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.

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Recycling Updates wants to hear from you! The DNR is working to make Recycling Updates meet the needs and interests of its readers. Responses to our six-question survey will guide Recycling Updates content in the coming year.

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.


Closed Loop Fund supports curbside recycling

The Walmart Foundation and industry partners have launched a $100 million program to fund standard curbside recycling of glass, plastic, paper, organics, some e-waste and textiles. The fund provides zero interest loans to help local agencies purchase recycling receptacles and build recycling infrastructure.

See more details about the fund [PDF exit DNR].

Can’d Aid and Ball Foundation offer grants for event recycling

The Oskar Blues Brewery’s non-profit Can’d Aid Foundation is giving money to help organizations worldwide with their event recycling. They have partnered with the Ball Foundation and with consultants at ZeroHero to provide grantees with recycling tents that can hold containers for compost, recycling and waste. The grant covers the cost of bins and may even include the on-site help of a ZeroHero consultant.

For more information, or to apply, visit the Oskar Blues Foundation [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.

Cathode ray tube glass disposal guidance now available

A new DNR publication provides guidance on the steps necessary to gain approval for landfill disposal of processed cathode ray tube glass in Wisconsin. It also defines the eligibility of landfilled glass for manufacturer targets under the E-Cycle Wisconsin program.

Recycling news

Announcing Recycling Updates Community Spotlight

Starting in September 2014, Recycling Updates will include a new feature, the Community Spotlight. The feature recognizes innovative and exciting recycling and waste reduction efforts by local and tribal governments, businesses and other groups in Wisconsin. Check every few months for new stories.

Moore stepping down as DNR recycling coordinator

After more than 13 years in the post, Cynthia Moore is stepping down as Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources recycling program coordinator. Moore will be moving to DNR’s Southeast Region as the new waste and materials management regional supervisor.

“It’s been an honor and pleasure to have coordinated DNR’s recycling program,” Moore says. “Over the years we have increased the supply of recycled materials to end users, seen new materials enter the recycling stream and improved the efficiency of administering the recycling program. None of this would have been possible without the partnership of local governments, service providers and other recycling professionals.”

Until a new program coordinator is announced, individuals or RUs with questions about recycling in Wisconsin should contact their local recycling specialist. They may also contact Barb Bickford at 608-267-3548.

Camp Randall is a “zero-waste” stadium

The UW-Madison’s Camp Randall Stadium has replaced all of its trash bins with recycling and compost stations while selling only recyclable and compostable concessions.

Read the full story at the UW-Madison site [exit DNR]

Madison ends food waste recycling program, postpones biogester construction

The city of Madison will discontinue its household organics collection pilot program in September, with plans to roll out a food waste recycling program to the entire city delayed for one to five years.

Read the full story at [exit DNR]

Non-recyclable items jam machinery at recycling centers

The high number of non-recyclable items disrupting sorting and recovery at some collection facilities is inspiring community groups to take action.

Read the full story at Plastics News [exit DNR]

Community spotlight

Recycling Updates Community Spotlight

The Recycling Updates Community Spotlight recognizes innovative and exciting recycling and waste reduction efforts by local and tribal governments, businesses and other groups in Wisconsin. To nominate your community’s story for a future spotlight, contact Elisabeth Olson.

Spotlight on: city of Thorp, 14 in 14

The 14 in 14 recycling logo.
The "14 in 14" campaign is underway in Thorp, Wisconsin.

Thorp, Wisconsin, is showing that small communities can boost their recycling numbers in a big way, not by spending money on new machinery or services but simply by getting people motivated.

Last fall, the city of Thorp’s Sustainability Board determined its recycling numbers had decreased significantly over the past few years. Even though these numbers had rebounded slightly in 2013, the community wanted to do better. In January, Thorp launched the “14 in 14” recycling initiative, challenging the community to increase recycling this year by 14 percent. It’s paid off in a big way! Through August, Thorp has shown a year-to-date increase of 20 percent, in large part due to simply boosting awareness, spreading the word face-to-face and encouraging the community to get involved.

Nine men in a workshop stand with the Thorp recycling gauge.
Community members in Thorp helped construct a city recycling gauge to give residents visual feedback on their progress.

To engage the community, Thorp city workers and volunteers have talked to students at schools, sponsored recycling poster contests, distributed “14 in 14” window clings, visited area businesses to discuss recycling and erected large recycling gauges in the city to give citizens visual feedback on their recycling performance. With the help of its new hauler, Express Disposal, Thorp has also launched a “Recycling Star” program that awards one household each month with Thorp Bucks, “Recycling Ambassador” T-shirts and a picture in the paper.

“14 in 14” still has a few months left to go, but Thorp is already setting an example and enjoying improved collection numbers. City Administrator Randy Reeg says the city is also already looking forward to 2015, with plans to extend the campaign to “waste reduction” at large and set a community-wide goal of sending less waste to the landfill.


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.

Healthcare recycling and waste reduction guide updated

The DNR’s Recycling and Waste Reduction: A Guide for Wisconsin Healthcare publication has been updated and is now available online. Print copies will be available for order in October 2014.

EPA releases Waste Reduction Model, Version 13

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has updated WARM, its online Waste Reduction Model. This model allows decision makers to compare life-cycle greenhouse gas and energy implications for various materials management options or common municipal solid waste materials.

Recycling and waste reduction publications order form updated

Wisconsin residents can use the DNR publications order form to request free hard copies of DNR publications in single or bulk amounts.

2014 Green Masters Program application now open

The Green Masters Program is a free, points-based recognition program that enables Wisconsin businesses of all sizes and from all sectors to claim credit for sustainability initiatives. Developed by the Wisconsin Sustainable Business Council and Wisconsin businesses, in conjunction with the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the Green Masters Program highlights Wisconsin's sustainability leaders. Any business that has taken at least one action in nine key sustainability areas (energy, climate change, water, waste management, transportation, supply chain, community and educational outreach, and workforce and governance) is eligible to apply.

For more information and application materials, visit Solid & Hazardous Waste Education Center news [exit DNR].


Upcoming recycling webinars, workshops and conferences

Event: EPR as a Solution to Illegal Tire Dumping
Date & time: Sept. 30, 1 to 2:30 p.m.
Location: Online
Sponsors: Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection
Registration: Register online [exit DNR]

Last revised: Friday September 26 2014