PFAS in Solid Waste & Recycling


Image: Sunderland, EM et. al. (2018)

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), are a group of man-made chemicals, commonly known as "forever chemicals", that are found in many household products such as personal care items, waterproof footwear/clothing, stain-resistant carpeting or fabrics, non-stick cookware, and some food packaging. PFAS contamination can be found in food, drinking water, indoor dust, some consumer products, and workplaces. Recently, these chemicals have been found in people. wildlife, and fish all over the world. Once they enter a system, they may stay in people's bodies and/or the environment for extended periods of time due to their resistance to breaking down.


Although landfills, waste/recycling facilities, or composting sites do not directly produce PFAS or the materials that contain it, they continue to receive PFAS-containing products at the end of their life. As a result, solid waste professionals are learning how to responsibly and safely dispose of and eliminate these chemicals, as well as helping people understand the issue and take action to reduce exposure.


Visit to learn more about PFAS in solid waste and recycling. 

For additional information, check out the Wisconsin DNR page on PFAS:

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To see a map of sites with reported PFAS contamination in Wisconsin, click here.

For additional information, check out the Wisconsin Department of Health Services page on PFAS:

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Check out the Wisconsin PFAS Action Plan developed in December 2020:

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