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The City of Madison Streets Division is happy to announce a new item we can place into our recycling containers.

Madison residents can now recycle empty and dry paper cups.

This includes takeout coffee cups and paper fast food cups.

How do you recycle paper cups?
It’s very easy.

Your paper cups must be empty and dry before placing them into your recycling container.

Plastic lids and straws should be removed from the cup and placed into the trash.

The cardboard sleeve around takeout coffee cups should be removed, and placed separately into the recycling.

Why can we recycle paper cups now?
Pellitteri Waste Systems, which is the company that accepts, sorts, and processes the recyclables collected by the City of Madison Streets Division, recently added new sorting equipment that can capture paper takeout cups alongside already recyclable cartons.

Pellitteri was able to improve their recovery system thanks in part to a grant they received from the Foodservice Packaging Institute and the Carton Council of North America.

What happens to paper cups after I recycle them?
Paper cups and cartons, and other paper products harvested from the recyclables, are sent to paper mills in Wisconsin and the Midwest to be made into new paper products like tissues and paper board for packaging.

Additional Information about Recycling
You can learn more about what you can and cannot place into your City of Madison recycling cart by visiting


  • Bryan Johnson, 608-267-2626,
  • Streets Division - West Office, 608-266-4681
  • Streets Division - East Office, 608-246-4532