Plastic bags no longer able to be recycled, city asks residents to avoid putting them in recycling bins

A Madison Streets Division recycling bin
Photo by Logan Rude

MADISON, Wis. — Madison is making a major change to how it deals with recyclables: no more plastic bags.

The city’s Streets Division announced Tuesday that area residents should no longer mix plastic bags and film with their recycling. Officials said plastic bags and film have long caused issues for recyclable sorting systems, which prompted the change.

Streets Division officials said the city’s plastic bag and film recycling program was only in operation because bags were bundled and there was a market for Pellitteri Waste Systems to sell the materials gathered from city collections. That is no longer an option, according to a news release.

Instead of recycling, residents are encouraged to return their bags to retailers that offer plastic bag and film recycling programs of their own. Officials said store-run plastic bag recycling programs are often cleaner and more consistent than curbside collection carts.

Residents looking to reduce their plastic bag nd film waste can also use reusable bags, turn down bags when they aren’t needed, or opt for recyclable paper bags.