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Do not place plastic bags or film into your recycling cart.

Return plastic bags and appropriate film to a retailer. Below are a list of retailers that accept bags for recycling.

Why won't the City just ban plastic bags like other places?

What Plastic Bags can I Recycle at retailers?

As there may be variability with the stores depending on the processors on the back-end of the recycling system, you may want to check with your preferred retailer.

In general, bags and film must be

  1. Empty
  2. Clean
  3. Dry

Commonly accepted items at these locations are:

  • 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)


Plastic Bag Recycling Options

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 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


Metro Market 6540 Monona Drive 608-222-9575
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
Target 4301 Lien Rd 608-244-4527
Target 750 Hilldale Way 608-807-3978
Target 201 Junction Rd 608-827-8800

If you find a store that now accepts plastic bags and film for recycling that's within the City of Madison that's not listed above, let us know.

If you do not see the store you like shopping at on this list, speak with that store's management about adding this service.

(list updated 6/8/2021)

plastic film and bags not usually recyclable
  • Online shopping shipment bags (often a thick white or gray bag)
  • Mulch bags
  • Pet food bags
  • Kitty litter bags
  • Food wrap
  • Softener salt bags
  • Wrapping from meat products
  • Plastic shrink wrap around electronics
  • Thick plastic film from furniture deliveries
  • Dark green or black trash bags
  • Compostable bioplastic film
  • Bubble wrap
  • Drawstring bags


Donate plastic grocery bags

Food pantries and thrift stores may accept plastic bag donations for their operations.

Check with the organization you wish to support before taking bags to them for donation.


why won't the city ban plastic bags?

Current state law prohibits municipalities from banning plastic bags.


what do I do with plastic film waste now that i can't recycle it in my cart?

Avoid creating this waste whenever possible.

Choose other options, such as reusable bags, which can be anything from canvas totes to reusable mesh produce bags to other reusable, durable containers.

You can also choose paper bags for their ease of recycling. 

If you have plastic bags, look for ways to extend their useful life so they are not single-use, such as drying and reusing freezer or sandwich bags.