Milwaukee recyclingMilwaukee’s (pop. 598,116) recycling goal is as simple as its Public Works motto: “Let’s Make Milwaukee Clean and Green.” And residents are catching on, too, with Milwaukee’s single-sort curbside recycling program. Currently, single-family residents and small apartment buildings (up to four units) are eligible for curbside pick-up. The city uses 95-gallon carts and 18-gallon bins for its curbside program, with about 85% of the city utilizing the carts.

Materials recycled

Paper Including cardboard, paperboard, paper cartons, shredded paper (in a tied-off clear plastic bag or stapled paper bag), mixed paper, junk mail, newspapers, magazines, catalogs and phone books. Plastics Including plastics numbered 1, 2, 4 and 5 (rinsed). This includes “bulky” #2 plastics such as 5-gallon buckets. Metals Including aluminum cans, containers, foil and pans; metal pots and pans; steel cans and empty aerosol cans. Glass Glass bottles and containers accepted (rinsed; labels OK).


Curbside pick-up varies by season in Milwaukee. Regular pick-up occurs from April to November, and then, during the winter months, pick-up is less frequent due to weather conditions. Residents with 95-gallon carts are scheduled every three weeks from April to November. Residents with an 18-gallon bin are scheduled weekly. A collection schedule is available online.

Other programs

Two Milwaukee “Self-Help Centers” (6660 N. Industrial Rd. and 3879 W. Lincoln Ave.) offer city residents the ability to drop off a great number of recyclables, including motor oil and oil filters, used cooking oil, antifreeze, automotive batteries, asphalt roofing shingles, electronics, appliances, scrap metal, tires (up to five at a time), corrugated cardboard, used athletic shoes and concrete. In addition, all curbside recyclable items, compostables, garbage and furniture may also be dropped off at these locations. A $15 surcharge may be applied to construction and demolition items (shingles, concrete, etc.). The centers are open Tuesday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. during the winter months. Milwaukee hosts a successful shoe-recycling program, diverting more than 77,000 pairs through 2011. Participating drop-off locations can be found here. The E-Cycle Wisconsin program offers comprehensive statewide e-waste guidelines. Residents can drop off electronics at numerous locations throughout Milwaukee and beyond, and know that their old devices will be properly recycled. More information is available here.

More information

Visit the City of Milwaukee Environmental Services website for more recycling program info.