Master Recycler Program


The Master Recycler program offers participants an in-depth study of solid waste management including waste reduction, composting and recycling. The program works to create advocates for recycling who can apply their expanded knowledge to affect habits at home, work and in the community. Previously, this level of knowledge could only be achieved by working in the solid waste industry.

Individuals interested in the Master Recycler program must apply, interview and be accepted into the program. Participants are required to attend four tours and five lectures, and complete a volunteer requirement to earn the title of Certified Master Recycler in Cuyahoga County.

Print the flyer or download the application.

Congratulations to the Class of 2017 Master Recyclers! A graduation ceremony was held on January 10, 2019. See a video of their work.



  • Provide comprehensive training in solid waste management and related sustainability issues.
  • Increase overall understanding and participation in all SOLID WASTE DISTRICT programs.
  • Improve participant knowledge and skills to advocate for recycling and sustainability in their community and workplace.
  • Empower participants to reduce waste. 
  • Culture productive partnerships.
  • Develop volunteer educators that represent the District and its mission by providing service learning and volunteer opportunities 


  • 18 years or older. The District will consider a 17-year-old with a parent or designated guardian attending with them.
  • Residents of Cuyahoga County or individuals working in Cuyahoga County businesses and institutions.
  • Students attending college in Cuyahoga County.


  • Individual - $50
  • Business/corporate representative - $70
  • Guardian and student – $100 
Course fee covers the cost of fingerprinting and a background check, manuals and educational supplies plus classroom refreshments. The District does not profit from this fee.

Participant Requirements

We will accept applications by email, mail or in-person delivery. There is no deadline, but applicants should apply as soon as possible to ensure an interview for the current year’s class. If application is approved, full payment of course fee is due by the first lecture.

  1. Sign a District waiver form to participate in the program.

  2. Undergo a background check prior to the start of volunteering for the Solid Waste District. Master Recyclers represent the District and work with the public.

  3. Attend 20 hours of Master Recycler training including tours and lectures, complete knowledge assessments, evaluations and take home assignments.

  4. Complete at least 20 hours of volunteering,

  5. Participants can miss up to one lecture and one field trip. Missed hours can be made up by attending similar sessions with another organization, attending a workshop or tour offered by the Solid Waste District, or doing additional volunteer service. Proof of attendance may be requested. Master Recyclers are encouraged to attend a Compost Seminar and Bin Sale, especially if they would like to volunteer for that program.

A Master Recycler class graduation ceremony will be held at completion of the program.

Questions? Contact our education specialist at 216.443.3731 or send an email.

Course Schedule

Each year, the program begins in late August. Courses will consist of five lecture and four tour sessions for up to 20 hours of education.

Lectures will be scheduled in the evenings at the Solid Waste District in Garfield Heights. Sessions will start at 6:30 PM and end around 8:30 PM. In order to see recycling businesses in action, tours may be conducted during late afternoon hours. Tours may start at Solid Waste District to carpool or may require participants to drive directly to tour locations.

The lecture and tour sessions have been designed to complement each other. Master Recycler applicants are welcome to share suggestions of topics, speakers and tours. Upon completing the Master Recycler Course, all participants will complete a course evaluation. We are open to ideas and thoughts throughout the course to ensure it is meeting the needs of the group.



Lecture Sessions

Lectures will include several related topics and at least one guest speaker or panel of experts. They will incorporate a warm-up activity, active participation in weekly topic and discussion on previous take home actions. Topics may include:

  • Waste reduction ideas and methods
  • Material reuse and local programs
  • Recycling processes, programs and commodities 
  • Waste and history of waste management
  • Household hazardous waste management and substituting green alternatives
  • Solid waste management programs and services
  • Electronics, organics and other specialty recycling
  • Away from home recycling: event, office, multi-family, business, institutions and school recycling
  • Manufacturing with recycled content
  • Marketing and promotion of recycling and recycling programs
  • Volunteering opportunities


Tours can be several stops and includes speakers. We may conclude the tour portion by debriefing what we learned or what else the group would like to learn. Tours may include:
  • Landfill and/or transfer station
  • Material Recycling Facility and/or recycling processor 
  • Organic recycling and/or anaerobic digester
  • Electronics demanufacturer and recycler
  • Scrap yard
  • Reuse based businesses and businesses that have sustainability goals

Volunteering & Service Learning

Volunteer opportunities can include office assistance, adult outreach at compost seminars and other programs, assisting with shred days, collection and education events, representing the Solid Waste District at community events providing information or activity and wearing the mascot costume for events.

A minimum of 20 hours is required for graduation. There is no maximum.

To fulfill hour requirements, volunteer opportunities outside of the Solid Waste District program will be allowed, especially if they meet the District’s mission. These opportunities can include volunteer teaching at a church, youth group or school, starting a recycling or waste reduction program at work, church, or associated organization.

Any activity that meets the District’s mission and helps similar sustainability focused organization’s such as litter pick up, Zero landfill event, conducting a waste sort or hosting an American Recycles Day event.

The District anticipates that the majority of volunteer hours be completed following the Master Recycler coursework and tours. Volunteer hours are expected to be completed outside of the participant's regular activities and/or duties, including tasks required by your employer. We would like your hours to be above and beyond activities you would do anyway, and encourage experiences that are new or unique to the participant. This can still be done within or outside of your circles or community associations.

For more details about the Master Recycler program, contact our education specialist at 216.443.3731 or send an email.

Learn more about the District's education programs for Cuyahoga County.

our program graduates

Congratulations Master Recycler program graduates! We are pleased to announce that the following individuals are Certified Master Recyclers in Cuyahoga County.

Class of 2018

This class is currently in session and working towards their certification.

Class of 2017

Graduation ceremony: January 10, 2019 See the video

Stephanie Adams Johnson, Maple Heights
Claire Bruch, Cleveland
Roslyn Chao, Rocky River
Charlotte Cotter, Cleveland
Deltrece Daniels, Cleveland
Gary M. Darr, Lakewood
Danielle Doza, Cleveland
Sandy Lahti, Cleveland
Mariann Offtermatt, Cleveland Heights
Kaleigh O'Hara, Dayton
Siu Yan Scott, Euclid
Jim Watson, Cleveland

Class of 2016

Stacy Albin, Cleveland
Kelly Baker, Shaker Heights
Michelle Gugick, Highland Heights
Colleen King, Rocky River
Sara Jane Kukawka, Cleveland
Pamala Maruna, Sagamore Hills
Alice Orynycz, Broadview Heights
Lori Postak, University Heights
Emily Roll, Cleveland
April Schroeder, Chagrin Falls

Class of 2015

Esther D'Mello, Brecksville
Tami Egan, Berea
Alicia Hoskinson, Berea
Joanne Majoros, Maple Heights
Kathrine Morris, Cleveland
Kathy Osborne, Cleveland Heights
Elizabeth Smith, Pepper Pike
Susan Vincent, Cleveland

Class of 2014

Richard Deem, Fairview Park
Sandy Deem, Fairview Park
Sarah Dudziak, Garfield Heights
Mel Hauser, Berea
Cheryl Johnson, Solon
Cathi Lehn, Mayfield
Kim Mulhall, Middleburg Heights
Brenda O'Reilly, Bay Village
Jane Pierce, Highland Hills
Linda Sadler, Beachwood
Christopher Thomas, Westlake
Ken Wainwright, Fairview Park
Michelle Wilhelm, Middleburg Heights
Maureen Wise, Bedford
Tim Zaun, Westlake


Class of 2013

Sharon Bair, Cleveland
Christy Bartley, Cleveland 
Karen Braun, Westlake 
Lenore Collins, Keep It Out of the Landfill blog
Veronica Dickerson, National Park Service
Heather Dougherty, Lakewood
Jennifer Drehner, Baldwin Wallace
Melinda Franco, Cleveland
Heidi Paul, Magnificat High School 
Julie Richer, Garfield Heights
Erica Robinson, Famicos Foundation
Janine Robb, Brook Park
Katharyne Starinsky, Shaker Heights
Karen Thailing, Chagrin Falls

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