The Sustain Dane/City of Madison Recycle Better Course Returns on May 17, 2024


The Recycle Better course returns on Friday, May 17, 2024.

And for the first time, the course will be offered in person.

What is the Recycle Better Course?

Sustain Dane, in partnership with the City of Madison, developed the Recycle Better course in 2021. Since then, a little more than 1,000 people have taken part.

The goal of the course is to teach you how and why it’s important to recycle more and recycle right. Most importantly, though, the course gives you the tools to become a Certified Recycling Steward so you are empowered to go out and teach your community how to recycle better.

The first-ever in-person course will be on Friday, May 17 from 8:30am to 12:00pm at 821 East Washington Avenue.  If you would like to attend, you must register.  Food will be provided.  Details regarding transportation, costs, and other details can be found on the Sustain Dane registration webpage.  Sustain Dane does charge a small tuition for the course ($15).  If cost is a burden, please contact Lorenza Zebell at Sustain Dane to ask about having the tuition waived.

If you are interested, but cannot join the May 17 in-person event there is an online opportunity in July.


Why does the Recycling Better Course matter?

In April 2023, a sort of the recyclables collected by the Streets Division revealed that 18.6% of what is placed into our green recycling carts is material that should not be in your recycling cart.

By placing things into the recycling cart that doesn’t belong in there, it hurts the overall system by increasing costs to dispose of the trash. The wrong material can tangle around equipment, causing breakdowns, and the wrong items can even be dangerous to the people who work at the sorting facilities and it can lead to serious fires.

Did you know that recycling rules are not the same around the entire country?  It’s true.  Wisconsin has very strong and specific recycling mandates, but other states do not.  Following local guidelines is the only way you can recycle correctly in your home.

With no set guidelines around the country, simple internet searches may not always turn up the local information you need.  And with so much competition for our attention, it’s hard for local sources of good information to breakthrough on our information feeds.

Community advocates like you can help our neighbors, co-workers, fellow congregants, and members of our online communities, and others in your social circles reach this good local information and learn the right thing to do with the waste we all generate daily.

What if you want to learn about recycling right without becoming a Certified Recycling Steward?

City of Madison recycling information has always been, and will always be, free and readily available for you and your home.

You can learn what you can put in the recycling cart at your home by visiting the Streets Division’s recycling website or picking up your copy of the latest Recyclopedia from your local library.   

Many other free resources are available, including the lid of the recycling cart at your home. 

Additional Information

For more information about the City of Madison Streets Division’s recycling program, please visit

For more information about Sustain Dane and all of the classes and services they provide, visit

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