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Recycling Guidelines

Following are recycling guidelines for Shaker Heights. 

What Belongs in Your Residential Recycling Container?

Five-gallon buckets are used for Shaker's recycling program. Please call Public Works at 216-491-1490 to request your free buckets.


  • Plastic bottles and jugs (items with a neck/opening that is narrower than the body)
  • Milk and juice cartons, soup and juice boxes
  • Steel and aluminum cans
  • Glass bottles and jars
  • Cardboard boxes, flattened
  • Mixed paper, junk mail, magazines, catalogs
  • Boxboard, flattened (like cereal boxes, toilet paper tubes, cracker boxes, etc.)

And follow these guidelines when recycling them:

  • NEVER bag your recyclables. NEVER. EVER.
  • Place comingled, loose (NOT in a bag) recyclables in recycling bucket
  • Empty and rinse all containers
  • Leave the caps and lids on
  • Request free recycling buckets by calling Public Works at 216-491-1490


Anything that's not on the above list, including:

  • 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

Due to the changing recycling market, the list of what is acceptable will change from time to time.

Want to know the biggest threat to the entire recycling program? A contaminated recycling stream (non-recyclables mixed in with recyclables).


ShakeRecycles logoCan't figure out what to do with a certain item? Visit or get the ShakeRecycles app to learn how to recycle some of the items not allowed in your residential recycling bucket (use the Waste Wizard).





Why does it seem that lately more and more materials are not recyclable?

Until recently, most plastics recycled in the United States were sent to China. But as of January 2018, China began enforcing its "National Sword" policy, which bans 24 types of solid waste, including mixed plastics and mixed papers. It also sets a much tougher standard for contamination levels for the materials China does still accept. This has left communities across the United States in a bind, as the market for certain recyclables has constricted considerably. Unfortunately, that's meant more plastics — including some that were once recyclable — must go in the trash.

It's also meant that recycling facilities — including those that process recyclables from Cuyahoga County — are cracking down on contamination. Communities throughout the County, including Shaker Heights, must lower contamination levels or risk fines and/or their recyclables being sent to the landfill. 

This article helps explain the current crisis:

Why do plastics have numbers inside recycling symbols if they’re not recyclable?

A number inside a recycling symbol does not mean an item should be tossed into your recycling bucket. The numbers on plastic containers are resin codes used by the plastics industry to identify the type of plastic used to make the container. Unfortunately, given the current problems in the recycling market (see above) not all plastics with the 1-7 symbol are recyclable at this time. As of August 2018, residents should only recycle plastic bottles and jugs. If it has an opening or a neck that's more narrow than the body), it can be placed in recycling.

Can some materials not allowed in a residential recycling bucket be recycled elsewhere?

In some cases, yes. For example, area stores — includng Giant Eagle, Whole Foods, and Target — accept plastic bags and plastic film for recycling (visit View our community recycling events for opportunities to recycle computer equipment and shredded paper. TerraCycle is another way to recycle many items not allowed in your in-home recycling container.

How can I keep up?

CCSWD logoWe recommend following the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District on TwitterFacebook or Instagram for ongoing advice and information about recyling in our region. You can also find helpful information about how to recycle correctly in Cuyahoga County, including here in Shaker, at 


Recycling Q&A (PDF) — This informative Q&A provides answers to many questions about the current state of recycling, plus offers easy guidelines for how to recycle correctly.

Recycling Guidelines (PDF) — A one-page guide to what belongs (and what doesn't belong) in your recycling bucket. (Note, since this PDF was created guidance on plastics has changed; please recycle ONLY plastic bottles and jugs.)

We Have a Contamination Situation (PDF) — When a recycling bucket is too contaminated, we often have no option but to throw everything in the trash. A one-page guide to common recycling contaminants. Also, check out another Contamination Situation graphic published in Shaker Life magazine.

Last updated: August 17, 2018


The City's former Director of Health Scott Frank notes the following:

"Because of the age of the housing stock in Shaker Heights, families should be vigilant about lead exposure. Overall, there has been a dramatic decrease in lead poisoning among children in Shaker Heights over the past several decades.* While the primary source of lead is from dust or paint chips arising from lead paint, water has become an increasingly questioned source of lead exposure."

*Lead testing is done routinely once a year at ages one and two in children who live in high risk neighborhoods. If those tests are negative, doctors usually stop doing them on a routine basis. If parents have concerns, they should ask their doctor explicitly for lead testing.

Cleveland Water has very effective treatments that remove lead and minimize leaching of lead from pipes that may be in your home. Certain precautions are listed on the door hanger and should be taken in neighborhoods where waterline replacement is underway, since work “could cause a temporary increase in lead” in the drinking water.

Cleveland Water provides detailed information about lead pipes and the safety of the water supply on their website:

If you are concerned about lead in your water, further information about "point-of-use" water filtration can be accessed through links provided below.

All questions should be directed to the Cleveland Water Lead Inquiry line at 216-664-2882.

Additional information:

Lead in Shaker: Shaker Heights Community Forum, July 11, 2016:

Types of Point-of-Use Devices for Lead Reduction (Minnesota Department of Health)

Lead in Drinking Water – FAQ (Water Quality Association)

Certified Product Listings for Lead Reduction (National Sanitation Foundation) 

Recycling Events


All events take place at the Service Center (15600 Chagrin Blvd.).

Community Shredding Days, 9 AM-1 PM
April 28
October 6

Bring up to three bankers boxes of paper for shredding. No need to remove staples or other binding devices. Driver's license and proof of residency (e.g. current utility bill) required. 

Computer Round-Up, 8 AM-4 PM
April 7-8
April 14-15
August 11-12
August 18-19

Recycle CPUs, monitors, keyboards, mice, printers, terminals, modems, cables, software, cell phones, and cell-phone accessories.

Habitat for Humanity Restore, 9 AM-1 PM
May 19

Donate usable household and construction items to Habitat for Humanity. The organization will take furniture, as well as construction/renovation materials, tools, kitchen cabinets, sinks, doors, vanities, plumbing and electrical materials, appliances, countertops. Please no paint, clothing, or bedding.

Household Hazardous Waste Round-Up, 8 AM-4 PM
May 5-6
May 12-13
September 15-16
September 22-23

Safely dispose of oil or solvent-based paints, sealers, primers, varnishes, polyurethanes, shellacs, spray paints, automotive fluids, kerosene, gasoline, lighter fluid, pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, paint thinners, mineral spirits, turpentine, caustic household cleaners, adhesives, roof tar, driveway sealer, and mercury. NO latex paint or materials from businesses will be accepted.

Phone Books may be recycled with your paper.

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Service Center
15600 Chagrin Blvd.

Snow Collection

After the unusually harsh winter of 2013-14, the City evaluated how to improve conditions during winter weather events to make the City easily passable by car or bike, and on foot.

With more than 300 miles of streets and sidewalks to clear, winter presents unique challenges in a densely populated city like ours. We ask that you join us in efforts to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of our snow-clearing operations.

Here is an overview of snow-clearing operations and policies. For more detailed information, please visit the Snow Policies FAQ.

Parking Ban

The City enacted a Parking Ban effective November 27, 2014 on residential streets when snow exceeds two inches. The law enables plows to clear snow from the streets so that cars and emergency vehicles can move through the City safely and efficiently.

Sidewalk Clearing

City ordinance (Ordinance 743.01) requires residents to clear sidewalks, including corner property curb ramps, of snow, ice, and slush by 9 am the day after a snowfall. If snow on the sidewalks reaches at least six inches, the City will plow after streets are cleared and when crews are available.

Fire Hydrants vs. Snow

During winter months when the snow and ice piles high, Shaker’s 1,500 fire hydrants often are buried.

If you are able, please clear snow from around hydrants and avoid shoveling snow on top of them so that fire crews can quickly gain access during an emergency.

However, if fire hydrants are buried in snow and you are unable to dig them out, don’t worry! The Shaker Heights Fire Department has detailed maps indicating the specific locations of all hydrants. In the event of a fire where a hydrant is not immediately accessible, each truck is equipped with 700 gallons of water – enough to fight a fire for approximately 10 minutes – while crews simultaneously dig out the closest hydrant.

Private Snow Plow Operators

Homeowners are responsible for clearing their own driveways. Snow removal contractors must be registered with the Police Department, display a permit and adhere to guidelines about where snow may be deposited. View a list of registered snow plow operators.

Snow plow operators should bring a completed application to the Police Department to register.

(See FAQ: What are the restrictions where snow can be deposited by shovel, snowblower or snow plow?) If you see a contractor violating the snow removal rules, call 216-491-3292.

City street plowing will result in some snow pushed onto driveway aprons, which homeowners need to clear.

Public Snow Plowing

The City is responsible for keeping more than 100 miles of roadway cleared of snow. Roads are plowed in this order of priority: main streets, streets around the schools, side streets.

Sensible Salting Practices

Along with other communities, the City uses Sensible Salting Practices to minimize damage to roads and to the environment, and to save overtime and salt costs. A combination of sensible salting and frequent plowing keeps roads safe and passable. Sensible salting means:

  • No salt is used between midnight and 4 am
  • Only key areas and intersections are salted during heavy snow events
  • Limited use of salt on secondary and side roads

How to Recycle Holiday Items

Do not recycle wrapping paper. Recycling best practices change frequently and we've learned the heavy dyes, wax coatings, and additives (such as glitter) in wrapping paper contaminate
the quality of paper recycling. Throw wrapping paper in the trash — do not burn it in the fireplace. 

Boxes and cartons should be flattened and may be disposed of in the same way as paper and put out for weekly collection. Large containers may be flattened and taken to the Service Center at 15600 Chagrin Blvd. on Saturdays or Sundays from 8 AM to 4 PM for recycling.  

Styrofoam block packaging can be recycled at the Service Center. Note: styrofoam packing peanuts and food trays can't be recycled through Shaker's program. The UPS Store at 16781 Chagrin Blvd., Shaker Towne Centre will accept packing peanuts.

String lights can be taken to the Solid Waste District in Garfield Heights. See details.

Christmas trees should be placed on the tree lawn. Do not wrap the tree in anything. Trees are collected and ground up for compost and mulch.

Visit ShakeRecycles for more information on recycling in Shaker.

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Service Center
15600 Chagrin Blvd.

Saturday, August 18, 2018


summer 2018 cover website

Visit the online home of Shaker Life magazine.