Recycling Updates

Recycling Updates is your source for up-to-date information on all that is new in recycling. Stay informed about recycling opportunities and resources, including grants, professional development, policy news and more. New updates and opportunities are posted as they become available. Recycling Updates is also an email subscription service, with emails sent about once per month.

Share your updates

We're always looking for interesting or timely information to share with our subscribers. Email Elisabeth Olson if you have an event, webinar or other information you'd like to share.

DNR news releases

Does your community publish a newsletter? Are you looking for free recycling outreach materials? The DNR's Waste and Materials Management Program puts out frequent news releases dealing with recycling in Wisconsin. These releases are free and available for you to use in your newsletter, flyer or other materials. The most recent releases are listed below.


Wisconsin Environmental Education Board grant cycle is open

The Wisconsin Environmental Education Board awards grants for the development, dissemination and implementation of environmental education programs in Wisconsin. The board anticipates awarding $115,000 for general environmental education grants, $95,000 for forestry grants and $95,000 for school forest grants. Proposals submitted for the 2015-2016 grant cycle must be postmarked by Feb. 14, 2015.

For details and contact information, visit [exit DNR].

Policy news

Automotive battery recycling law updated

Starting in 2014, retailers must charge a deposit of $10 on the sale of any automotive type replacement battery and must refund the deposit if the customer returns with a used battery. Customers may be charged a fee of up to $3 for collection if they bring in a used battery without purchasing a new one.

Recycling news

String holiday lights collection promotes reuse

Habitat for Humanity of Wisconsin is promoting reuse and reducing landfill waste by collecting string holiday lights in working and non-working condition at two dozen sites around the state.

See the Habitat for Humanity website for more information [exit DNR]

Glendale business promotes textile recycling

Better Earth Textile Recycling works with municipalities to collect used clothing, shoes, belts, linens and more for reuse and recycling, both locally and worldwide.

Read the full story at WTMJ [exit DNR]

Compost Crusader promotes composting for restaurants and businesses

Milwaukee area LLC Compost Crusader is diverting about 24 tons of food scraps per month with just 13 customers, and looking to expand on its success.

Learn more at [exit DNR]

Kenosha and Racine counties recycling website debuts

Kenosha County UW-Extension has launched its Kenosha and Racine counties Recycle Guide website for residential and commercial sectors. The site provides consumers with tips and news on how to recycle in the two counties, with easy reference local guides to recycling electronics, medical waste, automotive waste, household hazardous waste and more.

See the full website at [exit DNR]

Electronic waste recycler to add 110 jobs

As demand grows for reuse and recycling of computers, TVs and other electronic items, Dynamic Recycling is adding 110 jobs and relocating to a larger space in Onalaska.

Read the full story at [exit DNR]

Menomonee Falls press uses 100 percent recycled content paper

While most “recycled” paper is only partially made from recycled materials, the Milwaukee area’s Arandell Corp. is printing on 100 percent recycled stock, making use of new de-inking and repulping technologies.

Read the full story from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel [exit DNR]

Community spotlight

Recycling Updates Community Spotlight

The Community Spotlight recognizes innovative and exciting recycling and waste reduction efforts by local and tribal governments, businesses and other groups in Wisconsin.

Spotlight on: Janesville’s automated collection launch

Janesville city logo: Wisconsin's Park Place
Janesville adopted a single-stream, automated collection program in April, 2013.

In April 2013, the city of Janesville revolutionized its trash and recycling collection program, swapping a dual-stream recycling and manual collection system for single-stream, automated collection. Not only were the benefits immediate, they also continue to surpass expectations with each new month.

To launch the new system, the city purchased automated collection vehicles and 95-gallon wheeled carts for city residents and participating businesses. Residents received one new bin for trash and one for recyclables, with additional recycling bins available at no cost. With these few steps, in the following year Janesville dramatically increased its collection tonnage and decreased work-related injuries. The city has improved collection efficiencies and customer satisfaction and reduced its total trash and recycling collection cost.

Curbside trash and recycling bins, with an arrow illustrating they are three feet apart
A key part of Janesville’s success was education and outreach work done to promote the new system, including pamphlet mailings and a “Recyclopedia” with easy-to-understand images like this one.

Before launching the program, city staff estimated a 20 to 25 percent increase in the tons of recyclables collected. The actual tons of recyclable material collected in the first year increased by 44 percent. During the same time frame, gross operating costs for collection of recyclables decreased by more than 16 percent and lost-time injuries and worker’s compensation claims related to collection dropped by more than 90 percent.

City Manager Mark Freitag explained, in an August 2014 letter to the DNR, “The City of Janesville remains committed to maximizing recycling efforts throughout the community in order to protect our environment, conserve energy, and promote an overall reduction in waste. Our conversion to an automated collection system has been a great step towards achieving these City priorities.”

City Operations Director John Whitcomb adds, “Auto collections […] will help conserve landfill space and obtain more revenue from selling the recyclable materials.”

For its work, the city of Janesville was recognized with a 2014 DNR Excellence in Wisconsin Recycling award in the Projects and Initiatives category.


Interactive video lets viewers explore the recycling process

Recyclebank’s interactive video, “The Cycle,” explains what happens to recyclable items after they are collected. The interactive format and animation let viewers explore the recycling process at their own pace.

Wisconsin recycling law publication updated

The DNR’s Wisconsin Waste Reduction and Recycling Law publication has been updated and is now available for print order and online. The publication provides an overview of Wisconsin’s statewide recycling program, with references to statute and administrative rules.

Health care recycling and waste reduction guide now available

Recycling and Waste Reduction: A Guide for Wisconsin Healthcare is now available in printed and electronic formats. This guide will help health care facilities meet Wisconsin’s legal recycling requirements and reap the benefits of waste reduction, reuse and recycling.

Tool lets communities make custom recycling brochures in minutes

The UW-Extension’s Solid and Hazardous Waste Education Center’s newly updated recycling brochure creation tool produces a tri-fold promotional brochure that communities can customize with local information about their own recycling collection programs. Users can save the custom brochure files to their own computers or email them to a printer for high quality printing.

EPA Region 5 fact sheets posted

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has posted fact sheets on solid waste funding mechanisms and other state recycling programs in Region 5, which includes Wisconsin. This information is useful for comparing recycling in Wisconsin and neighboring states.

Recycling Task Force compiles commercial sector recycling reference

The Association of State and Territorial Solid Waste Management Officials Municipal Solid Waste Recycling Task Force has collected resources for recycling in various commercial environments, including health care facilities, airports, farms, schools, universities and more.


Upcoming recycling webinars, workshops and conferences

Event: Plastic Film and Bag Recycling Webinar: It’s a WRAP, in Re-TRAC Connect!
Date & time: Dec. 4, 12 to 1:30 p.m.
Location: Online
Sponsors: Wrap Recycling Action Program
Registration: Register online [exit DNR]

Last revised: Monday November 17 2014