City of

The City of Madison now requires residents to recycle certain clean and dry bags. These bags must be recycled. You can recycle the bags in your green recycling cart by following the instructions below. You can also recycle your bags at one of the retailers on our list.

Note: You can still use plastic bags for trash. If you are using plastic grocery bags for your trash you can continue to do that.

It is important that all bags must be:

  1. Empty
  2. Clean
  3. Dry
What Plastic Bags Do I Recycle?
The City of Madison program accepts the following types of plastic bags for recycling:

  • Grocery and retail bags
  • Newspaper delivery bags
  • Clean & dry bags labeled #2 and #4
  • Some plastic film wrapping from plastic water and beverage bottle casing
  • Some large pillow packing bubbles (pop the pillows before bundling)


how to tell if your plastic film/bags are recyclable

Trust your fingers.

If the plastic film is soft and stretchy like a retail or grocery store bag, it can be bundled into the "bag of bags" as directed below.

If the film is sticky, clingy, crinkly or, rips easily then it should go into the trash.

There is so much plastic film in our lives. And a lot of it is hard to tell if it can be recycled or not. After you feel the bags and you still aren't sure if it can be recycled, place it into the trash.

Do NOT Recycle
  • Online shopping shipment bags (often a thick white or gray bag)
  • Food wrap
  • Softener salt bags
  • Wrapping from meat products
  • Dark green or black trash bags
  • Compostable bioplastic film
  • Bubble wrap
  • Drawstring bags

Bundle your bags before recycling.

Do not put loose plastic film or bags into the recycling cart. Loose plastic bags will get tangled in the sorting equipment at the recycling center.

Place plastic bags inside another plastic bag. Tie the bag of bags shut. The bags must be about the size of a basketball. Put the bundle into your green recycling cart. 

The bundle will look something like this:

This is a grocery store bag filled with other plastic bags that is about the size of a basketball and tied closed.


It's best to use a plastic grocery/retail bag for your bags.

Donate plastic grocery bags to food pantries

  • Centro Hispano: 810 W. Badger Rd. (608) 255-8471
  • St. Vincent DePaul: 1309 Culmen St. (608) 257-0919
  • Goodman-Atwood Community Center: 149 Waubesa St (608) 241-1574

City of Madison Self Help Drop-Off Centers

  • East: 4602 Sycamore Avenue
  • West/South: 1501 W. Badger Road

Other Plastic Bag Recycling Sites

Using a plastic bag drop-off sites ensures the bags will not become tangled in the sorting machinery at the recycling facility.

  • Capital Center Foods: 111 N. Broom Street
  • Festival Foods: 810 E. Washington Ave
  • Pick 'n Save: 3010 Cahill Main
  • Pick 'n Save: 620 S. Whitney Way
  • Pick 'n Save:1312 S. Park Street
  • Pick 'n Save: 2502 Shopko Drive
  • Pick 'n Save: 6540 Monona Drive
  • Pick 'n Save:3650 University Avenue
  • Pick 'n Save: 261 Junction Road
  • Pick 'n Save: 6655 McKee Road
  • HyVee: 3801 E. Washington Avenue
  • HyVee: 675 S. Whitney Way
  • Kohl's Department Store: 2602 East Springs Drive
  • Kohl's Department Store: 7401 West Towne Way
  • Metcalfe's Market (Sentry): 726 N. Midvale Blvd
  • Trader Joe's: 1810 Monroe Street
  • Wal Mart: 7202 Watts Road
  • Wal Mart: 4198 Nakoosa Trail
  • Woodman's: 3817 Milwaukee Street
  • Woodman's: 711 S. Gammon Road