Sustain Dane / City of Madison Recycle Better Course Begins on July 11, 2024


The online version of the Recycle Better course returns during the evening of Thursday, July 11, 2024.

You can help your community recycle better by becoming a Certified Steward.

What is the Recycle Better Course?

The course not only teaches you how and why it’s important to recycle more and recycle right, it also gives you the knowledge and confidence to help your community recycle better. 

Upon completion of the course, you can become a Certified Recycling Steward so you can share this useful knowledge with those in your social circles.

Sustain Dane, in partnership with the City of Madison, developed the Recycle Better course in 2021. Since then, over 1,000 people have taken part, and the  outreach projects completed by the Certified Recycling Stewards have reached over 70,000 people.

The online course is divided into two nights.  The first class is Thursday, July 11, 2024 from 6:30pm to 8:00pm, and the concluding session is Thursday, July 18 from 6:30pm to 8:00pm.

More 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.

Why does recycling right and the Recycling Better course matter?

A sort of the recyclables collected by the Streets Division revealed that 18.7% of what is placed into our green recycling carts is material that should not be in these recycling carts.  And in recent checks of recycling carts, Streets Division operators found common mistakes – including many residents putting good recyclables into bad bags.

By placing things into the recycling cart that do not belong, you raise the costs of the Resource Recovery Special Charge by making the city pay for the disposal of more trash in the recycling, and you hurt the overall recycling system.

The wrong kind of material in recycling carts jams sorting equipment, and the wrong items can even be dangerous to the people who work at the facilities and it can lead to serious fires.

Recycling rules are not the same around the entire country.  Wisconsin has very strong and specific recycling mandates, but other states do not.  This can make recycling confusing, especially for new residents. 

With no set guidelines around the country, simple internet searches may not always turn up the appropriate local information you need to recycle right in Madison.

With so much noise and competition for our attention, it’s challenging for local sources of reliable information to surface on our algorithmic information feeds.

This is where you come in.

People like you who care about your community can take the Recycle Better course and help your neighbors, co-workers, fellow congregants, and members of your online communities reach this good local information and learn the right thing to do with the waste we all generate daily.  You can help drive down the amount of trash in our recycling.

Learn about Recycling 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, from magnets to maybe even 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

Good recyclables. Clean plastic bottles, flattened cardboard, empty and clean cans, empty and clean glass bottles and jars.

This an example of many of the kinds of good recyclables that can go into the green recycling cart.  Clean, dry, and empty plastic bottles, jugs, and containers.  Clean, dry, and empty glass bottles and jars.  Clean, dry, and empty cartons. Folded down cardboard and other paper products. More about what can go into the green recycling cart can be found at

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