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Frequently Asked Questions

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  Do my recyclables go to the landfill?

No. All recyclable materials accepted in the program are sent to recycling markets. Non-accepted items placed in curbside bins are sorted out and sent to a landfill. Help us maintain our recycling program by only putting accepted materials into your cart.

When collection crews encounter a recycling cart with too much contamination (garbage or non-recyclables), they leave behind an orange tag. If it is not resorted by the residence, a fine is issued and a garbage truck is sent to collect the items instead.

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  Do my leaves and yard waste go to the landfill?

No. All leaves collected by the City of Milwaukee and all yard waste brought to Drop Off Centers are composted. 

A third-party produces finished compost, markets it in bulk to other companies that bag it under various brand names, and those companies sell the bagged compost in retail stores. Milwaukee yard waste comes full circle to replenish yards and gardens of residents who purchase compost from local stores.

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  An item is too large to fit in my cart

For garbage items that are too large to fit in your cart, learn how to handle bulky items.

Cardboard should be flattened and can be placed under your cart or leaned up against it.

Large items for garbage or recycling can also be taken to a Drop Off Center.

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  I have too many recyclables to fit in my cart

We recommend breaking down and flattening boxes for recycling. These can be leaned against the cart or placed underneath it. This should help free up space in the cart for other loose recyclables. Extra recyclables can also be taken to a Drop Off Center.

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  Recycling isn't available at my apartment. What can I do?

Recycling is required by state law and City ordinance. Single family homes, duplexes, apartments with 4 or fewer units, and some condos are serviced by the City of Milwaukee. If you are in an apartment with 5 or more units, your landlord is required by law to provide recycling. If your landlord refuses to provide recycling or you need resources, you can file a complaint with the City by calling 414 286-CITY (2489).

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  Recycling isn't available at my office. What can I do?

All commercial properties are required by state law and City ordinance to recycle. Complaints about non-recycling at a business in the City of Milwaukee can be reported to 414 286-CITY (2489). If the business is not located within the City of Milwaukee, contact these DNR staff to help you find the appropriate Responsible Unit.

Responsible Unit = unit of government that is responsible for upholding recycling compliance in your area.

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