Recently, the City of Cleveland has seen an increase in contamination of its recyclable materials due to non-recyclable materials being placed into the blue recycling carts and drop-off recycling dumpsters. In an effort to reduce this contamination, the City of Cleveland will no longer be accepting recyclable materials in plastic bags. Instead of plastic bags, try placing recyclables in a paper bag, a cardboard box or a smaller plastic bin inside your home and use that to carry it to your larger blue cart or to the recycling dumpster
Recyclables should not be bagged, but placed loose in the blue recycling carts and drop-off dumpsters. While plastic bags are NO LONGER ACCEPTED in City of Cleveland 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.
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!
Below is an example of why we are asking Cleveland residents not to put recyclables in plastic bags:
The video depicts a Material Recovery Facility (MRF) and shows how plastic bags can shut down the machines. The City of Cleveland sends our recyclables to a similar MRF to be processed.
The following items are examples of what should be placed in your blue recycling carts and drop-off dumpsters:
- Pop bottles (caps must be screwed on tightly, or taken off and thrown away)
- Waxed cartons (milk/juice)
- Milk jugs
- Glass containers from juices, sauces, etc.
- Metal, tin and aluminum cans
- Plastics bearing numbers 1-7 with recycling symbol on bottom of product
- Corrugated cardboard
- Junk paper mail
- Newspaper & magazines
- Cereal, oatmeal, and other cardboard boxes
- Cardboard egg cartons
- Tissue boxes/cardboard rolls from paper towels and bath tissue
Cleveland has an extremely easy recycling process called “single stream” which means residents can put all accepted recyclables in one container while some communities have to sort recyclables into different containers. In areas that have received access to the automated curbside recycling collection program, residents have a blue recycling cart to place their recyclables in that will be collected once a week with their refuse. Residents who do not have access to the curbside recycling program are able to take their recyclable materials to any City of Cleveland recycling dumpster.
It is our goal to increase recycling rates throughout the City by making the recycling process more simple and streamlined.
To read the Division of Waste’s updated Residential Collection Service Guide, please click here. The Service Guide gives a more detailed overview of what the City of Cleveland accepts for recycling. If you have questions about recycling, please contact the Division of Waste at (216) 664-3711.