By Nicole Hennessy
With stacks of specially printed 2011 statistics piled on a back table at the Fairview Park City Hall Sept. 19, Diane Bickett, executive director of the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District, explained proposed changes for the next 15-year plan, updated formally every five years.
Here are a few of the 2011 statistics:
• 1,081,941 tons of waste were diverted from landfills through recycling, composting and other waste reduction activities
• 399 recycling programs were conducted at schools, businesses and for the general public
Here’s how Westshore cities did in terms of recycling as of 2011:
• Bay Village recycled 57 percent of the 6,527 tons of solid waste it disposed of
• Fairview Park recycled 25 percent of the 8,440 tons of solid waste it disposed of
• Lakewood recycled 49 percent of the 16,369 tons of solid waste it disposed of
• North Olmsted recycled 47 percent of the 10,792 tons of solid waste it disposed of
• Olmsted Falls recycled 25 percent of the 3,572 tons of solid waste it disposed of
• Rocky River recycled 36 percent of the 8,919 tons of solid waste it disposed of
• Westlake recycled 33 percent of the 15,319 tons of solid waste it disposed of
Mayor Eileen Patton, who sat in the back listening intently, said she expects Fairview’s percentage has already increased. Having taken advantage of grants made available by the district, services such as paper shredding are offered to the community.
With one mass shredding in the spring and one in the fall, the next opportunity for residents to get rid of their old papers will be from 9 a.m. until noon Saturday behind City Hall.
She said grant money also allowed them to design a magnet “that has all the rules of recycling (and) a reminder to recycle.”
With other initiatives similar to this, including composting, Patton hopes to increase the city’s recycling numbers, and says she is so desperate that she drives up and down streets counting the recycling bins that are out, tallying houses that do not put them on the curb.
“Then I say, ‘Well, why aren’t they doing it?’” she explained. “If I happen to know the people, I’ll ask.”
As the presentation of facts and statistics continued, more programs funded in 2011 were recounted in areas of grants, municipal services, special waste collections, education and recycling.
Then Bickett encouraged the small number of attendees to flip through the synopsis of the updates proposed to take effect next year.
One of the topics emphasized throughout the talk was composting.
“Making compost reduces the amount of methane produced in landfills,” Bickett said, explaining that organics – any food or plant materials – can be used as fertilizer.
In the summary’s proposed update, it says that the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District is the most populated and urbanized district in Ohio, and produces 2,551,482 tons of waste each year – about 11 pounds per person per day.
“The District projects that waste generation will slightly increase during the 15-year planning period as the economy improves, and more goods are consumed,” it continues.
One of the ways to combat this waste is to explore technology that turns it into energy, which Cleveland is already looking into.
A new program to be offered is districtwide education and branding.
“‘You guys do great work,’” Bickett recited from an e-mail she received, “‘but nobody knows who you are.’”
For the plan to go through, every council or board of township and village trustees in the county must vote in favor. This is a total of 17 votes.
For more information visit http://www.cuyahogaswd.org/ or call 216-443-3749.