A Dane County landfill was part of the characterization study commissioned by the DNR to study what's in Wisconsin's landfills. (Photo contributed by state Department of Natural Resources)


Organics including food waste and scraps account for about 30% of Wisconsin's landfill waste by weight, according to a study of waste from 14 disposal sites that was commissioned by the state Department of Natural Resources.

The 2020-2021 statewide waste characterization study found that the broad organics category, which also includes yard waste and diapers, accounted for about 1.3 million tons. An estimated 924,900 tons of paper, including cardboard, compostable and office paper, comprised about 21% of the landfills' tonnage. That was followed by plastic at about 17%, or 745,600 tons.

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