The Department of Natural Resources says residential recycling in Wisconsin has fallen since a peak of 149 pounds per person in 1997.
For four of the following six years, recycling fell to below 141 pounds per person before increasing to 148 last year.
Peter Anderson is president of RecycleWorlds Consulting of Madison. He says cutbacks and laxity are to blame.
He says citizen environmental groups got complacent and moved onto other issues as city managers cut back on recycling services in response to budget pressures.
Wisconsin's recycling program went into effect in phases starting in 1991, and has been fully implemented since 1995.