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Wisconsin's waste reduction and recycling law

The solid waste reduction, recovery and recycling law was enacted to promote the development of waste management structures and encourage reduction, reuse and recycling of Wisconsin’s solid waste. When the law passed in 1990, only about 17 percent of municipal solid waste was recycled. By the end of 2004, 10 years after the recycling requirements were fully implemented, studies showed the percentage had climbed to 32 percent. Today, recycling markets are expanding, creating jobs in Wisconsin and diverting waste from landfills.

The publication below provides an overview of Wisconsin’s statewide recycling program with references to the state statute (Wisconsin Statutes, Ch. 287) and to the related administrative rules found in Wisconsin Administrative Code (chs. NR 542 to 549). For specific situations, the appropriate statutes and administrative rules should be consulted.

Administrative codes related to recycling

The following links are PDFs and exit the DNR website.

  • Chapter 150 - Environmental analysis and review procedures for department actions
  • Chapter 502 - Solid waste storage, transportation, transfer, incineration, air curtain destructors, processing, wood-burning, composting and municipal solid waste combustors
  • Chapter 542 - Recycling grants to responsible units
  • Chapter 544 - Effective recycling programs

State statutes related to recycling