Cleveland Launches Opt-In Recycling Program

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Recycling is back in Cleveland! Sort of! - City of Cleveland
City of Cleveland
Recycling is back in Cleveland! Sort of!

The city of Cleveland yesterday announced it will begin an opt-in recycling program with biweekly pickup.

This follows a long stretch when the city didn't actually recycle anything collected in recycling bins and a confirmation in the spring of 2020 by Mayor Frank Jackson that everything in the blue bins was dumped at the landfill along with regular trash. Cleveland, like other cities, dealt with residents who improperly recycled and a changing marketplace overseas. When its contract ran out with one vendor and it sought bids, only one applied.

"It came in at around $200 per ton," Jackson last year. "For [Cleveland], that's about $7 million."

This week's announcement is welcome news, if only because the city is actually doing something on the issue, though it's just a first step.

To begin with, residents will have to opt-in with the city online or by calling 216-664-3030, and will have to abide by a pledge to recycle properly.

Here's what that means in terms of what can and can't be put in the blue bins.

And, the city doesn't even have a contract with a vendor yet.

From the press announcement:

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.

“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 in a press release, ostensibly with a straight face. “This opt in recycling program will help us to work alongside residents to establish a more efficient and sustainable waste and recycling collection process.”

Residents who don't opt in during the initial 90-day period will have their blue bins removed by the city.

About The Author

Vince Grzegorek

Vince Grzegorek has been with Scene since 2007 and editor-in-chief since 2012. He previously worked at Discount Drug Mart and Texas Roadhouse.
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