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Government & Politics

Clevelanders Must Opt-In to New Recycling Program

recycle cle.jpg
The Land
An advertisement promoting recycling in Cleveland

Cleveland has been without a curbside recycling program for a year and a half. Clevelanders have until Oct. 22 to opt-in to the new service through an online form or by calling 216-664-3030.

Because the program is optional, those who don’t sign up will have their blue bins removed by the Division of Waste Collection.

The city’s announcement on Friday, July 23 offered guidelines for the upcoming program including how to properly set out carts for collection. Recycling carts should be placed for pickup no earlier than noon the day before pickup and be removed no later than noon the day after pickup. The metal bar on the cart should be facing the street. Recyclable materials outside of the cart will not be accepted. The announcement also lists what will be recycled, including cans, cartons, glass, paper, boxes, plastic bottles and jugs.

A better program
The last program in place shut down in April 2020 when the city could not afford a new contract, due to changes in the recycling market and the lack of proper recycling practices by many Clevelanders. In its release, the city promoted its new “Circular Cleveland” initiative in partnership with Cleveland Neighborhood Progress as a way that residents can learn more about reducing and reusing waste.

“Recommendations provided by the consultant focused on improving efficiency and supporting waste reduction goals, while still maintaining high levels of service for our residents,” Sustainable Cleveland said in the release. “While we are excited about an updated recycling program, it is important for our residents to remember that recycling is only one small piece of the waste reduction puzzle. There is currently a limited market for many of the items that can be recycled curbside, leaving a lot of opportunity to put more emphasis on ‘reducing and reusing.’”

The city is also hiring a recycling coordinator as the first step to rolling out the new program.

Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, Mayor Frank Jackson and top officials instructed city residents to continue separating their waste and recycling into the black and blue bins, to keep people from breaking their habits. Cleveland City Council members in the past pressed the city to provide recycling alternatives and update its website. As of the city’s announcement Friday, the website has been updated.

According to the Recycle Cleveland website, there will also be two drop off locations available, at the corner of East 55th and Euclid Avenue (24 hour access) and at 3727 Ridge Road (Monday-Saturday, 9 am - 3 pm)

See below for program guidelines:

This story was produced as part of an environmental justice reporting initiative involving partners WKSU, Ideastream Public Media, The Land, The NewsLab at Kent State University, La Mega, and the Northeast Ohio Solutions Journalism Collaborative (NEOSOJO).

Lee Chilcote is editor of The Land. Chris Abreu is a journalism major at Kent State University and intern with The Land.