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Don’t stress, just scan!

Do you ever find yourself struggling to sort your recycling from your trash, unsure of what goes where? If so, you might relate to this situation.

You’ve just finished feeding the furriest members of your household and can finally pitch that obnoxiously oversized pet food bag. You do your best to wrangle it down to fit it in a bin… but which one? You unfold it, begrudgingly, and turn it over several times to see if there is a How2Recycle label on it or not. No such luck, you are on your own. The garbage is full, and you’re not quite sure what it’s made of, but what harm could it do if you recycle it? Truth is a lot. Wrongly recycled items make up nearly 8.9% of collected curbside materials and can cause damage to equipment and safety hazards to the sorting staff who have to climb into equipment to remove the items.

We get it. We’ve all been there. That is why Tri-County Recycling has partnered with a Wisconsin-based company, Betterbin, to offer an app to help solve exactly that problem! With you in mind, the Betterbin app harnesses the power of data to make localized recycling guidelines relevant, convenient, and accessible to all residents within Brown, Outagamie, and Winnebago Counties.

With the Betterbin app, users can scan the UPC barcode on any household product and its packaging or search for any product by name to get detailed recycling or disposal instructions that are verified to match your local recycling guidelines.

So, next time you find yourself in a situation like this frustrated pet owner, simply pull out your phone, tap on the little green trash bin icon, scan the barcode, and follow the directions knowing you are recycling right.

In the case of the pet food bag, you’re instantly shown a photo of the product and a red bar labeled “trash”. There is even a description, so you understand the “why” behind whether or not it’s recyclable. In this case, the outer plastic packaging is not acceptable in your cart. This type of plastic packaging is also not acceptable at retail drop-off locations for plastic bags or wraps. Toss it in the trash.

Good thing you scanned the cardboard box of cat litter on your way out the door to confirm it is recyclable – at least you know you’ve been recycling that item correctly! Whew.

Join Tri-County Recycling and Betterbin today to replace your confusion with confidence – the perfect resource for you to stress less by scanning more with the Betterbin app.

The Betterbin app can be found in any app store.

In 2001, Brown, Outagamie, and Winnebago Counties joined forces to form the Tri-County Regional Partnership. This cooperative agreement paved the way for development of a regional recycling system that would serve municipalities in all three counties. The operation of the Tri-County Recycling Facility began in July of 2009 and today continues to serve residents of Northeast Wisconsin, providing cost-efficient sorting and marketing of recyclable materials that are banned from landfill disposal.

As a centerpiece of Wisconsin’s recycling industry, the Tri-County Regional Partnership creates jobs, protects the environment, conserves resources, provides renewable energy, and promotes the message “the more you know, the smarter you’ll throw” to its residents.

There’s more to recycling than collecting materials at the curb, and there’s more to landfilling than dumping garbage in a hole. Over the years, the Tri-County partners have developed revolutionary processes and efficient facilities with strong partnerships for the long-term benefit of area residents. If you are looking for more information about recycling, please visit us at

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