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Cuyahoga County moves to a universal recycling system

Marc Lefkowitz  |  10/26/16 @ 9:00am  |  Posted in Recycle

Forget the # inside of the three little arrows. Recycling in Cuyahoga County just got a lot simpler. Thanks to an effort by the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District to streamline what can and cannot be recycled.

The new rules for recycling can be found online at CuyahogaRecycles.org

What changed?

Whether you’re at home, work—pretty much wherever you step foot inside Cuyahoga County—expect a lot less guess work with this universal system.

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They have it condensed into one user-friendly package. Unlike the patchwork of dos and donts in the past, the new rules apply to everyone, regardless of where you live in the county—a truly regional approach to recycling.

How did it happen?

Three waste hauling companies handle the majority of curbside and commercial recycling in the 59 communities in Cuyahoga County. They drop the materials to be sorted at three Materials Recovery Facilities (MRFs) located within 100 miles of Cleveland. The MRFs were finding that recyclables coming from Cuyahoga County had 20% or more contamination—items that could not be recycled. The contamination meant lost revenue for the MRFs since it involves sorting it all by hand.

What are the new rules?


While the District has a comprehensive list, essentially, here’s what YOU CAN recycle:

  • Metal cans (with lids)
  • Milk and juice cartons
  • Glass bottles (with lids on)
  • Paper and cardboard (flattened)
  • Plastic bottles (like laundry detergents, water bottles, and margarine tubs)

No longer accepted are plastic “clamshell” containers (that hold salads or take out), no plastic cups (like Solo or any brand), no microwave food containers (or any black plastic regardless of the little number).

How do I learn more?

To answer all of your questions about the new Cuyahoga County recycling rules, Cuyahoga Solid Waste District Director, Diane Bickett, will be on hand to review the new guidelines and take your questions this Thursday (Oct. 27) evening at Cleveland Heights Main Library. Or, check out their "9 Things to Know about Recycling in Cuyahoga County."

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