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.

Other options may exist locally, including branches of chain stores in the surrounding cities (Sun Prairie, Fitchburg, etc.).

The ongoing pandemic may have changed some operations as well.

Store Address Phone Number
Capital Center Foods 111 N. Broom Street 608-255-2616
Festival Foods 801 E. Washington Ave 608-511-3887
Pick `n Save 3010 Cahill Main 608-271-2024
Pick `n Save 1312 S. Park Street 608-257-3748
Pick `n Save 2502 Shopko Drive 608-243-1000
Pick `n Save 6540 Monona Drive 608-22-9575
Pick `n Save 3650 University Ave 608-231-6935
Pick `n Save 261 Junction Rd 608-829-2020
Pick `n Save 6655 McKee Rd 608-410-7050
HyVee 3801 E. Washington Ave 608-244-4696
HyVee 675 S. Whitney Way 608-277-6735
Kohl's 2602 East Springs Drive 608-246-3022
Kohl's 7401 West Towne Way 608-833-9293
Metcalfe's 726 N. Midvale Blvd 608-238-7612
Metcalfe's 7455 Mineral Point Rd 608-829-3500
Trader Joe's 1810 Monroe Street 608-257-1916
Walmart 7202 Watts Rd 608-276-9393
Walmart 4198 Nakoosa Trail 608-241-8808
Woodman's 3817 Milwaukee Street 608-244-6630
Woodman's 711 S. Gammon Rd 608-274-8944
Target 4301 Lien Rd 608-244-4527
Target 750 Hilldale Way 608-807-3978
Target 201 Junction Rd 608-827-8800