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Recycling - It's the Law

Wisconsin's recycling law passed in 1990 and bans a variety of materials from landfills. They must be reused, recycled, or composted. Different levels of local government take charge of implementing this law. Sometimes a county or a village takes responsibility. In the City of Milwaukee's case, the City acts as the Responsible Unit. Read the City Ordinance about Recycling in Chapter 79 Subchapter 2. The City provides recycling services to all 1 - 4 family residences and some condominiums. Apartment and condo buildings with 5+ units, businesses, organizations, and other institutions must provide for their own recycling services. 

If you have questions, need resources, or would like to file a complaint about non-recycling in the City of Milwaukee, please call 414 286-CITY (2489). If the facility is not located within the City of Milwaukee, contact these DNR staff to help you find the appropriate Responsible Unit for your area.

Items Banned from Landfill


Air conditioners


Clothes dryers

Clothes washers






Stoves and ovens

Water heaters


Cell phones

Computers - desktop, laptop, netbook, tablet

Computer monitors and mice

Computer keyboards

Computer scanners

Computer speakers

Desktop printers (including those that fax and scan)

DVD players, VCRs, DVRs, and all other video players

External hard drives

Fax machines

Flash drives/ USBs

Other items that plug into a computer



#1 & #2 plastic bottles, jugs, and jars

Aluminum containers

Bi-metal cans and containers

Glass containers

Steel (tin) cans and containers

Paper and Cardboard

Corrugated cardboard

Magazines, catalogs, and other materials on similar paper

Newspaper and newsprint materials

Office paper

Yard Materials

Grass clippings

Debris and brush under 6" in diameter


Automotive Items

Lead-acid vehicle batteries


Used oil filters

Waste oils

Learn more about the state law on the DNR website or view this easy to read PDF of the recycling law.