City Cast

Trash Time in Madison's Winter

Abby Becker
Posted on December 7, 2022   |   Updated on August 31
Credit: City of Madison

Credit: City of Madison

As the winter season heads into holiday season and ends up in New Year’s resolution season, make sure you know how to dispose of additional waste from gift giving, cooking holiday meals, and cleaning your space.

Holiday tree pick-up

For those who like to keep the holiday decor up into the new year, trees can be put out on the curb on or before Jan. 17. They will likely be collected prior to Jan. 27.

If you miss the Jan. 17 date, your tree may not be picked up until the city begins its regular brush collection in the spring.

Tips to make sure your tree is picked up:

  • Place your tree on the street’s edge.
  • Remove and discard tree bags.
  • Make sure all metal objects, like stands and ornaments, are removed.

You can also bring trees to the city’s drop-off sites. Check the drop-off website for hours and locations.

Can you recycle that?

All recyclables should be put into your green recycling cart. Make sure you empty, flatten, and bundle cardboard.

Boxes that don’t fit inside the cart should be flattened and cut down to a three foot by three foot size and tied in bundles that are six inches in height or less. These can be placed under the cart lid or in a neat pile next to the bin. Or, you can bring excess cardboard to a drop-off site. Check the hours before you go! Winter hours start Dec. 3.

According to the city, plain decorative wrapping paper is recyclable but paper with foil is not. Gift bags should be reused or placed in the trash. Pellitteri Vice President Danielle Pellitteri previously told the Wisconsin State Journal objects that pass the “tear test” can be placed in recycling carts. Holiday tree lights should be brought to the city’s recycling center and not placed in recycling bins.

Some municipalities may have different rules, so be sure to check with your community’s recycling provider if you’re unsure of how to handle certain items.

According to the city, tissue paper and foil wrapping paper should not be recycled.
In Wisconsin, many small electronics can’t be tossed in the trash because they are banned from landfills. Instead, items like TVs, computers, monitors, and laptops can be brought to the Streets Division’s drop-off sites or a private electronics recycler. Most electronics will require a recycling fee.

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