Starting right now, we can accept dry and empty paper cups in our green recycling cart at home!

Of course, it’s better to choose reusable containers than single-use paper cups when you can, but this is still good news. 

What kind of cups are you talking about?

These are the paper takeout cups that you would get from coffee shops or fast-food restaurants.


An empty and dry paper cup ready for recycling.

How do you recycle the paper cups?

Be sure they are empty and dry. If you hold the cup upside down over your head and you get dripped on – the cup isn’t empty or dry enough to go into the recycling.

The plastic lids and plastic straws should be placed into the trash.  The plastic lids are flat and due to their shape they are likely to get mixed in with the paper products and become a contaminant.

The cardboard sleeve on coffee cups should be slipped off the cup and recycled separately from the cup itself.

What happens to the paper cups?

They are bundled up and sent off to paper mills in Wisconsin or elsewhere in the Midwest to be made into paper products like tissue and paperboard boxes.

Can I recycle paper take out cups where I work or at my local coffeeshop?

If your workplace or the business uses Pellitteri Waste Systems, or is collected by the Streets Division, then yes.  (Pellitteri accepts, sorts, and sells the recyclables collected by the Streets Division.)

If they use Waste Management or Green for Life (GFL), I’m less certain. I believe Pellitteri is the first in Wisconsin to make the improvements to provide cup recycling, but the other recyclers may be able to offer it as well or have plans to add this service soon. You just have to check.

Other news from the Streets Division

The drop-off sites hours are changing to winter hours. If you are bringing in electronics or yard waste or excess cardboard, be sure to check the hours before loading your car. Winter hours are much shorter than standard hours, and the drop-off sites are closed on weekends now.  The drop-off site website is

Also, there is a last chance leaf collection that will get underway next week – but keep your eyes on the weather. We are really hoping to provide one last leaf pickup this year since the leaves fell so late for so many people. But if we get hit with a significant winter storm before leaf collection is complete, leaf pickup may need to stop so Streets crews could switch to snowplowing duties.

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