Lakewood OH

City asks residents to think outside the box when it comes to recycling

By Sue Botos
Rocky River

With the cost of hauling materials to landfills rising, recycling is becoming a necessity. In response, city officials are hoping residents will consider options other than the trash can when it comes to refuse disposal.
Safety service Director Mary Kay Costello announced at a recent City Council session that the city’s landfill provider has increased costs 85 cents per ton, representing a two-percent hike which will take effect this month. The last increase, she said, was two years ago.
Since 2013, residents have been able to commingle materials such as glass, aluminum, plastic and paper in blue recycling bags, and as a result have been more responsive to recycling, according to Mayor Pam Bobst. Although the city keeps about 40 percent of its waste out of landfills, above the county average of 35 percent, she implied there is room for improvement.
Fabric, said Costello, should not be included in the blue bags, which are sent to the Republic Waste recycling center. “Clothing is the number one item that clogs the (sorting) machines at the Oberlin MRF (material recovery facility),” she stated.
Used clothing can be dropped off at the white AmWare bins located at City Hall and the city service garage on Lake Road. “We get about a penny a pound. It adds up to a good cost savings because it doesn’t go to the landfill,” stated Costello. The Cleveland-based AmWare sorts fabrics, donating usable clothing and repurposing other materials.
Another option for clothing, shoes and household items will soon be available, according to Bobst, who announced the city will soon be launching “Simple Recycling,” a curbside repurposing program. Utilized by several neighboring communities, residents can fill a specified green bag with unwanted items, in any condition, and place it on the curb during regular trash pickup days. The full bag will then be replaced with an empty one.
“It will help remove tons of items from the waste stream and landfill,” Bobst remarked, adding that the program will be discussed in further detail in the near future. She said there would be no charge to the city for the service, run by Republic Waste.
In addition, since 2015, city crews will not pick up cardboard unless it is flattened and placed in a blue bag. Costello has said this measure was put in place partly because intact cardboard boxes are difficult for the city’s trash scooters to carry. (Rocky River is one of 21 communities in Cuyahoga County
operating its own waste collection service. Another 38 contract with private haulers.)
Residents can also dispose of cardboard and paper at several bins located at City Hall and at the service garage.
According to city officials, nine to ten tons of paper and cardboard are collected during an average week, with more piling up during holidays. The city receives about $30 a ton for cardboard.
Residents can also drop off trash and yard waste at the city transfer station, 22401 Lake Road, on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and on Saturday from 8 a.m. until noon. Photo identification must be presented at each visit and contractor and landscaper waste is prohibited.
For more information about city recycling programs and trash collection, go to



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