Earth Day Challenge is April 22

For over 20 years now, the City of Madison Parks Division has hosted an Earth Day Challenge where they ask for the community’s help to tidy up the city parks

There are still several parks that could use volunteers to help with the clean-up effort.

If you have some time this Saturday,  consider volunteering. I know this is a last-minute promotion of this event, and the weather won’t be the best on Saturday, but if you have the time and ability to pitch in, the Parks Division would certainly appreciate it.

Here’s the link to see which parks that could still use a hand and more details: Earth Day Challenge Parks.  Note that the registration window has passed, but per the website liked above, walk-up help would be accepted.

Food Scraps Recycling Returns!

Food scraps recycling will return to the Eastside Farmers’ Market on Tuesday, April 25, 2023.

The market drop-off will be every Tuesday from 4:00pm to 7:00pm starting April 25 and ending on October 31, 2023. 

The scraps can be dropped off for free at the designated food scraps drop-off tent at the market. 

Only certain food scraps are acceptable at the market drop-off locations, though.  Please be sure you are only bringing the kind of compostable food scraps. 

We can accept raw fruits & vegetables, coffee grounds, egg shells, and the similar kind of material that would be appropriate for a backyard compost bins.

Do not bring meat, dairy, bones, compostable plastic products, paper products, pet waste, and other non-compostable items to the market site.  We cannot take them.

More details about the food scraps program can be found at

And, yes, we will also be returning to the South Madison Farmer’s Market as well – but that market won’t get off the ground until late May.

We found last year that most people found out about our market through word of mouth, so feel free to talk this up to your friends and neighbors.  Last year, we were able to take 5 tons of food scraps to the Neighborhood Food Solutions farm for composting– and I’m pretty excited to see how much we can compost this year.

Yard Waste Collection Continues

Keep in mind that you get 2 spring time yard waste collections.  There is one in April and then another one in May.

I’ve heard from a few residents that were worried the light snow we received recently would delay collections, but it did not.  We are still on schedule.

If you missed your April pickup opportunity, that’s okay.  We’ll be around one more time in May.

You do not want to miss your May pickup opportunity because that will be your last chance for curbside pickup this spring. 

Once your May pickup opportunity passes, Streets crews will not be around again for yard waste collection again until the fall.

Get the dates when you should set out yard waste for pickup at

And what happens if you miss both pickup chances?  There’s always the drop-off sites and your own compost bin.

A Good National-Audience Recycling Article?

Many times national news stories about recycling miss, or under represent, that recycling is regional.  It feels universal, but in reality markets and rules vary by state. This means the rules in other states are not the same as in Wisconsin.  And recycling can vary even down to the city level because some places will have opportunities that are not available elsewhere.  This underappreciated fact leads to a lot of recycling confusion.

With that said, the Washington Post published a recycling article that I feel did a good job and I would like to pass along to all of you. You will need a Washington Post subscription to read it or you can use the Madison Public Library e-resource subscription.

The article relies heavily on information from northern Virginia (it’s the Washington Post after all) but it provides  information about how to recycle right while grounding it quite well in the fact that recycling varies around the country.  And it has a nice graphics and a fun little sorting game at the end, too.

The main takeaway of the article, in my opinion at least, is to follow your up-to-date local recycling rules, which is exactly correct. 

Whatever is printed on the toothpaste tube or top of the pizza box or wherever – the advice you should follow if a thing is recyclable or not is your local guidelines.

With that in mind, you can get your 2023 Recyclopedia today from any Madison Public Library branch, or you can download the PDF from the Streets Division website, or you can have one mailed to you by contacting the Streets Division.

Final Section

Thank you all for your time and attention, as always.  For those of you who enrolled in the Master Recycler class in April – thank you and good luck on your projects.  And we are offering the class again in July so those of you who have not yet taken it, maybe I’ll see you there.

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