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Residential Recycling Report: How Green is Cuyahoga County?

Jessica Fenos

The District publishes the Residential Recycling Report annually to demonstrate how community recycling efforts add up to help us get closer to a world without waste.

The report documents the recycling habits of Cuyahoga County’s 59 communities and shows the amount of material collected for recycling. This includes cans, cartons, glass, paper and plastic, along with other recycling, such as textiles, computers, tires and yard waste collected for mulching and composting. These materials add up to waste that was diverted from landfills and recovered for reuse and recycling which, in turn, saves cities and residents money.

How much is all that recycling equivalent to? 

Cuyahoga County communities recycled 265,210 tons, or approximately one third, of their nearly 734,000 tons of residential waste generated in 2016. This is equivalent to removing annual emissions from 64,914 passenger vehicles, conserving 37,114,341 gallons of gasoline, and conserving the energy from 16,363 households.

When it comes to recycling, there is not only an environmental savings, but also a financial savings.  With an average landfill tip fee of $40 per ton, the cost to landfill those same materials would have amounted to more than $10 million. This is money saved that communities may allocate towards other things, such as road repairs and other essential projects where there may not have otherwise been funding.

Why is recycling important?

Recycling is an important activity to conserve natural resources, save energy in manufacturing, create jobs and reduce landfilling. The District encourages all residents to participate in waste reduction and recycling where they can.

Why is the recycling report important?

The District collects, analyzes and reports Cuyahoga County’s residential recycling data, along with other information regarding trash and recycling programs to allow both the District and the communities to identify trends and evaluate the effectiveness of the current recycling programs. This, in turn, often leads to a dialog to develop strategies that could assist with improving participation or even create new programs.

The Residential Recycling Report is more than just a report. It also acts as a tool that we can use to get community leaders and residents thinking about their recycling impact.  Each year, my hope for the Residential Recycling Report is that the results will not only spark healthy competition between communities, but also lead to more conversations about the importance of recycling and composting and how everyone can benefit from implementing these programs successfully.

It is an opportunity for community engagement which is what is most needed to keep us moving toward a world without waste.

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