Cleveland Recycling Program: ‘Don’t Bag It!’


From the City of Cleveland Division of Waste Collection/Disposal

The City of Cleveland has a high rate of contamination in its recycling, due to non-recyclables being put into blue recycling carts and drop-off recycling dumpsters. Collection has been changed with the elimination of plastic bags. Recyclables should no longer be bagged, but should be placed loose in blue recycling carts and drop-off dumpsters. While plastic bags are NO LONGER ACCEPTED in these containers, most grocery stores and some other retailers accept plastic bags for recycling. These stores should be contacted in advance to confirm they will accept plastic bags and other items. Diapers and yard waste are not recyclable. Cleveland has a very easy recycling process called “single stream” which means residents can put all accepted recyclables in one container. Some other communities have to sort recyclables into different containers. The City hopes that residents will take advantage of the fact that recycling is easy in this city. In Cleveland areas that have automated curbside collection, residents get a blue recycling cart and collection is weekly. Residents who do not have carts yet can take recyclables to a City of Cleveland recycling dumpster. Care should be taken so non-recyclables don’t end up in carts or recycling dumpsters. These  items can contaminate the whole recycling stream and slow down the recycling process. At recycling centers, workers have to shut down machines to remove unrecyclable materials- especially plastic bags. Contamination also impacts recyclable items, decreasing their quality while increasing the cost to recycle them. It wastes time and money!

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