Fewer Than 8,000 People Have Opted in to Cleveland Recycling Program

click to enlarge Clevelanders dropped off bags of recycling at City Hall to express anger at the lapsing of the curbside recycling program, (5/4/20). - Sam Allard / Scene
Sam Allard / Scene
Clevelanders dropped off bags of recycling at City Hall to express anger at the lapsing of the curbside recycling program, (5/4/20).

As of Friday, fewer than 8,000 people had voluntarily signed up for the city of Cleveland's new curbside recycling program.

The city announced its new "opt-in" program in July. “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, at the time. “This opt in recycling program will help us to work alongside residents to establish a more efficient and sustainable waste and recycling collection process.”

Per the recommendations of a consultant, the city said it would collect the contents of blue recycling bins every other week. But residents who failed or chose not to sign up would have their blue bins reclaimed by the city. 

The deadline for residents to opt-in is Oct. 22. Less than 10% of the city's households have signed up, and the densest areas of interest are pockets of the city's west side.
The city's recycling program has been an unqualified disaster for more than a year, and has been a frequent topic on the mayoral campaign trail.

Fox 8 first exposed, early last year, that the city had quietly discontinued its recycling program due to high cost and had been dumping all recyclable materials in the landfill. Cleveland nevertheless continued to send out its recycling trucks and encouraged residents to continue recycling — to preserve good habits — even though all their materials were headed to the same place.

It is has now failed to generate interest in its new program.

The city has not yet found an operator, either. According to Fox 8's latest coverage, the city is optimistic that recycling will launch by the end of the year, but the start date is contingent upon its competetive bidding process.

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About The Author

Sam Allard

Sam Allard is the Senior Writer at Scene, in which capacity he covers politics and power and writes about movies when time permits. He's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and the NEOMFA at Cleveland State. Prior to joining Scene, he was encamped in Sarajevo, Bosnia, on an...
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