Clean Wisconsin: Governor proposes to end Wisconsin recycling law

Contact: Amber Meyer Smith, Director of Government Relations, 608-347-6026

Proposed budget would threaten access to local recycling programs

MADISON – The proposed budget released by Gov. Scott Walker this evening threatens Wisconsin residents’ access to local recycling programs under the Wisconsin Recycling Law, a successful provision that helps keep almost 2 million tons of solid waste out of our landfills each year.

“To date, Wisconsin has been recognized as a leader in recycling and a whole generation of children has grown up with a strong recycling ethic,” said Amber Meyer Smith, director of government relations at Clean Wisconsin. “Recycling is good for our environment and our economy, and this proposal represents a significant step backward for Wisconsin.”

Passed in 1990, the Wisconsin Recycling Law requires residents and businesses to recycle certain banned materials and ensures that they have access to a locally run recycling program.

The budget proposed by Gov. Walker this evening would eliminate requirements for municipalities and counties to operate recycling programs; it also eliminates financial assistance for local governments for recycling programs. Repealing Wisconsin’s Recycling Law would allow dangerous waste such as lead acid batteries, tires, and waste oil to sit in landfills, potentially endangering the health of Wisconsinites.

“If approved, this measure could significantly limit Wisconsin residents’ access to a locally run recycling programs,” said Smith. “Recycling is a win-win. To limit access to recycling programs is unthinkable.”

Recycling paper products creates 73 percent less air pollution than using virgin materials, and recycling glass reduces mining waste by 80 percent according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. The recycling industry also provides thousands of family-supporting jobs throughout the state; eliminating the recycling law runs counter to Gov. Walker’s job-creation campaign platform.

“Recycling is a no-brainer. It reduces waste, cuts pollution and creates jobs throughout Wisconsin,” said Smith. “We hope our legislators will act quickly to ensure Wisconsin residents retain access to vital local recycling programs.”

For more on recycling in Wisconsin, visit


Clean Wisconsin, an environmental advocacy organization, protects Wisconsin’s clean water and air and advocates for clean energy by being an effective voice in the state legislature and by holding elected officials and polluters accountable. Founded in 1970 as Wisconsin’s Environmental Decade, Clean Wisconsin exposes corporate polluters, makes sure existing environmental laws are enforced, and educates citizens and businesses. On behalf of its 10,000 members and its coalition partners, Clean Wisconsin protects the special places that make Wisconsin such a wonderful place to live, work and play. Phone: 608-251-7020, Fax: 608-251-1655, Email: [email protected], Website: