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For the first time in Madison, food scraps recycling will be available at all three of the Streets Division drop-off sites.

This is a special voluntary recycling program available only at the drop-off sites.

This program will begin accept appropriate food scraps today, May 4, 2020. The program is scheduled to last until October 31, 2020.

What food scraps can be recycled at the drop-off sites?
Residents who wish to participate should follow the rules outlined on the food scraps recycling guide available at the Streets Division’s website and available for pickup at the Streets Division’s drop-off sites.

Residents choosing to participate must bring in the correct food scraps without contamination to be recycled.

Staff will monitor the food scraps containers. The ones that contain the wrong material will instead be dumped into a trash truck and hauled to the landfill.

The food scraps program will only be able to succeed if the correct material is delivered to the processor.

What is banned from food scraps recycling?
There are two useful tools to use when determining what can and cannot be recycled in this program.

You can consult the food scraps recycling guide available for download on the Streets Division’s website and paper copies are available at the drop-off sites.

And you can use the Betterbin web app. Betterbin allows you to search for food scraps to learn if it can be placed into the cart or not.

Below are some of the items not allowed in the food scraps program:

  • Food packaging is banned – including packaging that advertises itself as compostable.
  • Cups, take-out boxes, cutlery, or any similar item, even if they are labeled as compostable, are not allowed.
  • Plastic, metal, glass, or any other non-compostable material are not allowed. This includes produce stickers, rubber bands, plastic wrap, twist ties, and similar items.
  • Pet waste from any pet, including backyard chickens, is not allowed.
  • Diapers are not allowed.
  • Egg shells, bones, corn cobs, corn husks, and similar material that is hard or fibrous cannot be placed into the food scraps cart.

How do I participate in this program?
Take the appropriate food scraps to one of the drop-off sites and empty the food scraps from your container into the orange-lidded wasted food carts at the drop-off sites.

What happens to the food scraps after I drop them off?
They will be hauled to a dairy manure anaerobic biodigester where they will be processed to produce electricity and compost.

Why is keeping out contamination so important?
Just like traditional recycling, the food scraps system only works when the appropriate material is placed into the cart for processing.

The wrong material in the cart can damage or clog the processing equipment at the biodigester.

If the food scraps delivered to the processor is too contaminated, they may no longer accept the scraps we collect. And that will cause the program to stop.

Where to get more information?
Residents can use the Betterbin web app.

Residents can also sign up for email alerts for information regarding this program.

The Streets Division also has a dedicated Food Scraps website where additional information can be found. The website is