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Ideas for Reusing or Recycling Other Items



The City of Milwaukee's Self-Help Centers accept a variety of items for recycling that are not accepted in the curbside program. If you have something not accepted at one of these centers, browse this page for ideas on how to reuse or recycle it. The below list is not all inclusive and companies or organizations listed are for informational purposes only. Listing does not confer an endorsement or recommendation of any company or organization from the City of Milwaukee. To be included on this list, call: (414) 286-2349.

Batteries, rechargeable

Find a battery recycler near you


See the Yellow Pages under "Book Dealers - Used"

Cell phones

Check with your carrier or at any cell phone retail store to find a recycling service near you.

Clothing and Home Furnishings

Check with your local Goodwill, Salvation Army, or St. Vincent DePaul stores for donation guidelines. You can also drop off used clothing, shoes, and linens in any one of the green and white US’Again textile recycling bins that are located throughout Milwaukee.


Many consumer electronics are banned from landfills under Wisconsin’s electronics recycling law which passed in 2009.  City of Milwaukee residents may recycle these electronics at no charge at either of the City’s Self-Help Centers: 6660 N. Industrial Rd, or 3879 W Lincoln Ave.

There are also many other convenient electronics drop-off locations that have been established under the E-Cycle Wisconsin program.  Visit the Wisconsin DNR’s E-Cycle webpage to search for a drop-off site nearest you.

For more information on the ban and the state wide E-Cycle Wisconsin program for recycling electronics, visit DPW’s electronics webpage.

Other Recycling Options

For a list of collection sites by county, visit DNR's website.


Many local organizations also accept electronic equipment as donations. Examples are:

IndependenceFirst accepts computers which will be refurbished and made available to people with disabilities who could otherwise not obtain one. For guidelines and more information, call (414) 226-8141.

New Horizons Un-Limited, Inc. - Computer equipment is refurbished and made available to people with disabilities. Visit or call (414) 299-0124 for accepted components and requirements.

Fats, Cooking Oil, Grease
  • Residents may drop off used cooking oil at City of Milwaukee Self-Help Centers. Used oils will be refined into biodiesel fuel by a local company and supplied back to the community as an alternative fuel source. The City of Milwaukee has greened its fleet of diesel engine vehicles by using some of this fuel. 
  • Acceptable used oils include: Canola, Soybean, Palm, Sunflower, Corn, Olive and other vegetable oils. 
  • If possible, transport oil in original container or find an airtight, spill-proof alternative.
  • Do not transport used cooking oil when it is hot. 
  • Large quantity generators (over 50 gallons) can call Cream City Grecycing at (414) 688-7672 for special arrangements.
Food, Non-perishables

Food donations can be made to local charities, food banks, and homeless shelters such as the Hunger Taskforce and Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin. Additional organizations can be found by searching the yellow pages under "Food Bank" or a similar term.

Food Packaging - Send in cookie wrappers, drink pouches, yogurt containers, and more to be recycled into new products.

Food scraps

Don't waste a valuable resource, compost your food scraps! To learn more, You can also use your in-sink disposal system to grind up food waste and send it down the drain to be recycled into energy and fertilizer! for more information.

  • Almost Anything Resale Shop

 7621 W Beloit Rd, West Allis WI 53219, (414) 321-0226

9116 W Oklahoma Ave, West Allis WI 53227, (414) 755-4881

NOT ACCEPTED: encyclopedias, tires, mattresses. 

  • Craigslist - Free to post an advertisement, sell a variety of items.
  • Freecycle - Free to join!
  • The Guest House: (414) 345-3240, 1216 North 13th Street, Milwaukee, WI 53205. Accepts a wide variety of household and food items.  To view the full list, visit Guesthouse of Milwaukee.
  • Purple Heart Pickup Service: (414) 281-4281, 5380 S 13th St, Milwaukee, WI 53221.  Accepts clothing, shoes, toys, games, and other household items such as decorations, dishes, pots, pans, sheets, clothes, and furniture (as long as there are no repairs needed).  Call to schedule a pickup.  NOT ACCEPTED: appliances, waterbeds, metal desks or home improvement items.
  • 1-800-GOT-JUNK: Have almost anything removed, from old furniture and appliances to garden waste and renovation debris.  Loading and cleanup is provided.  Fees apply.  Call or visit 1800gotjunk.
  • Goodwill – Accepts useable clothing, and household goods. Visit Goodwill to locate a store and donation center near you.
  • Salvation Army – Accepts a wide variety of items, from household goods and non-perishable food items to vehicles. Visit Salvation Army to find a store and donation center near you.
  • St. Vincent de Paul – To donate useable clothing, household items, furniture and appliances, call (414) 462-7863; non-perishable food items: (414) 462-7837; school supply items (every August): (414) 462-7837.  You can also visit St. Vincent de Paul for donation instructions.
  • Hope House – To find out what items this organization could use the most, visit Hope House.
Home Building & Renovation Materials
  • Community Warehouse - (414) 383-7792, 521 S 9th St., Milwaukee WI, 53204.  Accepts building and home improvement materials such as doors, windows, paint, sinks, bathtubs, flooring and cabinets.  Donations are tax deductible.
  • Habitat for Humanity ReStore - (414) 257-9078, 3015 N. 114th St. Wauwatosa, WI 53222 and 420 South 1st Street, Milwaukee, WI  53204.  Accepts good, reusable, or new appliances and building/home renovation materials.  Visit milwaukeerestore for a list of accepted items, and call ahead to make sure someone can assist with your donation.
  • IM Salvage Company - (414) 645-8733, 737 W Cleveland Av, Milwaukee, WI 53207. Accepts building materials such as doors, windows, sinks, hardware, etc.  No tax receipts are given for donations.
Inkjet Cartridges

Check with your local office supply and inkjet cartridge stores, or search at earth911.

Light bulbs, fluorescent

Fluorescent bulbs, including compact fluorescent bulbs, contain mercury. Mercury is toxic and can permanently damage the brain and nervous system and lead to very serious health consequences. It’s important to properly dispose of these bulbs when they no longer work.

The good news is, there are many options for proper disposal. Many hardware stores and other retailers collect used compact fluorescents for safe disposal. Visit Focus on Energy to find a recycler near you. Residential fluorescent tubes can be recycled through household hazardous waste (HHW) collection programs. For information on Milwaukee’s HHW drop-off locations, visit the hazardous waste disposal page at

Tubes from businesses must be recycled under Wisconsin law. WasteCap Wisconsin provides information for recycling fluorescent tubes from businesses. Visit to browse fluorescent tube recycling markets.

More information about CFLs, including instructions for proper cleanup of broken CFLs can be found at


The Exclusive Co. (414) 271-8590 - A local option for selling your used CDs and DVDs

CD Recycling Center - CDs, DVDs, including packaging

Second Spin - Sell your old CDs, DVDs, and games

Music-Go-Round - Pays on the spot for good condition musical instruments and equipment in great working condition. Brand-new accessory items are sold at discounted prices. Call (414) 281-2777.


Help protect Lake Michigan. Never flush or pour medicine down the drain.  Wastewater treatment plants are not designed to remove it.  If you can store it safely, save your old meds and bring them to a medicine collection day.  Check for the latest information on permanent collection locations and upcoming collection events.  Otherwise, dispose in trash.

Organic Kitchen and Garden Waste
Packing Peanuts

Many "pack and ship" businesses accept packing peanuts from the public for reuse. Check the Yellow Pages under "Packaging Service" or search Earth 911 and look for "Packing Peanut Reuse."

Paper - Shredded and Shredding Services

Paper you shred at home may either be placed in paper bags with the tops rolled and stapled or tied in clear plastic bags and placed into the recycling cart. For quantities too large to shred at home, see the Yellow pages under "Paper Shredding Service" or "Office Records Destruction" for companies that provide confidential shredding and recycling.

Plastic Bottle Caps
AVEDA partners with schools to recycle bottle caps. Some AVEDA locations accept caps from individuals, too. Call your nearest AVEDA store and to learn more!
Plastic Grocery Bags and Wraps

The City of Milwaukee does not accept plastic bags through its curbside program.  The sorting equipment used to process plastic bottles, jars and containers is not suited for the lightweight bags, which tangle in the machinery.  There are many convenient locations in the Milwaukee area where you can drop off your plastic bags and wraps to be recycled.  Accepted materials include plastic grocery bags, packing pillows (deflated), produce bags, bread bags, plastic wrap used to package toilet paper or paper towel, dry cleaning bags, and more!  These materials are made into new packaging or durable home building products such as composite decking.  Visit to learn more and to find a collection site near you!

School Supplies

Many local organizations accept donations of school supplies for area children includingHouse of Peace - Milwaukee and the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Milwaukee For more ideas, go online and search for "school supply donations, Milwaukee".

Scrap Metal

Accepted at both City Self-Help Centers, or see "Scrap Metal" in the Yellow Pages for private metal recycling yards.

Sharp Items

Needles, syringes, and lancets

Sports Equipment

Play It Again Sports - buys, sells, and trades used but good-condition sports gear

Sportsgift - Provides sports equipment to underprivileged children around the world. Equipment may be mailed to:

Sports Gift
32565 B Golden Lantern Street, #190
Dana Point, California 92629

Send in your used skis to be recycled into Adirondack-style beach chairs.
4 Abbott Place
Millbury MA 01527

The Boys and Girls Club – Accepts bicycles, among a long list of other items. For more information call (414) 447-5333.

The Milwaukee Bicycle Collective – Donate your old bicycle. For more information call (414)-431-0825.

Milwaukee Recreation: Accepts used baseballs, basketballs and other sporting equipment in good condition. Call (414) 475-8180 for more information.

Tyvek Envelopes

Mail in envelopes to be recycled (for large quantities of 200-500, call 866.338.9835 for a free pouch).

Tyvek Recycle
Attn: Shirley B. Wright
8401 Fort Darling Road
Richmond, VA 23237

Life Nets - Matches unwanted wheelchairs with those in need of one.

Wine Corks

Recycling your wine corks into a variety of new products. Visit Earth911 and search for "wine corks" for recycling programs.


2013 DPW Annual Residential Recycling Report

Did you know:  From 2009 to 2013, recycling pounds per Milwaukee household increased by 19.6%, continuing a string of annual increases in tons of recyclables recovered!

Also in 2013, the City of Milwaukee and Waukesha County signed an intergovernmental agreement to seek proposals for a Regional Recycling System for the Processing and Marketing of Single Stream Recyclables.  The process resulted in signing a second intergovernmental agreement as well as a contract with a company called ReCommunity to jointly process Single-Sort recyclables for the City and County utilizing new, state of the art recycling equipment in the City’s existing building in the Menomonee Valley.  The facility is expected to be operational by spring of 2015.

 Read about these highlights and much more in the 2013 DPW Annual Residential Recycling Report.


Operations Division
Room 501
Zeidler Municipal Building
841 N. Broadway
Milwaukee, WI 53202

Preston Cole
Director of Operations