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Recycling Law and Landfill Bans

Recycling Law

The solid waste reduction, recovery and recycling law was enacted to create new ways to manage solid waste and encourage reduction, reuse and recycling of Wisconsin’s solid waste. The law can be found in Chapter 287 of the Wisconsin State Statutes, and related administrative rules found in Wisconsin Administrative Code, chapters NR 542 to 549.

What does the law say?

  1. Established a hierarchy of preferences for solid waste management options
  2. Instituted a graduated series of landfill ban

Who does it apply to?
Everyone, everywhere, all the time! Wisconsin’s recycling requirements apply to everyone in the state, at all locations. This includes schools, public places, businesses, special events, homes and apartments.

Rusk County Recycling Ordinance Chapter 40 Article II (ARTICLE_II._RECYCLING)
The purpose of this ordinance is to promote recycling, composting, and resource recovery through the administration of an effective recycling program as provided in §287-11, Wis. Stats. and Chapter NR 544, Wis. Adm. Code.

Who it applies to:
All of Rusk County EXCEPT the Villages of Tony and Weyerhaeuser; Towns of Big Falls, Dewey and Grow. It applies to all residences, multi-family, commercial and industrial entities.

How it is enforced:
Education is the enforcement tool used most often. Information is provided including the recycling law; instructions on what, where, and how to recycle; and the benefits of recycling.

Continued non-compliance with the Rusk County Recycling Ordinance will result in a citation not less than $10 or more than $2000.

Rusk County Compliance Plan

Hierarchy of preferences for solid waste management options

  • Reduction of the amount of solid waste generated
  • Reuse of solid waste
  • Recycling of solid waste
  • Composting of solid waste
  • Recovery of energy from solid waste
  • Land disposal of solid waste
  • Burning of solid waste without energy recovery

Materials Currently Banned from Disposal in Wisconsin
The Wisconsin recycling law bans the land filling or incineration of certain recyclable or compostable materials. These bans went into effect in several stages. Note that some local ordinances may require additional materials to be recycled.

Banned in 1991

  • Lead acid batteries
  • Major appliances including air conditioners, clothes washers and dryers, dishwashers, refrigerators, freezers, stoves, ovens, dehumidifiers, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and microwave ovens
  • Waste oils, except when incinerated with energy recovery

Banned in 1993

  • Yard waste, including grass clippings, leaves, yard and garden debris and brush under 6 inches in diameter except for plants that are regulated as “restricted invasive plants”

Banned in 1995

  • Aluminum containers
  • Bi-metal containers (containers made from a combination of steel and aluminum)
  • Corrugated cardboard or other containerboard
  • Glass containers
  • Magazines and other materials printed on similar paper
  • Newspaper and other materials printed on newsprint
  • Office paper
  • Plastic containers
  • Steel containers
  • Waste tires (except when incinerated with energy recovery)

Banned in 2010

  • Electronics including computers, televisions, desktop printers, computer peripherals, DVD players, digital video recorders, VCRs, fax machines and phones with video displays (cell phones). For more information, see E-Cycle Wisconsin covered devices.

Banned in 2011

  • Used oil filters.

Visit the Wisconsin DNR Site to learn more about landfill bans.