Changes to Milwaukee’s recycling program coming soon

April 27, 2021  · 

More lidded carts to be distributed, more frequent recycling pick up

  • By Kristen Kirchhaine
  • Published: Thursday, April 22, 2021
  • TMJ 4

MILWAUKEE — Jazzmon Hughes, a long-time Milwaukee resident and avid recycler, has a hit or miss relationship with the city’s recycling program.

“I like it when they pick it up, and they don’t pick it up as often as I would like them to,” Hughes said.

Most of the time, he has more recyclables than space in his cart.

“We just store them in the basement for literally weeks and months at a time because they just pile up,” he added.

Cathy Swanson has the same problem.

“Once they pick up, we load it back up again, so it always feels like we’re behind in a way,” Swanson told us.

For frustrated recyclers, relief is in sight. The city is increasing recycling pick-up frequency starting June 1, 2021.

“We know that there are a lot of people in Milwaukee who love recycling, and they love it for all the right reasons, because it allows us to have a more sustainable community, and so we want to improve our game, we want to take this to the next level,” said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.

The changes will include every other week recycling pick up across the city, spring through fall. The city will also provide over 18,000 lidded recycling carts to people still using small bins. And the change comes at no cost to residents.

“We’re able to do this because we received a $649,000 grant from The Recycling Partnership,” said Mayor Barrett.

“This is really rounding out the universal collection system, making recycling more equitable and accessible to all residents in the city of Milwaukee,” said Jill Martin, Director of Community Programs for The Recyling Partnership.

“Going to a standard, universal every other week recycling collection system will allow residents to have an easy-to-remember collection schedule to allow them to participate and make it much more convenient,” added Martin.

Right now, the city of Milwaukee recycles 50-million pounds of materials every year. With the new bins, and the new pick-up schedule, the city anticipates an additional 10-million pounds will be kept out of landfills.

“From an environmental standpoint it’s great, but from an economic standpoint it’s also great because the more we recycle, the more we can get resources for the recycling and the less we have to pay to actually fill up the landfills,” said Mayor Barrett.

And with more frequent pickups coming soon, residents like Cathy Swanson and Jazzmon Hughes are pretty happy.

“I think it’s really great that they are going to increase the frequency,” said Hughes.

“This is great news, I’m excited,” Swanson said.

If you don’t currently recycle, today is a perfect day to start. Earth Day is a day to focus on ways to improve the health of our environment. Recycling is a key part of keeping our community and our planet healthy. Choosing to put recyclable items in the recycle bin, and not the trash, is a small effort that has a huge impact.

To learn more about the new recycling pick-up schedule, click here.

To see what items can and can’t be recycled, click here.