City of Middleton ends curbside recycling for plastic bags

Plastic Bag

MIDDLETON, Wis. — The City of Middleton’s curbside plastic bag recycling has come to an end.

A news release said residents should no longer add plastic grocery bag bundles, or plastic bags within bags, to their recycling carts. The change went into effect April 19.

The news comes after the City of Madison made a similar decision last month.

Middleton officials said contamination was one of the main reasons behind the program’s end, as plastic bags are typically not clean enough for recycling when dumped into a truck with other recyclables. The City also said China has stopped importing lower grade film, which means only clean and separated plastic bags are marketable.

Plastic bags can still be returned to retailers or taken to the Middleton Recycling Center. The City also recommends reusing bags in bathroom trash cans, bringing reusable bags while shopping and using paper bags, which are still recyclable as long as they are emptied and flattened before being placed in the cart.

Officials said those who put their recyclables in a bag before putting them in their cart should only use clear plastic bags, as items in black bags may not be recycled.