Master Recycler

Program overview

Have you ever paused at the recycling bin and wondered if what you’re throwing out is actually recyclable, or what will happen to it after it’s picked up? Then our new Master Recycler program is made for you! We developed this program in partnership with the City of Madison. Learn the ins and outs of our local recycling system and get your recycling questions answered. The program will give you the tools you need to teach your family, neighbors, friends, and coworkers how to improve recycling and community sustainability. Each session has two 90-minute classes to become a Master Recycler.

Master Recyclers are trained on waste prevention and recycling through a course, featuring two 90 minute classes on:

  • The 7 Rs of waste
  • Recycling system
  • Common recycling mistakes
  • Special case recycling

After the two courses, participants commit to an outreach project in the community to teach others what they’ve learned. When the project is complete, participants are certified master recyclers.

You will find some of the resources shared during the course below, including links to local recycling guidelines, presentations, and local recycling programs for special case recycling.

For Program participants

Reach out to course facilitator Lorenza with any questions, for copies of the presentations, for presentation recordings, and to submit your outreach projects. 


Local Programs for Special Case Recycling

Dane County Clean Sweep

accepts hazardous chemicals and electronics from Dane County residents.

Dane County Demolition & Construction

accepts construction and demolition materials.

Safe Communities MedDrop Program

safely disposes of prescriptions and over-the-counter medications.

Food Waste Resources

Dane County Food Pantry Network list

can help you find a food pantry near you to donate unused food.

UW Extension Master Composter

course information and resources to help you learn how to turn your food scraps into compost.

Save the Food

has tools and tips for wasting less food including a digital meal prep tool to help you create your shopping list and plan your meals.

Reuse Communities

The Buy Nothing Project

encourages communities and neighborhoods to make groups for exchanging things with neighbors for free. Search “Buy Nothing Project” on Facebook to find a local group to join.

The Zero Waste Madison Facebook group

is a great place to exchange tips, ask questions about reducing waste, and exchange goods with your neighbors.