- Cans: Includes all metal food and beverage cans such as pop, beer, soup, vegetable, and tuna. Cans should be emptied and rinsed.
- Cartons: Includes milk, juice, soup/broth, and wine cartons. Cartons should be emptied and rinsed. Replace the cap.
- Glass: Includes glass food and beverage bottles and jars. Empty, rinse, and replace the lid. You do not need to remove the label.
- Paper and boxes: All paper and boxes can be recycled, including newspapers, magazines, junk mail, shipping boxes, greeting cards, cereal boxes, cardboard, phone books, and clean pizza boxes. Flatten cardboard boxes (make sure all shipping materials are removed).
- Plastic bottles and jugs: Includes any plastic bottle or jug (items with a neck/opening that is narrower than the body). Containers should be emptied and rinsed. Replace the cap.
And follow these guidelines when recycling:
- Never bag your recyclables, never ever.
- Place comingled, loose (not in a bag) recyclables in your recycling bucket
- Empty and rinse all containers
- Leave the caps and lids on
- Request free recycling buckets by emailing Public Works.
The guidelines for recycling in Cuyahoga County (including what's recyclable) are determined by the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District in partnership with our region's recycling facilities. For detailed information and answers to many questions about recycling in Cuyahoga County, please visit Cuyahoga Recycles.
The following articles help explain the current recycling crisis in the U.S., including here in Northeast Ohio.
Is This the End of Recycling? The Atlantic, March 2019.
University Circle Inc. gets a lesson in the modern recycling business Crain's Cleveland, April 2019.
Just because an item is NOT on this list does not mean it's recyclable. The following is a list of common contaminants.
- Aluminum foil, baking trays, pie plates
- Plastic bags and plastic wrap
- Plastic clamshell containers (including those used for produce, prepared foods, and take-out items)
- Plastic egg cartons
- Styrofoam (including no meat trays, no Styrofoam egg cartons)
- Single-use plastic food packaging (including yogurt containers, prepared food packaging, etc.)
- Single-use cups, plates, utensils, or straws
- Paper plates or cups (note: plastic lids for coffee cups are also not recyclable)
- Paper, plastic or Styrofoam take-out containers
- Frozen food containers
- Greasy pizza boxes
- Food scraps
- Pots, pans, or ceramics
- Glass and ceramic drinking glasses
- Napkins or paper towels
- Plastic or metal hangers
- Wrapping paper
Threats to the Recycling Program
Want to know the biggest threat to the entire recycling program? A contaminated recycling stream (non-recyclables mixed in with recyclables).
When in doubt, throw it out. We know it's painful, but we must keep the recycling stream clean.
Can't figure out what to do with a certain item? Visit Cuyahoga Recycles to learn how to recycle some of the items not allowed in your residential recycling bucket (use the WHAT DO I DO WITH? search box).