DNR: Wisconsin needs to recycle, compost more

Published: Sep. 8, 2021 at 4:23 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WBAY) - The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is asking people to recycle and compost more after a statewide landfill study found disappointing results -- results the DNR says could have easily been avoided.

Over the last year, the DNR evaluated about 72% of the state’s waste in 14 different landfills and found that if Wisconsinites don’t start making changes now, landfills will have to keep expanding.

It found plastic, paper and food waste make up almost 70% of the landfills across the state.

“It does come in in a frequent basis. Daily, actually -- the same things over and over again,” Alex Nett with Tri-County Recycling and Solid Waste remarked.

It creates problems not only for the machinery but the planet as a whole.

“If everyone’s doing it, it causes maintenance issues here at our facility. It causes shutdown and breaks things,” Nett told us.

Something that continues to discourage landfill workers, as the tools and resources to recycle properly have been in place since the 1990s.

“Seeing that increase of recyclables going to the landfill is particularly frustrating because that’s not something that we need to develop infrastructure for to help.Tthat’s something that we’ve had the infrastructure in place for since 1992,” DNR Solid Waste Coordinator Casey Lamensky said.

The DNR says now more than ever, it needs people to think before throwing things in the trash.

“The more you know, the smarter you throw,” said Nett. “We want people to be educated. And if your recycle bin’s full not just throw in the trash, because these things are recyclable endlessly, and we want to see them that way.”

What’s in your recycling bin really does end up at a recycling plant.

“A lot of people are misinformed that their recycling just ends up in the landfill, so it’s going in the wrong bin and going to the landfill instead of actually coming here and having a chance to get recycled,” said Nett.

“Taking those few extra seconds to think before you throw things in the bin could mean the world.”

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