waste

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If you’re one of those people who feels overwhelmed by the waste we humans create, you might take heart with a move made by Milwaukee's Public Safety and Health Committee. It voted Thursday to prohibit local food and alcohol beverage establishments from providing customers with plastic straws.

Alesandra Tejeda

Plastic is difficult to escape. Many products are wrapped, sealed and mailed in some sort of plastic material.

And it can be difficult to know what to do with plastic bags, especially since curbside programs in Milwaukee and throughout Wisconsin don't accept plastic bags. However, they can be put in collection bins at some grocery stores and other businesses.

Outrider Foundation

If you’ve seen Milwaukee Brewers' Brent Suter in action, you might have noticed his reusable water bottle. It’s nothing new to the pitcher.

Suter has been concerned about the environment for years. It started with a love of nature.

Growing up in Cincinnati Ohio, he was in the Boy Scouts, had pets, and loved nature and animals. His love shifted to concern when Suter was a freshman in high school.

A junk removal company's job is to get rid of junk, right? You might be picturing a scene from the TV show Hoarders — stuff being thrown into a big dumpster as quickly as possible, headed for the landfill. For Wisconsin veteran Andrew Weins, his goal — and that of his junk removal and hauling business — is to take absolutely nothing to the dump.

His philosophy is reduce, reuse, repurpose, recycle (in that order), and if all that fails, dispose responsibly.

Susan Bence

The EPA estimates that more food ends up in landfills than any other category of waste. Efforts are underway to tip the tide in Wisconsin. Some people have created their own compost systems at home, others compost through neighborhood gardens. Melissa Tashjian, however, wants to reach a wider audience.

Susan Bence

We throw our paper and aluminum cans in a bin, a crew picks up the materials, and we assume we’ve made a difference. But experts say there’s still confusion on what can be recycled.

Brian Jongetjes’ family has been in the waste business since 1969. Today, their company, called Johns Disposal, handles both garbage and recycling for communities and businesses in an eight-county area.

Jongetjes says their workers routinely find stuff that can’t be recycled. “Dog leashes or rope or wire, it wraps around everything," he adds, “We hate that.”