Recycling is in Trouble

From the Cuyahoga Solid Waste District:

Curbside recycling in Cuyahoga County is in trouble and we need your help. Local recycling processors report that more and more recycling is contaminated with garbage – up to 25 % garbage. Contamination happens when residents put unacceptable or non-recyclable items into their recycling cart, bin or bag. 

Recycling markets also are shrinking because of China’s decision to restrict imports. Simply stated, China no longer wants to be the global end-market for the world’s recyclables because for decades they had been accepting recyclables contaminated with trash and hazardous waste. This has left them with a spoiled environment they are now working to clean up. 

These two facts – huge contamination rates and China’s restriction of imports – have created a perfect storm for recycling here in Cuyahoga County. Everyone’s help is needed to do a better job of recycling correctly to keep recycling viable. 

Here are the rules for proper recycling

Put these five items ONLY in your curbside recycling:

  • Food and beverage CANS – empty and rinse.
  • Milk, juice and broth CARTONS - empty, rinse and replace cap.
  • GLASS BOTTLES AND JARS – empty, rinse and replace cap.
  • PAPER AND BOXES - include all paper, mail, magazines, newspaper cereal boxes and flattened cardboard. Do not include shredded paper. 
  • PLASTIC BOTTLES AND JUGS – empty, rinse and replace cap. Disregard the numbers on plastic. Recycle bottles and jugs only.  Other plastics are not recyclable at this time.
  • Place items loose, not bagged, in your recycle cart or bin.
  • Recyclables should be free from food residue and empty.
  • Boxes should be broken down.
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