Plan to Reduce Your Recycling Stress

Doreen Schreiber

Learn how to avoid last-minute recycling and disposal stress when you plan. We’ll show you how.

We hear from all types of people who need to move stuff from point A to point B in a hurry. We hear from homeowners who need to do big clean-outs before their big move-outs. We hear from businesses that are moving or closing and need to donate furniture and office equipment and dispose of hazardous waste. We hear from frantic contractors who need to get rid of concrete, asphalt, shingles, or some other construction debris.

Most of these folks are pretty stressed by the time they reach us here at the Solid Waste District. The reason? Lack of planning. Nearly every person I speak with is working at the last minute to dispose of or donate a large amount of stuff and because it’s the last minute, options are limited. Many of the local waste disposal facilities, including for trash, yard waste, and construction debris, close earlier in the day. Callers panic when they learn this information too late. And, places that take donations often have waiting periods of up to several weeks to a month for pick-up.

Planning early is key.

Planning early, including finding answers for disposal and recycling options, gives you time and choices. Time to decide what to do with your stuff and choices of where to dispose of waste or divert items from the landfill. Planning equals landfill diversion. Waiting until the last minute may equal a dumpster going to the landfill. Can we all agree this is not what we want?

For example, if you’re running a business, better planning will result in more items being donated or sold and less going to the landfill. Of course, this results in a cost savings to the business.  I’ve had callers who have weeks to a month to empty their building and are very appreciative of all the resources I give them because then they have time to plan, schedule, and choose what they are going to do with their items.

Another type of caller we get is moving out of their house. They have waited until the last minute to call us as they are moving sometime that week. They wish to get rid of their household hazardous waste but their city service department does not have a collection at the time. I informed them to leave a note for the new homeowner with instructions on when the next collection will be for those items.

The last type of caller is cleaning out an entire house for various reasons.  Sometimes they have months and sometimes they have days to accomplish this simply through no fault of their own.

I have cleaned out three homes completely without ever using a dumpster – all by using the resources on the CuyahogaRecycles.org website.  However, for each home, this was done over several months. Others are not so fortunate as to have this much time and must call a hauling company to take everything away.  In this case, several haulers recycle what they can and take the rest to a transfer station, if they can fit you in their schedule.

The bottom line is whenever possible, make a plan to reduce your recycling stress.