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Acceptable Items for your Recycling Bin

Rusk County participates in Single-Sort Recycling.  This means that all of our acceptable recyclable items can be placed in one container or bin.   We hope that this will be easier for you and will increase your recycling efforts.  Please remember to rinse out your bottles and containers.  The City of Ladysmith remains on dual sort recycling and will pick up paper and cardboard one week and the food metal, aluminum, plastic and glass the following week.

Acceptable Items

The Rusk County Recycling Program accepts the following items for recycling:

  • Any “paper” item MUST be at least 4″ in at least 1 dimension
  • Corrugated Cardboard (flattened)
  • Paperboard (cereal, cake, pop/beer cases, nothing food tainted)
  • Brown paper bags
  • Shredded paper in closed paper bags
  • Magazines, Catalogs  & Newspapers
  • Office Paper, Envelopes and Junk Mail
  • Phone books (don’t need to remove cover)
  • Paperback books, Empty Paper Towel & Toilet Paper Rolls
  • Milk, Juice, Broth & Soup  Cartons (rinse & EMPTY)
  • Phone & Paperback books (don’t need to remove cover)
  • Aluminum Cans, Aluminum Foil (crush into ball) and Pie Tins (clean)
  • Glass Bottles and Jars (recycle larger metal lids separately, discard smaller lids)
  • Plastic Bottles and Jars any number 1-5 (No #6 or #7)
  • Plastic Containers, Tubs any number 1-5 (No # or #7)
  • Plastic lids from containers and tubs (discard plastic bottle and jar lids)
  • Steel Food Metal Cans and holiday tins (popcorn, candy, spices)

Click here for a more in-depth list Acceptable Items (PDF)


  • Rinse food from all containers, bottles, jars.
  • Discard lids or recycle separately
  • You no longer need to remove labels.
  • Break down large items to maximize space (no greater than 3’ x 3’).

Not-Acceptable Items

  • Plastic Bags, Plastic Wrap or film
  • Ceramic, Porcelain, or Crystal Glass
  • Food Waste & Food-tainted paper
  • Styrofoam Cups & Containers & Peanuts
  • Napkins, Tissues, Paper Towels
  • Hazardous waste containers (motor oil)
  • Bio-hazardous waste including needles & syringes
  • Scrap metal & electronics
  • Aerosols and Non-aerosols

Other recyclable items – not for your bin

Plastic Bags, Plastic Wrap or Film

Plastic bags can be dropped off at Ladysmith Fresh Market and Walmart for recycling.  There is a new pilot WRAP (Wrap Recycling Action Program) program  in Wisconsin that also collects clean and dry film packaging.  The Walmart Supercenter is participating in this program.  Please see flyer for more details and remember, if in doubt, throw it out as plastic film must be clean and dry and the right type in order for it to be recycled.

Plastic Film Recycling Flyer

Where does our recycling go?

Our recycling gets taken to Recycle America in Minnesota. Recycle America uses a variety of sorting devices including screens, magnets and ultraviolet optical scanners that trigger blasts of air to separate plastic bottles from the rest of the items; as well as spinning, star-shaped plastic devices that separate newspaper from cans and bottles by pushing the paper higher up an inclined screen so the heavier, smaller cans and bottles tumble down to a lower level. Glass is sorted by color and crushed, while plastic is shredded into small chips. Watch a video of the Germantown, WI Materials Recovery Facility that is very similar to the facility at Recycle America.