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Cleveland City Councilman Wants to 'Get Creative' with City's Recycling Program

photo of recycling bin
The City of Cleveland has hired a consultant to evaluate the environmental and financial impact of its current waste collection programs.

Cleveland officials announced last week that the city’s recycling program is on-hold – and the councilman who represents the downtown area wants to know why.

The city says its contract to pick up recycling expired five weeks ago and all recyclables are being sent to the landfill for now. Councilman Kerry McCormack -- who represents downtown, Tremont and Ohio City – says he found out from a press release. He plans to hold a virtual public hearing within the next two weeks to find out what happened.

“I understand that there are global issues at play here with China, with the cost of recyclables, [and] with the value of recyclables.”

McCormack says city leaders need to be aware of how that affects Cleveland, and this may be an opportunity to re-evaluate the city’s recycling strategy. He says one option might be partnering with other municipalities in Cuyahoga County, which have not discontinued recycling.

“Not only should we be having a conversation about the City of Cleveland, but does it make sense to have a regional waste collection system that leverages Northeast Ohio when it comes to contracts with waste collectors and haulers to optimize the value of our recyclables?”

The virtual hearing will be streamed live online for public comment.

Read the full text of the city's statement about recycling in the May 1, 2020 update below: 


Kabir Bhatia is a senior reporter for Ideastream Public Media's arts & culture team.