Recycling … The Whats and Hows in Cuyahoga County

Sep 25, 2019 | Zero Waste Life

Recycling used to be so easy.  Throw all of your plastics, cans, papers and glass in one big tub and once a week a big truck came to take it away.  Then things changed and now people are unsure about what they can recycle with their community programs.  We are here to help!

If you wonder why the rules have changed, the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District explains it on their website:

“The economics of recycling are rarely discussed but are at the center of the issue of recyclability. Currently supply exceeds demand mainly because of recent restrictions China has placed on the materials they will import. China is tired of being the world’s dumping ground and now demands cleaner, sorted recyclables which they use to produce the goods we buy here at home.”

In general, you can put ONLY the following in your curbside bins :

  • cans (empty and rinse)
  • cartons (like milk or juice cartons–empty and rinse and put the cap back on)
  • glass (empty and rinse)
  • paper, newspaper, and boxes (flatten boxes)
  • plastic bottles and jugs–containers that have a neck that is more narrow than the body (empty and rinse and replace cap)

That’s it. Those are the only items.

That means the following DO NOT go in the curbside bins:

  • Plastic Bags (you can recycle those at Giant Eagle or Marcs)
  • Styrofoam food containers
  • Solo Cups
  • Plastic cutlery
  • Berry or produce clamshell containers
  • Plastic tubs (those with a #5 designation can be taken to Whole Foods for recycling).
  • Garden hoses
  • Broken cutlery
  • Tires
  • Old toys
  • Computers and electronics
  • Paint

For more information on how and where to recycle other household items, please visit the Cuyahoga County Waste District website at