Don’t trash your holiday this year – Recycle for good

Single-Sort Recycle holiday wrapping, food containers, pots & pans and more

The average Wisconsin resident generates 1,500 pounds of garbage each year, and the holiday season can be an especially wasteful time. Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, the trash we generate can increase by 25 percent! This year, generate memories, not waste. There are many easy ways to do this, and recycling tops the list. It’s also the perfect way to get into the holiday spirit. As you enjoy festivities with family and friends, your recycling gives back to the environment, the economy, and our community at the same time!

Single-Sort Makes it Easy

With the City of Milwaukee’s new Single-Sort recycling program, holiday recycling is easier than ever. “We are excited about our new program and the additional items that we are now able to accept for recycling,” said Mayor Tom Barrett. “Eggnog cartons (and those from milk, juice and soup); #4 & 5 plastic tubs and lids from products such as sour cream and yogurt; aluminum foil and baking pans; even worn-out metal pots and pans are all now recyclable,” he continued. Rinse them clean and then just toss them in along with the usual papers, bottles and cans. Milwaukee residents are also able to recycle wrapping paper, as long as it’s free of foil, ribbon, or other non-paper items. “After separating from trash, all of these items may be mixed together in your recycling bin or cart. Recycling for a healthier environment and stronger economy is a gift you can give your family and your community” Barrett concluded. For a complete list of accepted materials and more information on Single-Sort recycling, visit

NEW this winter! Look up your next estimated recycling collection date online!

“With the ability to recycle more items and the added convenience of Single-Sort recycling, residents may find themselves knee-deep in recyclables,” said Rick Meyers, DPW Recycling Specialist. “The holidays can be hectic enough, so before you get frustrated wondering when that recycling cart will be emptied next, look up your projected service date on DPW’s website.” Residents may visit day and enter their address to find their next projected collection dates for garbage and recycling. Residents may bag or box any recyclables that don’t fit in their cart and place them next to it. Cardboard boxes should be flattened.

More Tips to Keep Your Holiday Clean and Green

  • Look for gifts with little or no packaging, or packaging that can be easily reused or recycled.
  • Support recycling by purchasing gifts made of recycled material.
  • Give experiences, not things. Examples: concert tickets or gift cards for a lunch out.
  • Wrap presents in old comics, reusable cloth, or your own artwork.
  • Reuse boxes, ribbon, gift bags & wrapping paper.
  • Use washable plates, cups, silverware, tablecloths and napkins instead of disposables.
  • Send food leftovers home with your guests in reusable containers
  • Compost fruit and vegetable scraps or grind them in your sink’s garbage disposal unit.
  • Potted trees are a great waste-free alternative and can be planted in the yard in the spring.
  • After the holidays, give your cut tree new life by taking it to a Self-Help Center. It will then be composted or mulched rather than buried in a landfill. Remove all wires and decoration first.
  • Have lights that no longer work? Search for “holiday lights” at for recycling options. Some companies offer discounts on new energy-efficient LED products in return for recycling old ones.