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City of Madison
A residential street with refuse and recycling bins at the curb in front of houses. The bins are sitting on the terrace and on driveways, not in the street.

America Recycles Day Recycling Update

Hello, Madison Recyclers.

Today is America Recycles Day. What better day to give you an update on a variety of recycling in Madison.

Master Recyclers Recap & Return

The Master Recycler course of 2021 exceeded everyone’s expectations. 

Over 500 area residents took the course, and the outreach projects that group completed reached over 44,000 area residents.

That is astounding.

With Sustain Dane’s help, we are bringing it back for 2022.  If you are interested, Sustain Dane has a sign up for the program at the very bottom of their website

They have a more direct link to sign up, but I have to tell you, I really like what they did with their Recycle Better page. It’s worth a look, too.

The Sustainability Campus

You may have seen the news lately regarding the proposed sustainability campus at the Yahara Hills Golf Course. Or, maybe you’ve seen the headlines as a landfill expansion.

Personally, I like to think of it as a sustainability campus first with a landfill chaser. Regardless of the framing, it is an exciting development for our region.

The campus as it is proposed will have the ability to bring more recycling opportunities to our community so we can better use our resources.

The plan for the sustainability campus includes a composting facility that can process food scraps.  

Yes, finally, a facility that can accept and effectively tame the challenges and contamination of post-consumer food scraps. That has been the key missing piece for the past ten plus years in our attempts of getting large scale food scraps recycling off the ground.   

We are a long way from making the campus a reality. But it is definitely a development to keep an eye as it progresses.

Dane County has a website that explains a bit more about the project that you can read more about it.


While we are working on a long-term solution for food scraps recycling at the sustainability campus, we’ve also been working for some other ways to help solve the problem of food waste.

Madison is part of the Great Lakes region of the Natural Resource Defense Council’s Food Matters initiative.

As part of the NRDC work, the City adopted a resolution to reduce food waste to the landfill by 50% by 2030 (the sustainability campus will be a big help for this goal).

We’ve remodeled our food waste website at so the information is about more than just the city’s food scraps recycling program and includes useful links to outside resources on how to prevent food waste.

And there has been an ongoing awareness campaign - perhaps you’ve seen our bus wrap or posters or maybe even our ad in the Isthmus.  If you’d like a poster, water-bottle sticker, or even a magnet regarding food waste so you, too, can help promote food waste prevention at your business or home please contact me so we can figure out how to get you this swag (the posters are 11 x 17, so if you’re interested, you’d have to come into the office to pick them up.)

And there’s even more work to come with the NRDC, so stay tuned.

On top of that – the City of Madison was awarded a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture to kickstart community composting in our region.  We just recently accepted the grant, so there’s plenty of planning meetings to come on how to expand food scrap recycling opportunities in Madison – so once again, stay tuned.


Anything Else Exciting?

Well, it’s always exciting here at the Streets Division. There’s leaf collection that’s wrapping up for the year.  Snow’s going to start any minute now.  Oh, there’s also going to be a new thing we can put into our recycling cart you’ll read about in the news within the next few weeks, so keep your eyes open.

Final Thoughts

Even with this chock-full update there’s even more updates and changes to come. I appreciate all of your time and attention in reading this update.

And I also recommend talking with your friends and neighbors about signing up to receive these updates, or maybe even updates from alders or other city agencies. Believe me, I know the prospect of getting more emails doesn’t sound all that appealing, but getting updates directly from the City is the best way to stay informed with all the goings-on here in Madison.

Thanks again!

Bryan Johnson

Recycling Coordinator

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