Cleveland Residents Can Now Opt In to New Curbside Recycling Program

The City of Cleveland today announced residents can now opt in to the new bi-weekly curbside recycling program. Residents interested in joining the program must sign up by October 22 via the opt-in form or by calling 216-664-3030 and agree to the recycling program guidelines. The ongoing recycling program changes are part of an effort to reduce contamination from curbside recycling, reduce program costs, and improve efficiency of waste collection operations. View a link to an FAQ sheet on the recycling program. The City intends for the new program to be in place by the end of 2021.

“For more than a decade, my administration has worked to build and solidify Cleveland’s reputation as a ‘green City on a blue lake’” said Mayor Frank G. Jackson. “This opt in recycling program will help us to work alongside residents to establish a more efficient and sustainable waste and recycling collection process.”

The number of people who opt in during the 90-day period will help serve as an indication of the new program’s potential interest level and help the city create routing plans. Residents who opt in can expect to receive additional communications on participation once the program is fully operational. Residents who choose not to opt in will have their blue recycling carts removed.

Bulk collection will also transition to bi-weekly – on alternate weeks from recycling collection – and will eventually shift to an appointment-based program once the bi-weekly collection routes are established. The Department of Public Works, Division of Waste Collection will also resume issuing citations for violations of City of Cleveland waste collection and recycling regulations beginning Monday, August 9, 2021. View the waste collection calendar and rules for proper set-out.

As a condition of participation in the new recycling program, residents will be asked to sign a pledge agreeing to follow all curbside recycling guidelines, such as only placing the acceptable materials in their bins on their scheduled weeks and understanding that their bins may be removed if they are found to not be properly participating in the program.

In spring of 2020, the City of Cleveland suspended its recycling program due to high contamination rates and inability to solicit a favorable contract for recycling processing services. As a result, the City commissioned GT Environmental to develop a report evaluating the City’s Division of Waste Collection and Disposal operations, including the solid waste, recycling, and bulk collection programs.

“Since suspending our program last year, we have worked hard to evaluate Cleveland’s waste and recycling programs and are developing new approaches to improve waste collection in our city,” said Chief of Operations Darnell Brown. “As we begin to enroll residents into the recycling program, their participation and commitment will be key to keeping contamination down, meeting our waste diversion goals and ensuring the program’s success.”

Recommendations provided by the consultant focused on improving efficiency and supporting waste reduction goals, while still maintaining high levels of service for our residents. As a result of the evaluation, the City of Cleveland is also hiring a recycling coordinator to help implement the recommendations and operational strategies in the report.

The City will begin meeting with potential recycling processing companies while the opt-in process is open. The number of current participants will be used to help define a new partnership with the vendor. The City intends to secure a recycling contract as soon as possible.

Changes to the waste collection and recycling program align with the launch of Circular Cleveland, a two-year initiative to develop and implement circular economy strategies and programs in Cleveland. The circular economy is a comprehensive approach to provide community-wide benefits by designing waste and pollution out of our economic system, keeping products and materials in use as long as possible, protecting and regenerating natural systems, and creating new jobs. For more information about the Circular Cleveland initiative, click here. For more information on the City of Cleveland’s waste collection and recycling programs, please visit the Division of Waste Collection and Disposal’s website: www.clevelandohio.gov/waste.