Wisconsin is Doing a Good Job of Recycling
MADISON, Wis. - Wisconsin's recycling law has been in effect since 1990, and Wisconsinites are getting high marks for participating in curbside recycling programs. George Dreckman, the recycling coordinator for the City of Madison, says they still need to work on a couple of areas, however.
"One thing people don't take enough advantage of is recyling plastic bags. They probably can't do it in their curbside program, but they can take them back to grocery stores or places like Walmart. Those businesses accept plastic bags, and you can get them recycled by taking them back."
A recent survey by the DNR found that 83 percent of Wisconsinites favor or strongly favor Wisconsin's recycling law.
There's still some learning to do about things that should not go into the recycling stream, though, Dreckman says.
"Styrofoam is something that finds its way into recycling containers around the state, and it cannot be recycled in curbside programs. You have to take it to a special place, if you even have access to one."
Since the recycling law went into effect, recycling in Wisconsin has saved the space equivalent of five average landfills. According to the DNR, in the past decade alone, more than 7 million tons of material have been diverted from landfills in Wisconsin.
A figure called "capture rate" is used by recycling professionals to get a handle on how much is actually being recycled. For instance, when talking about plastic bottles, the capture rate is the percentage of plastic bottles in the state, versus the number of plastic bottles recycled, Dreckman explains.
"We're seeing a capture rate well above 70 and 80 percent, and that's very good. Nationally, a lot of capture rates are somewhere down in the 40 and 30 percent range for things like soda bottles."
According to the Associated Recyclers of Wisconsin, waste diversion in the state supports 97,000 jobs.