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Climacell packaging from a meal prep delivery box. It is brown paper and used to keep things cold as an alternative to styrofoam.


The paper-style packaging is used in many delivery services, especially meal box style systems, to keep items cold.

Right now, these items belong in the trash.

This is something that might change in time. Be sure to check this page every so often to see if the material can now be recycled.


WHY ARE THEY GARBAGE? it says right there on the package it can be recycled.

In talking with the facility that sorts and sells the recyclables collected by the City of Madison, the paper mills that ultimately process the cardboard after it's been sorted does not want this mixed in with the other cardboard they receive.


how can they say it can be recycled when i can't recycle it?

Recycling isn't the same throughout the country.  Rules and laws vary.  Where the material goes varies, too. And their processing ability and specifications for material they want to process will vary.

This material may very well be recyclable in other communities. But for right now, we can't do it here.

This is a good example about how materials and packaging change faster than the recovery industry can adapt - or faster than our nation's decentralized recycling system can fully adapt to new products.


what can i do to make packaging like this recyclable in Madison?

You can contact the manufacturer of the packaging to let them know that despite what their labeling says, you can't recycle it here - so what are they going to do to fix it.

Consumers reaching out to companies works. 

The image on this page shows one brand of this style of packaging. After this brand was contacted by a Madison resident, the manufacturer reached out to the City of Madison about this not being recycable in our city.  We put them in touch with the facility that sorts the recyclables, so they can try to work out something with the paper mills who ultimately process the materials from our collection carts so these kind of materials can be acceptable.

Your advocacy matters.

The process is slow, and to be clear it the results still may not be fruitful as the end processor may still just say no, but your voice as a consumer is not ignored when you reach out to manufacturers.