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Earth Day started on April 22, 1970, which is two years after the City of Madison began our recycling program.

Take a moment today to get reacquainted with Earth Day’s older sibling, the City of Madison’s recycling program.

Recycle Right
Recycling is very easy, but the stuff in our lives can be complicated, so some of things that appear to be recyclable actually can’t be in our curbside collection carts. For example, did you know that single-use coffee pods go into the trash and not the recycling? It’s true.

And over the years the rules for recycling have changed. Did you know that most recyclables do not need to be bagged when placed into the curbside collection cart? That’s true, too.

Placing the correct items into the carts the correct way is very important. Following the rules and guidelines is the best way to help the recycling system.

Use this easy guide to learn what can be placed into the City of Madison recycling cart.

Residents who would like more detail on recycling rules and opportunities, download our Recyclopedia. Or pick up a paper copy of the booklet at a local Madison Public Library branch. Paper copies can also be mailed upon request by contacting the Streets Division.

Recycle More
Every collection day, recycling carts are full with all the paper, plastic, glass, and metal items we can accept. This is great.

But some carts are overstuffed, with material piled so high that the cart lid cannot close. That can be a problem.

When recycling cart lids are left open, rain and other moisture can get inside and ruin the paper within. And when recycling is piled so high that the lid cannot close, it increases the chances the material inside will blow around the neighborhood, creating an unsightly mess.

To avoid this issue and recycle more, upgrade the size of your collection cart. The largest collection cart holds a lot of recyclables, and it won’t take up that much extra space in the garage.

Contact the Streets Division today to upgrade your recycling cart. Residents who already have the largest recycling cart but still need more space can purchase additional recycling carts.

Recycle Even More
We are very fortunate in Madison to have the opportunity to recycle so much. With a trip to one of the Streets Division drop-off sites you can recycle so many things you cannot recycle at home, such as electronics, Styrofoam, cooking oil, household batteries, and more.

For a complete list of items that can be recycled at the drop-off sites, and never placed into the recycling cart, visit the Streets Division website or check out the Recyclopedia.

More Information
Residents can also contact the City of Madison Streets Division for more recycling information. Residents who live east of South Park Street, including the isthmus, should call 608-246-4532. Residents west of South Park Street should call 608-266-4681.