There are many ways to live and work more sustainably in Shaker Heights, whether it's recycling right or planting a tree, charging your EV or composting your food waste.
This guide is designed to help residents and business owners connect with City and regional programs that can help. Click on a topic in the tabs to get started.
View a recent video about sustainability in Shaker Heights.
Questions? Want to learn more?
- Residents can sign up for a Community Supported Composting program offered by Rust Belt Riders, which composts all household food scraps and BPI Certified products. Learn more.
- Residents may also install compost bins in their yards. Please note, a one-time, free permit (PDF) is required. Learn to compost at a Cuyahoga Recycles Composting Workshop.
- Residential yard waste (grass, leaves, etc.) is composted by the City. View the guidelines for preparing your yard waste for collection by City crews.
- Leave the Leaves:
- Instead of raking (or blowing) leaves to the tree lawn each fall, consider leaving all or some of your leaves in place to provide important habitat for beneficial insects, including butterflies and other pollinators.
- Additionally, residents can mulch mow leaves into their lawn, which is a great way to fertilize your lawn naturally (and for free).
Solar panels on a Shaker Heights home. Scroll down to learn more about installing solar.
“The cheapest form of electricity is through energy conservation.” A typical home energy audit costs $283 to $425, depending on the square footage of the home, but can save from 5 to 30 percent of your energy bills and reduce your household carbon footprint. View additional information and recommendations.
Shaker residents in the City’s electric aggregation program — offered by NOPEC — are automatically enrolled in a "Standard Program" plan that comes from 87 percent fossil fuel and nuclear power and only 13 percent from renewable sources such as wind and solar. But for a minimal additional charge, residents can request that NOPEC switch them to one of their 100 percent renewable products (the most convenient of which is called “the Standard program + 100% renewable content”) by calling 855-667-3201.
Residents can also compare costs of plans from other electric suppliers, including those that offer 100 percent renewable power, at the Energy Choice Website.
Adding solar to your home or business directly reduces your carbon footprint, as you are displacing fossil fuels with a renewable source of energy for your property.
Shaker Heights is a solar-friendly community. The following resources are available to help residents get started:
- Read Demystifying Solar from the Spring 2021 issue of Shaker Life.
- Read the Planning Dept.'s solar installation guide to learn more about the process of installing solar in Shaker Heights.
- Join the Solar in Shaker Facebook group to ask questions of residents who have already completed solar installations.
- Make an appointment with an expert member of the City's Sustainability Committee to receive a free exterior inspection of your property and advice about the feasibility of solar.
The City no longer uses synthetic fertilizers/herbicides/pesticides on fields or in parks and playgrounds — and you don’t need to either! Get started with a sustainable approach to your lawn with the resources below:
- Caring for your lawn sustainably isn’t more difficult than caring for a lawn with synthetic products, but there are some differences. For example:
- Use organic weed preventers, such as corn gluten in early spring.
- Use organic fertilizer, such as Espoma Organic, to feed your lawn.
- Mow high and water less.
Get expert step-by-step advide in this article (or Google organic lawn care).
- Prefer to outsource this task? Many residents — and the City — use Good Nature Organic Lawn Care.
- Go electric with your lawn-care tools. Lawnmowers, blowers, trimmers … all are now available in low-cost electric powered versions. Sign up for a 100 percent renewable electric program [link to NOPEC info] and feel good knowing that your lawn care tools are sustainably powered.
A great way to be more sustainable in your garden is to plant natives. Plants that are native to Ohio help support our community's ecosystem, including our pollinators. Many local nurseries now carry a selection of natives. The Cuyahoga Soil and Water Conservation District also sells native seeds and plants, as does the Nature Center at Shaker Lakes during it's annual plant sale (typically held in early May).
Grow Not Mow
The City is piloting a Grow Not Mow program on certain parcels of public land. Learn more about this effort.
The City of Shaker Heights offers weekly recycling services, in addition to regular recycling events.
- View the City’s recycling guidelines for details on what's recyclable and how to prepare your recycling for collection by City crews.
- Residents and business owners may also bring their recyclables to the Service Center (15600 Chagrin Blvd.) on Saturdays and Sundays, 8 am-4 pm. This includes residents living in apartments that do not provide recycling services.
- The City hosts a regular series of recycling events at the Service Center, which will help you recycle items you cannot include in your recycling bucket. Learn more about these events.
What's recyclable is determined by the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District in collaboration with the region's recycling facilities. Learn more about recycling in our region — including how to recycle items that do not belong in your City recycling bucket — at Cuyahoga Recycles.
Pass It On: A Resource-Full Guide to Donating Usable Stuff. Find over 140 area organizations that accept donations of toys, household goods, clothing, pet supplies, and other items.
Stormwater that falls in Shaker Heights runs off our roofs, driveways and roads into our sewer system, then into the Doan Brook and eventually into Lake Erie. Unfortunately, this runoff picks up pollutants along the way, which end up in our watershed, including the Shaker Lakes. You can help by diverting some of the stormwater that falls on your property away from the sewer system. Bonus: If you divert enough stormwater, you can get a credit on your monthly sewer bill.
Here are two ways to divert stormwater at your home:
- Install a rain barrel, which collects stormwater from your roof for you to use in your garden. You can purchase rain barrels at local retailers or make your own at a workshop organized by local organizations, including the Nature Center at Shaker Lakes.
- Install a rain garden, which also uses the stormwater from your roof. Learn how to design and install a rain garden with the Cuyahoga County Soil and Water Conservation District Learn more about these and other ways to reduce your sewer bill — including vegetative strips and pervious pavements.
Residents who take these or other certain steps to reduce storm water run off on their property -- including pervious pavers and vegetative strips -- are eligible to receive a credit on their monthly bill from the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District.
The Doan Brook Watershed Partnership is offering FREE stormwater consultations for Shaker residents. Sign up here.
Help restore Northeast Ohio's tree canopy by planting trees on your property.
- Wondering what to plant? The Tree Selection Guide (PDF) by the Cleveland Tree Coalition is a great place to start.
- Heights Tree People is collaborating with the City on the Free Front Yard Tree Program, which is designed to help homeowners select and plant front-yard trees. The service is free. Email Heights Tree People for additional information.
- Visit the ODNR's Urban Forestry Toolbox to learn more about the benefits of trees for cities like Shaker Heights -- and the importance of caring for our urban forest.
Shaker businesses can take advantage of many (or most) of the same programs offered to residents. Here are some additional resources:
Businesses can sign up for commercial container composting service offered by Rust Belt Riders, which composts food scraps and BPI Certified products. Learn more.