Release Date: Wed, Feb 19, 2020

New PBS Wisconsin Education Resource Explores Life of Recycling Pioneer and Sauk County Native Milly Zantow

New PBS Wisconsin Education Resource Explores Life of Recycling Pioneer and Sauk County Native Milly Zantow

PBS Wisconsin Education has released a new Wisconsin Biographies story titled Milly Zantow: Recycling Revolutionary. Wisconsin Biographies is a collection of free educational, online media resources to share the stories of notable Wisconsinites and enrich grade school social studies and literacy curriculum. Milly Zantow: Recycling Revolutionary is available online at

Created as part of the Wisconsin Hometown Stories: Sauk Prairie project, this new Wisconsin Biographies story explores the life of Milly Zantow, a courageous changemaker in the world of recycling.

When Zantow learned about a problem facing her Sauk County community – a landfill closing much earlier than it should – she took action. Seeing for herself that there was too much plastic waste, she thought it should be recycled. At that time, no one was recycling plastics, but Zantow worked with others to make it happen. She developed the idea for the numbering system to identify and sort plastics for recycling, making recycling easier to do all over the world. She also helped to write Wisconsin’s recycling law.

“We’re particularly proud to feature Milly Zantow in the Wisconsin Biographies collection, because her story of perseverance and ingenuity is a wonderful model of the skills it will take to address the current challenges that we continue to face in the world of recycling,” said PBS Wisconsin Education Executive Producer Megan Monday. “We hope that learning about Milly’s story will empower students to look around and identify the ways they want to impact the world.”

On the Wisconsin Biographies website, students in grades 3-8 can explore Zantow’s story through an animated video, short text biographies written at three reading levels, two interactives, an image gallery and additional resource lists.

The Wisconsin Biographies story, Milly Zantow: Recycling Revolutionary was made possible by generous funding from Greg and Carol Griffin Family, Darlene Ballweg, Culver’s Foundation, and Wollersheim Winery & Distillery, with additional support from Bank of Prairie du Sac, Consumers Cooperative, Sid and Lisa Cook, John and Alice Grady, Jerry and Nancy Kaufman, Richard and Marilyn McFarlane, Milwaukee Valve Company, Ellen Paul, Sauk County UW Extension, Arts and Culture Committee and Wisconsin Arts Board, Schwarz Insurance, Tim and Pat Size, Jim Slattery, Tools for Marketing, Inc., Wyttenbach Meats and the Focus Fund for Wisconsin History supported in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Additional support from The Timothy William Trout Education Fund, a gift of Monroe and Sandra Trout, the Focus Fund for Education and Friends of PBS Wisconsin.

PBS Wisconsin is a service of the Wisconsin Educational Communications Board and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

PBS Wisconsin is a place to grow through learning on WHA-TV, Madison; WPNE-TV, Green Bay; WHRM-TV, Wausau; WLEF-TV, Park Falls; WHLA- TV, La Crosse; and WHWC-TV, Menomonie-Eau Claire.


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