you. (You'll want to click that link, or read the press release that's attached and also embedded below)

You may ask yourself, after reading the link above: why does the Streets Division require people cut down the cardboard and bundle it?  We need this because of how we perform recycling collection in Madison. (You'll want to click that link, too).  It is very difficult to wrestle all the loose cardboard outside of the collection truck and then get it all the way up and into the top of the truck where the carts are dumped.  Attached to this email is a picture of one of our operators standing next to a collection truck so you can see how high up the opening is for the material.   Cutting the cardboard into easy to handle bundles makes the process of getting the cardboard up and into the truck safer and faster.


And, there's an alternative – bring it to a drop-off site.


As always, I appreciate your sharing of this information through your various channels.  If you have any questions, let me know.

Holiday Recycling Tips: How to Handle Extra Cardboard

We are in the season of giving, which also means figuring out what to do with all the old stuff the gifts have replaced. 

Over the next several days, we will share some recycling tips on how you should handle the excess of things that accumulate during the holidays.

Previous holiday recycling tips:

Do not put clothes in the green recycling cart

How to Recycle More Cardboard Than Fits into Your Recycling Cart

In order for recycling truck operators to collect cardboard placed outside of the collection cart, they have to hop out of their vehicle and somehow get the cardboard up and into the truck's opening where the carts are emptied. The truck's opening is several feet off the ground and not on the back like old-fashioned collection vehicles. Lifting large, heavy, and awkward piles of cardboard up and into this opening can be very difficult.


With worker safety and collection efficiency in mind, the Streets Division asks residents to follow these easy steps to be sure all your extra cardboard at the curb can be collected.

  • Step 1: Flatten all the boxes and cardboard that do not fit into the recycling cart.  Do not stuff flattened boxes into a larger box.
  • Step 2: Cut or fold the flattened excess cardboard down into roughly 3-foot by 3-foot squares.
  • Step 3: Bundle all the cardboard together using string or twine. The bundles should be no thicker than approximately 6 inches so they are easy to lift.
  • Step 4: Place the bundles of cardboard out next to your collection cart for pickup.

Packaging your excess cardboard into bundles as described above ensures the piles are safe to handle and lift by recycling crews, and they will be collected.

If residents do not follow the above steps for excess cardboard, crews may not be able to collect the material.

Excess cardboard can also be recycled at the drop-off sites at 4602 Sycamore Ave and 1501 W. Badger Rd.  Drop-off sites are open 7:30am to 3:00pm Monday to Friday. Those who use the drop-off site should check into the office prior to unloading.

For more information regarding recycling excess cardboard, please visit the Streets Division's website,


Tags: Recycling

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