News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

The Holden Arboretum

Don Drumm Studios


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Environment


Twenty-five years after waste districts begin, recycling is growing in Northeast Ohio and beyond
Less than half of all Cuyahoga County waste is going to landfills, and emerging technologies will reduce the amount even more.
by WKSU's KEVIN NIEDERMIER


Reporter
Kevin Niedermier
 
Richard Bole is CEO of Recycle Midwest in Cleveland. He says single stream recycling programs make it hard for him to sort plastics, metals and paper.
Courtesy of KEVIN NIEDERMIER
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:

In Cuyahoga County, all communities have curbside recycling, and less than half of the county’s waste goes into landfills. And that’s improving. As WKSU’s Kevin Niedermier reports, recycling took-off because of state waste reduction regulations, but it’s becoming an ingrained part of life in most places.

LISTEN: Recycling takes hold

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (4:01)


A quarter century ago, the state of Ohio required counties and cities to join solid waste districts and establish ways to reduce landfill use. That sparked recycling’s growth.

Diane Bickett heads Cuyahoga County’s Solid Waste District. She says in 2011, for the first time, just over half of the county’s waste was recycled. And the EPA report for last year shows even more improvement.

“We’re at an almost a 54 percent recycling rate. That’s the amount of waste we’re diverting from landfills through a variety of methods, recycling, composting and other waste reduction activities. That’s the residential, commercial and industrial sectors combined.”

Single stream doesn't make everyone a fan
That figure equals more than 1.2 million tons of recycled trash.

Some of that is handled by Recycle Midwest, a company on Cleveland’s Eastside that’s been operating for nearly 25 years. CEO Richard Bole says his small operation inside this gritty brick building hand-sorts nearly 40 recyclable products. Much of that comes from the prevalent residential and commercial single-stream recycling system that groups everything together.


Surrounded by huge bales of paper, plastic bottles and cans, Bole bristles at single stream because he says it makes the sorting harder. He hopes to move to a bigger space someday, and use a magnet to pull metals out of paper and other more advanced sorting technologies.

“Right now we’re allowing the No. 1 pet bottles and No. 1 crinkly plastic to stay on the conveyor going down and we’re puling off everything else. That includes glass, other plastics, metal, trash and some paper unfortunately. With single stream, you always have paper with the bottles and cans, making it difficult to sort.”

Brian Krigmont is one of Bole’s eight employees. He’s beside the conveyor belt sorting through blue plastic bags of trash.

“Everything has a certain spot, there’s really not much to it. All the plastics, they can’t be mixed up because then it will be contaminated when they melt it down and recycle it. You just go through the bags that come from different companies and sort it out.”

Some sorting will never go away
Some of this type of sorting will probably always be necessary, but recycling’s future is changing. Brenda Pulley is senior vice president for Keep America Beautiful’s recycling program. The 60-year-old litter prevention organization established the recycling end of things five years ago. She says many companies are looking at their bottom lines and seeking ways to make their products even more recyclable.                                                                            
“Companies and manufacturers are looking at how they can use what was once viewed as waste and use it as a resource.  And that leads to change: What new technologies, equipment needs to be put in place, what new investments need to be made so they can start using that material. So... the plastic bottle, while it could be recycled into carpet or something, the technology is now there to recycle it back into a beverage container.”   

Eating the waste
While recycling is up, Bickett of Cuyahoga County’s Solid Waste District says a new technology developed by Quasar Energy of Cleveland uses a bio-digester to help reduce a part of what’s is still being landfilled.

“So that’s focusing on the organic fraction of our waste stream, part of the untapped area of our waste collection, food waste composting, more curbside organic diversion. So the biggest portion of our landfill is the organics, and that will be the frontier trying to capture the food waste and convert that into energy, which is what Quasar is already doing.”

And, Bickett says another area company is working on a process to turn plastic back into the oil it was made from.                                                               

(Click image for larger view.)

Listener Comments:

My director Yolanda Walker with ReWorks (Summit Akron Solid Waste Authority) which is the Solid Waste Authority in Summit County... Can share with you Summit County's recycling programs we offer FREE to business which includes food scrap recycling. We also have 3 new Material Recycling facilities in Summit County now. Yolanda can be reached at 330.374.0383


Posted by: Shelly Kadilak (Summit County) on December 17, 2013 9:12AM
Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook




Stories with Recent Comments

The tiny town that time, and elections, forgot may go out of existance
Thank you for this story. I grew up in Limaville, my parents home is there still...unsellable due to the septic/sewer problem. Sometimes I am sorry I left...wis...

Air Force unit gets training and Youngstown gets rid of some eyesores
Do they have to totally destroy all the beautiful oak and leaded windows, which I am thinking are probably there? Do they just have to destroy them like that? C...

Jewish challah and Native American fry bread at an Akron cultural exchange
Each time I saw the young students relate to each other, I got goose bumps. These young students can and hopefully will teach all of us to live and respect eac...

One of the Cleveland Orchestra's most celebrated musicians bids farewell
I had the honor of studying with Franklin Cohen in the late 80s and early 90s. He is unparalleled both as a clarinetist and as a musician. His deep personal war...

Summa's dress code is not 'etched in stone'
SOME OF THESE POLICIES ARE A COMPLETE JOKE. UNLESS YOU ARE DOING THESE TYPE OF JOBS EVERY DAY, YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT IS COMFORTABLE AND REASONABLE OR NOT. UNLESS ...

In a crowded, controversial field, Kasich's low-profile may be a boon
I think it should be required that if a candidate wants to use the facilities of one of our state universities to promote him- or herself, they should be requir...

How's Kasich selling in New Hampshire, and what about Iowa?
"If he heads there, says Gomez, he’ll either have to shy away from those issues, flip flop or “stick his finger in their face and say, ‘Yeah, yeah, I expa...

Ohio School Boards Association says new law could mean state takeovers of schools virtually anywhere
It would be nice if the state were this concerned about the dozens of failing charter schools.

Republican National Convention plans outreach to African American voters in Ohio
Too late! Seriously - I think the Republicans already blew another outreach campaign to blacks when they allowed many prominent members of their party to spea...

Canton adds acoustic sensors to locate gun shots
We never had drive by shootings and all these gun slingers until about ten years ago. I have lived here in the same old German neighborhood since 1947. The ...

Copyright © 2015 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University