Consortium saves Cleveland Heights and University Heights on recycling costs

Cleveland Heights and University Heights are among 12 eastern suburbs that have joined together to form a recycling consortium that will enable them to save money, and even turn a small profit, on recycled goods. The idea originated in Lyndhurst, and Cleveland Heights and University Heights became involved through the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District. Through the consortium, cities can actually make money on their recycling and, more importantly, avoid having to pay for recycling. In the past, it has cost the city of Cleveland Heights up to $26 a ton to recycle, according to Council Member Bonnie Caplan. The new contracts, with Kimble Co. of Twinsburg, guarantee cities will not have to pay for recycling in the next five years.

Caplan explained that each city has its own contract with Kimble Co., which will purchase the recyclables. This gives the city some flexibility and allows for Cleveland Heights to opt out of sending its paper recyclables through Kimble, if there is a better financial option.

The amount of money the city can receive for recycled goods is variable, based on market price. For example, last month Cleveland Heights earned $3,800 on blue bag recyclables. Of course, the amount of money the city makes also depends on how much the residents recycle. “It hurts me to see that people don’t have brown bags out, blue bags out,” Caplan lamented.

Recycling is one of the simplest ways to help the environment, and everything people do not to recycle ends up in a landfill. In terms of city finances, it is also important to note that the city has to pay for every ton of garbage it puts in a landfill. With the new consortium, the city will pay nothing for what residents recycle. Caplan commented that residents should keep this in mind especially during the holiday season when so much gift material can be recycled rather than put in the trash.

Marissa Williams is a graduate student at the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences and an intern at FutureHeights.

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Volume 3, Issue 12, Posted 12:19 PM, 11.19.2010