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Pandemic changes to shopping habits have downstream effect on recycling

Pellitteri Recycling Center
A recycling truck drops off material at Pellitteri Waste System's Kipp Street location.

MADISON (WKOW) -- The pandemic has changed a lot about everyday life over the past 11 months, including how people shop and what they're putting at the curb for recycling pickup.

"A lot more people are ordering goods online [and] get a lot of deliveries," Joe Spair with Pellitteri Waste Systems said. "I know, personally, we get our deliveries daily."

More online orders mean more cardboard boxes are ending up at recycling facilities, like Pellitteri's.

Spair said the increase in residential recycling volume has more than made up for the decrease in commercial recycling due to remote work and school.

However, the increase in residential recycling hasn't come without challenges, particularly when it comes to contamination.

"In the industry, they call it 'wishcycling' where people really wish they could recycle this stuff," Madison's Recycling Coordinator, Bryan Johnson, said.

Thursday on 27 News at 10, we're digging deeper to find out where all that material goes and what you can do to make sure your recycling is reused and not thrown away.

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Caroline Dade

Reporter/Multimedia Journalist, 27 News

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