Plastic Bottles & Jugs

Plastic Bottles & Jugs


In Cuyahoga County, plastic bottles or jugs can be placed in curbside recycling. Plastic bottles and jugs must be empty, clean, and dry before being recycled.

Plastic bottles and jugs include items like water and soda bottles, shampoo bottles, milk, water and juice jugs, laundry detergent jugs and bleach bottles. Think containers with a “neck.” Bottles and jugs should be emptied and rinsed. Replace the cap and put in your curbside recycling.

Spray nozzles or pumps should be removed and placed in the trash. Containers that held hazardous materials (motor oil, pesticides) may have residue and should be placed in the trash, not recycling, for proper disposal.

Some local recycling processors can also recycle plastic tubs (eg., butter, sour cream, fruit and yogurt cups). Depending on which processor your community contracts with, you may be able to include tubs in your curbside recycling. See details for your community
.

What about those numbers on plastic containers? Does that mean the container is recyclable? 
The numbers on plastic containers are resin codes used by the plastics industry to identify the type of resin used to make the container. All plastic containers have a code but that does not mean the item is recyclable. To determine recyclability, consider the shape of the container instead of checking its number.

What happens if I put the wrong plastics in my curbside recycling? Can I just throw in any plastic that I want and let the recycler deal with it?
If you put the wrong plastics in your curbside recycling, they will not be recycled. Instead, they will have to be sorted and landfilled, which increases the cost of recycling which is paid by your community, and ultimately, you.

Plastic clamshells, takeout containers, utensils, bakery trays and plastic blister packaging should be placed in the trash. See details.

Why can’t all plastics be recycled?
There is an abundance of plastic packaging in our society today and only about 9% of it can currently be recycled. This is due to limited markets for recycled plastic (not all manufacturers produce packaging from recycled plastic) and the complexities of sorting the various kinds of plastic.

What are the alternatives?
Until there is a major shift in the demand for recycled plastic and more sensible packaging design, consumers are limited in our recycling options. Consider these ideas for reducing waste.

Cups

Cups


Due to an expansion in recycling services in 2022, some types of cups can be recycled curbside in Cuyahoga County.
Aluminum Cups

Aluminum cups, an available single-use alternative product to plastic cups, can be included in recycling. Aluminum cups are a good option. Aluminum is 100% recyclable, meaning it can be recycled repeatedly without losing any quality. See an example of aluminum cupsAluminum beverage cups are accepted for recycling in all communities in Cuyahoga County.

Aluminum cups must be empty, clean, and dry before being placed in recycling. Straws must be removed and thrown in the trash. Do not nest or stack cups together before recycling.


Plastic & Paper Cups

In some communities, certain types of plastic cups are accepted for recycling. Plastic cups are a single-use product mainly for cold beverages. Acceptable plastic cups include to-go, takeout, or fast-food cups. Additionally, in some communities, paper cups for hot and cold beverages are also accepted.


Tips to recycle plastic to-go, takeout or fast food cups:

  • Must be empty, clean, and dry before being placed in recycling.

  • Remove straws and place in the trash. Plastic lids can stay on plastic cups.

  • Do not nest or stack cups together before recycling.


Tips to recycle paper beverage cups:

  • Must be empty, clean, and dry before being placed in curbside recycling.

  • Remove plastic lids and straws. Place in the trash. No plastic lids on paper cups.

  • Do not nest or stack cups together before recycling.

 
Which recycling processors can accept some types of plastic cups and paper cups?

As of February 1, 2022, residents serviced by Rumpke Waste & Recycling and Waste Management can include some types of plastic cups and paper cups in their curbside recycling. See Rumpke's fact sheet about adding cups to recycling. See the list of communities below. 

Currently, Kimble Companies and Republic Services do not accept plastic cups or paper cups for recycling.


In Cuyahoga County, what communities can include plastic to-go cups and paper cups in their recycling?
 Brecksville   Maple Heights 
 Broadview Heights   North Randall  
 Brook Park  North Royalton
 Cleveland  Oakwood Village
 Cuyahoga Heights  Parma
 Gates Mills  Seven Hills
 Hunting Valley  Westlake
 Linndale  


See details about recycling cups, including curbside collection and drop off, in
your community.

 
What types of cups are not accepted?

Plastic party cups (Solo, Dixie, Hefty, Great Value, Up & Up or other brand) should be placed in the trash. If you don't want to throw plastic party cups in the trash, take advantage of a mail-back recycling program through TerraCycle.

Disposable cups made of Styrofoam or polystyrene, ceramic, and glass cups are not accepted.

 

What about other plastics? Can all plastics be recycled?

In Cuyahoga County, empty plastic bottles or jugs can go in your curbside recycling incuding water and soda bottles, shampoo bottles, milk, water and juice jugs, laundry detergent jugs and bleach bottles. Think containers with a “neck.” Bottles and jugs should be empty, clean and dry. Replace the cap and place in your curbside recycling.

Some communities in Cuyahoga County can recycle plastic tubs. See more about plastic bottles and jugs plus a list of other items.

 

Why can’t all plastics be recycled?

There is an abundance of plastic packaging in our society today and only about 9% of it can currently be recycled. This is due to limited markets for recycled plastic (not all manufacturers produce packaging from recycled plastic) and the complexities of sorting out the various kinds of plastic.

 

What are the alternatives?

Until there is a major shift in the demand for recycled materials and more sensible packaging design, consumers are limited in our recycling options. But we do have a choice now to reduce our consumption of single-use items. Small changes add up to less waste in our landfills and our environment. Consider these ideas for reducing waste.

Smoke Detectors

Smoke Detectors


Do not place smoke detectors in your recycling cart or bin. A smoke ionization detector can be returned to the manufacturer for proper disposal or you can legally dispose of it in the regular trash. 

Manufacturers of smoke detectors are mandated by the Nuclear Regulatory law 10 CFR 32.27 to see that the radioactive waste is disposed at a nuclear waste disposal facility.

When sending back a smoke detector, do not take it apart. Return the entire smoke detector by ground mail (not air mail). Before shipping, remove the batteries and place them in the trash. No special packaging is needed for your smoke detector. Just put it in a box, maybe with some newspaper for padding, and send it.

You must call the company before sending. Links for more details and phone numbers are listed below.

Kidde/Firex   (800) 880-6788
First Alert/BRK
(800) 323-9005 ext. 1
Honeywell   (800) 328-5111 ext. 4
USI Electric/Universal (800) 390-4321 ext. 238

Other private companies offer disposal services for a fee. See details.

If you are unable to return a smoke detector to the manufacturer, place it in the regular garbage for disposal. Smoke detectors are not accepted in the hazardous waste disposal program.

Flags

Flags


The U.S. flag, our national symbol, should not be placed in the regular rubbish. When a flag is so tattered that it no longer fits to serve as a symbol of the United States, it should be destroyed in a dignified manner.

The American Legion, Boy Scouts of America, Girl Scouts of the USA, National Sojourners, and other organizations regularly conduct dignified flag-burning ceremonies, often on Flag Day (June 14). Locally, American Legion Posts and other clubs collect flags for proper disposal. Find a location.

You can also mail your tattered flag to a flag disposal organization, such as Flag Keepers.

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Brecksville's American Legion Post has a drop box for distressed American flags at 7400 Chippewa Road.

Euclid has a drop box for the proper disposal of American flags. Flags can be placed in the drop box at City Hall during regular business hours.

 
Mayfield Village has a collection box for distressed flags in the Civic Center parking lot.

Orange Village has a U.S. flag drop box, open to the public the first Friday of every month from 7:00 AM-3:00 PM.

Parma's Stearns Homestead Farm has a flag drop box for proper disposal of American flags at 6975 Ridge Road.

The Solon VFW has a drop off for distressed flags at 6340 Melbury Avenue.

For more information about care and treatment of the U.S. flag, read information on the United States Flag Code. See details about care and destruction of a State of Ohio flag.

Mattresses

Mattresses


Currently, there are no local recycling options for mattresses. 

If you're having a new mattress delivered, pay the mattress removal fee so the old mattress is hauled away for disposal.

Sometimes mattresses can be donated if they are in good condition. The Cleveland Furniture Bank will accept good, used mattresses for reuse. Call (216) 459-2265.

If the mattress cannot be reused, and you didn't pay for haul-away service, contact your city service department about bulky waste pick-up or take the mattress to a waste transfer station for disposal. They will likely require you to wrap the mattress in plastic prior to disposal.

Packing Peanuts

Packing Peanuts


Styrofoam is a trade name for expanded polystyrene (EPS). Styrofoam is hard to recycle because it takes up so much space relative to its weight, so shipping it to a recycler does not provide much return on investment.

There are no recycling options for Styrofoam peanuts. Consider a reuse project at home, school or the workplace.

Participating locations of The UPS Store® accept clean foam packaging peanuts of all sizes, shapes, and colors for reuse. Contact The UPS Store® location nearest you for additional information.

If you choose not to reuse, place them in the regular trash for disposal.

See more about Styrofoam Blocks and Styrofoam Containers.

Pens

Pens


Do not place pens or other writing instruments in your curbside recycling.

TerraCycle offers national programs (Brigades®) to collect previously non-recyclable or hard to recycle waste including writing instruments. While some programs have a cost, most of the Brigades offer free shipping as well as a rebate or donation for each piece that you collect. Learn how the Terracycle Brigade programs work.

If no recycling options exist, place in the regular trash for disposal.

Phone Books

Phone Books


Recycle phone books in curbside or drop off recycling with other mixed paper products including newspaper, cardboard, boxboard, junk mail and magazines. See details about recycling mixed paper in your community.

Phone books can also be recycled at a local Paper Retriever bin or River Valley recycling bin
 Typically, these mixed paper drop off bins can be found in school or church parking lots. Your city service department may have a list of locations in your community.

The Solid Waste District's phone book recycling program in the Cleveland Metroparks was eliminated in 2013.

Learn more about recycling paper and boxes in Cuyahoga County.

Plastic Bags

Plastic Bags


Plastic bags, mesh food bags, pet food bags and plastic film should NOT be placed in your curbside recycling.

Bags and film get tangled in the sorting machines at the recycling facilities and cause major problems for the recycling process.

Plastic shopping bags can be recycled at many retail locations, including Giant Eagle, Lowe's Home Improvement, Marc's, Target and Walmart stores. Check with your local store to confirm the types plastic bags and film they will accept as the list may vary.

A collection bin can usually be found near the store entrance or the customer service desk. At the retail locations, recycle only clean, dry plastic bags and film. Remove receipts or any other items from bags.

In the store collection bin, recycle:

  • Retail, newspaper, dry cleaning, bread, produce, and other plastic bags labeled #2 and #4
  • Zip close food storage bags (clean and dry)
  • Furniture and electronics wrap
  • Plastic cereal box liners/cereal bags
  • Plastic shipping envelopes, bubble wrap and air pillows (remove all labels and deflate; no mixed materials envelopes)
  • Product wrap (used on paper towels, diapers, bathroom tissue, water bottles)
  • Any film packaging or bag that has the How2Recycle Label

For more details, a list of 'NO' items and a location search, visit www.plasticfilmrecycling.org 

Plastic bags are recycled into many different products. Most bags and film are turned into composite lumber, but they can be reprocessed into small pellets or post consumer resin, which can be used to make a variety of new products, such as new bags, pallets, containers, crates and pipe.

See more details about
how to recycle in Cuyahoga County or learn more about the recycling process.

See a printable PDF on the benefits of
choosing reusable bags.

Shredded Paper

Shredded Paper


Shredded paper should not be placed in your curbside recycling. Shreds are too small to be sorted properly at the materials recovery facility (MRF) that receives your recyclables. It falls through the recycling plant's fast-moving conveyor belts and ends up in the trash.

Instead, make sure that it gets recycled by placing shredded paper in paper bags and dropping off at a mixed paper recycling bin. The green and yellow public containers operated by Paper Retriever or River Valley Paper Company are typically located in the parking lots of schools, places of worship and community centers. These paper-only collection bins are hauled directly to a local mixed paper/fiber recycling plant.

Paper is the most recycled material in the U.S. You can recycle many other types of mixed paper in your curbside recycling.

Learn more about recycling drop offs, including for mixed paper, in your community.

Tires

Tires


When you buy new tires, dispose of your old tires at the place and time of purchase. There will be a small fee charged to cover the cost of disposing your old tires at a state licensed facility. If you already have tires at home, contact a tire retail store such as Conrad’s Tire Express, Firestone Auto Care, and National Tire and Battery. These may dispose of tires for non-customers. Also, your city may provide scrap tire collection. Check with your city service department.

In the State of Ohio, you must be registered with Ohio EPA to transport more than 10 tires at a time. If you have more than 10 tires, or have a large tire pile to be cleaned up, contact a registered tire transporter for disposal services. See our Business Recycling Directory for local companies or contact the Ohio EPA for a complete list of registered tire transporters.

Need to report an illegal tire dump? Did you see illegal dumping in Cleveland or a Cuyahoga County suburb? Call the Illegal Dumping Hotline at 216.664.DUMP.

Appliances

Appliances


Do not place appliances in your curbside recycling cart or bin. 

Appliances can be set out for recycling on your city's scheduled bulky waste collection day including refrigerators, stoves, microwaves and laundry units. See details for your community.

If you're having a new appliance delivered, consider paying the appliance removal fee so your old appliance is hauled away for recycling.

Best Buy also accepts some small appliances for free recycling. See a list of items. Best Buy also offers a Standalone Haul-Away Service for large appliances, TVs and all-in-one computers and monitors.

Large and small appliances can be recycled at local scrap yards. 
For a list of scrap metal recyclers, see our Business Recycling Directory.

Republic Services offers a pre-paid Electronics Recycling Mail-Back Program for small appliances, especially those containing rechargeable batteries

Water filters can be recycled through a mailback service. See www.recyclewaterfilters.com

Appliances with Freon (refrigerant)
  • Contact your city service department. Some communities provide Freon removal or contract with a private company for the service. Your community will provide instructions on how to place the refrigerant-containing appliance at the curb.
  • Some communities require you to have the Freon removed from refrigerators, air conditioners and dehumidifiers prior to pick-up. Locally, there are companies (Smylie One Heating & Cooling and Complete Appliance Service)  that will visit your home to remove the Freon and tag the item for scrap. There is a fee for this service. 
  • Many scrap yards can remove Freon from appliances before accepting it for recycling. There may be a small fee. Check with your local scrap yard. Scrap yards cannot accept an appliance without the proper tagging for Freon removal.
  • Have it hauled away by the new appliance delivery service.

Good, working appliances can be donated to local community service organizations that use the items to support their work. See a list of donation opportunities below.

Bicycles

Bicycles


The Ohio City Bicycle Co-op accepts donations of bicycles and any bike-related item including biking equipment, tools, clip-in pedals, shoes, and good seats. The co-op is located in Cleveland on the West Bank of the Flats. Call 216.830.2667 or visit www.ohiocitycycles.org.

Consider donating your good, used bicycle to another charity or shelter that sells or reuses goods to assist the organization's mission. For local donation opportunities, see the list below or request a copy of the book Pass It On: A Resource-Full Guide to Donating Usable Stuff.  You can also check out a full list of available publications from the District or use our Publication Request Form.

If a bicycle is beyond reuse or repair, it can be placed in the regular trash. Contact your city service department about bulky waste collection in your community. See details for your community.
 

Books

Books


General interest books in good condition can be donated to local libraries, schools and community centers.

Unwanted textbooks, including other hard cover and soft cover books, can be recycled at the paper drop off locations operated by River Valley Paper Company and Royal Oak Recycling. The books should be clean and dry before being placed in the paper bin. See a list of book recyclers in our Business Recycling Directory.

For local donation opportunities, see the list below or request a copy of the book Pass It On: A Resource-Full Guide to Donating Usable Stuff

Campaign Signs

Campaign Signs


Do not place unwanted campaign yard signs in curbside recycling.

Following an election, 
recycle unwanted campaign yard signs – plastic film, corrugated plastic and cardboard signs plus the metal stands – at the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District, 4750 East 131st Street in Garfield Heights. A drop box is in the lobby. Hours are Monday-Friday from 8:30-4:30. County offices, including the Solid Waste District, are closed on national holidays.

Your community may also collect campaign signs for recycling. Find details for your community.

Materials are recycled by Northcoast Recycling Specialists in Wickliffe.

The District has been collecting campaign signs since the 2012 general election.

Learn more about 
how to recycle in Cuyahoga County.

Clothing

Clothing


Do not include clothing and fabric in your curbside recycling. Cloth is a tangler that will tie up the sorting equipment at the recycling facility.

Donate usable clothing, fabric and other textiles to a charitable organization. Good, usable clothing can be dropped off at a collection bin or store that is operated by local charities. For local donation opportunities, see the list below or request a copy of the book Pass It On: A Resource-Full Guide to Donating Usable Stuff.

H&M has a garment-recycling initiative that allows customers to exchange any used garments, from any brand, in any condition, at every H&M store. For each bag of clothing donated, customers will receive a voucher worth 15% off of their next purchased item.

Zappos has a Blue Jeans Goes Green demin recycling program. See details about the mailback program.

Nike offers the Reuse-A-Shoe program. The company collects old, worn-out athletic shoes for recycling and transforms them into Nike Grind, a material used in creating athletic and playground surfaces as well as select Nike products. See a list of drop-off locations.

Teva accepts and recycles Teva brand sandals and flip-flops through the Terracycle's TevaForever mailback program. See details

Simple Recycling accepts textiles and cloth for recycling, including unusable clothing. Call (866) 835-5068. 

Computers & Electronics

Computers & Electronics


Computers and electronics can be recycled, but not in your curbside recycling cart or bin.

Most electronics contain valuable metals that can be recovered through a special drop-off recycling program. Items that can be recycled include desktops, towers, laptops, monitors, keyboards and peripherals, printers, modems, tablets, e-readers, telecom devices, networking equipment, cables, cell phones, ear buds and video game systems.

Residents can recycle unwanted computer equipment and peripherals at their city service department. Many of the 59 communities in Cuyahoga County offer year-round collection and recycling of computer equipment for their residents. Some hold seasonal collection events, typically in the spring or fall. Find details for your community. Most communities recycle computer equipment through RET3 job corp., a nonprofit computer recycler located on the east side of Cleveland.

Other electronics can be recycled through local e-waste companies and at retail locations. Best Buy and Staples allow customers to drop-off items in store for free. Small personal electronics (phones, tablets, GPS) can be dropped off for recycling at the Solid Waste District.

Republic Services offers a pre-paid Electronics Recycling Mail-Back Program, especially for items containing rechargeable batteries.

Televisions can be recycled for a fee. Learn more about televisions.

Looking to recycle other items? Use the "What Do I Do With?" search engine at the top of every page.

Are you a business? Businesses can see a list of computer and e-waste recyclers in our
Business Recycling Directory.

The locations listed below accept donations of good, working, usable electronics to maintain their facilities or help the organization's mission.

Holiday Lights

Holiday Lights


Do not place holiday lights (tanglers) in your curbside recycling. Tanglers, including holiday lights and power cords, cannot be recycled in your home recycling bin and will cause problems and shutdowns at the local recycling facility.

Recycle your broken, burned out strings of lights, power strips and power cords at the Solid Waste District. The District accepts strands of lights year-round at 4750 East 131 Street in Garfield Heights. Drop off light strings in the lobby during business hours Monday-Friday from  8:30 AM-4:30 PM. The District has collected and recycled holiday lights and light strings since 2012.

No bags or boxes in the recycling bin, please. Place items loose in our lobby drop box and take all bags, boxes and containers home with you. Light strings are recycled by a Cleveland company to benefit the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo Light for Lions program. Artificial trees, solar lights and outdoor spotlights are not accepted.

Some city service departments accept holiday lights from residents in the winter months. Find details for your community.

The 
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo collects Lights for Lions to support lion and cheetah conservation efforts. Drop off bins are at the Zoo gates from November 9-January 31.

During the Christmas season, retailers including Home Depot and Lowe's Home Improvement have collection bins for holiday lights. Check at your local store. 
Christmas Light Source and HolidayLEDs also offer recycling and rebate programs for strings of lights.

Paper Shredding Services

Paper Shredding Services


Do not place shredded paper in your curbside recycling. The pieces are too small to be recovered at the material recovery facility (MRF). Instead, drop shredded paper off at a designated paper collection bin.

Private, licensed shredding companies offer mobile or on-site document shredding to residents and businesses for a fee.

The UPS Store locations nationwide offer document shredding services. FedEx stores also offer shredding services.

Shred-It offers general document shredding Monday-Friday from 9:00 AM-4:00 PM at 55 Andrews Circle in BrecksvilleThere is a fee for this service. Call (440) 565-5750 or see their website for pricing and details.

Free seasonal shredding events are often hosted by local communities for their residents. Call your city hall or find details for your community.

The City of Cleveland offers free, year-round document shredding for residents at their service garage located at 5600 Carnegie Avenue. Hours are Monday-Friday from 9:00 AM-3:00 PM. Call (216) 664-3717 for more information.

Televisions

Televisions


Do not put televisions and other electronics in your curbside recycling.

In Ohio, there is no ban on placing televisions and electronics in the regular trash but recycling options do exist. Best Buy stores will recycle tube TVs (up to 28”), flat panel TVs (LCD, plasma, LED, smaller than 50") and portable TVs for a $25 fee per item. Many other types of electronics equipment are free. There is a limit of three TVs per household per day. Visit www.bestbuy.com/recycling.

UPCOMING COLLECTION EVENTS: The Solid Waste District holds seasonal collection events for televisions. There may be a fee for this service. In 2022, TV collection events will be held in March and October. Register here for the upcoming event or send an email for more information.

If you choose not to recycle your television, it can be placed in the regular trash for disposal. Check with your city service department or waste hauler for details about bulk waste collection. Depending on the size of the item, you may be required to take your television to a waste transfer station for disposal.

Learn more about recycling computers, mobile devices and other electronics.

Businesses with TVs or other electronics can recycle the items via local specialized companies. See a list in our Business Recycling Directory.

Trash

Trash


I have large amounts of garbage to dispose of and I can't put it at the curb. What do I do?

There are no operating landfills in Cuyahoga County. If you have excess debris or questions about service, contact your city service department about bulk waste pick-up in your community.

Several private companies will provide dumpsters or containers for large clean outs or you can deliver waste to a solid waste transfer station for a fee. See our list of waste transfer stations.

If you hire a rubbish removal company be sure to ask where the waste will be disposed and request dump tickets to make sure the waste was properly disposed at a landfill or transfer station rather than illegally dumped.

The Hoarding Connection of Cuyahoga County offers a list of resources for professional services and large scale cleanouts. See their website.

Pet Waste


Pet waste should be bagged and placed in the regular trash. The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District offers guidance about water quality and pet waste pick up. See the website to learn more and order Pick Up Poop yard signs.

Car Seats

Car Seats


Do not place car seats in curbside recycling.

Target and Walmart offer car seat takeback recycling events a few times a year. Check with your local store.

Terracycle, a company that manages hard-to-recycle items, offers a Baby Gear Zero Waste Box. Recycle any brand of old child safety car seat by ordering a recycling kit from the Car Seat Recycling Program. Clek car seats can be recycled directly through the manufacturers mailback program. See details.

University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital Injury Prevention Center no longer offers a car seat collection and recycling program.

If you cannot wait for a takeback event, car seats that are no longer in good, working condition should be placed in the regular trash for disposal. Car seat straps should be cut prior to disposal to render them useless.

Styrofoam™ Containers

Styrofoam™ Containers


Do not place Styrofoam containers in your curbside recycling. 

Food grade Styrofoam clamshell containers, cups, trays, coolers and egg cartons cannot be recycled in Northeast Ohio. These items should be disposed of in the regular trash. 

Foam cups may be recycled through Dart Container's drop-off program or mail-back service.

Cleveland-area Heinen's grocery stores discontinued the collection of Styrofoam food trays for recycling and they are no longer accepted at their stores. 

Learn more about Styrofoam Blocks and Packing Peanuts.

Are you a business? Businesses, restaurants and the food industry have limited recycling options for Styrofoam food trays, containers and cups. See a list in our Business Recycling Directory.