CH rolls out new refuse and recycling program

Cleveland Heights launched its new, automated refuse and recycling collection program in mid-April, distributing thousands of new refuse and recycling carts to every residence in the city. By now, all residents should have received their carts, and begun using them.

The program's benefits go beyond making the city's streets cleaner and more attractive. Automated collection is a single-sort recycling system, in which one must only determine whether an item is recyclable and place it in the appropriate cart—no extra sorting is necessary.

Automated collection is faster, more efficient, and safer for city employees, too, and should help reduce the environmental impact of Cleveland Heights’ waste.

The green cart is for garbage going to the landfill. EVERYTHING that goes in the green cart should be in a trash bag.

The blue cart is for recyclables. Recyclables should NEVER be put in bags. Plastic bags can obstruct the recycling machinery and may cause the city to be fined. Instead, rinse off all plastic, glass and metal containers, and cut and flatten cardboard. Then, place the recyclable items loosely in the blue cart.

Cleveland Heights’ recycling program can only accept plastic bottles and jugs with necks that narrow toward their openings. One way to keep track of what types of plastic containers are recyclable is to remember this phrase: “If it has a neck, you don’t have to check. But when in doubt, throw it out.”

Be sure to keep non-recyclables out of the blue cart. Mixing recyclables and non-recyclables can cause an entire load of materials to be redirected to a landfill, which will increase the city’s costs, and is bad for the environment.

City employees are driving new trucks that allow a single driver/operator to use a robotic arm to pick up and empty refuse and recycling carts along their routes. To get to the carts, the operator needs to pull the truck as close as possible to the curb; leave at least 10 feet between the carts and any vehicles parked on the street.

The truck’s robotic arm needs to reach the carts, so they need to be within 3 feet of the curb and can’t be behind any obstructions.

The robotic arm needs room to maneuver, so be sure to leave at least 3 feet between the carts.

Make sure the carts’ lids open toward the street. Make sure to close the carts' lids, and don’t leave anything sitting on them.

The city has compiled a list of what materials can and cannot  be recycled. If you have questions about materials that aren’t listed, many answers can be found online at at

You can download a copy of the city’s 2022 Residents’ Refuse and Recycling Guide at

The new program has had an immediate impact: Carts now line Cleveland Heights’ tree lawns on collection days instead of bags, and yards are cleaner because animals have fewer opportunities to tear open bags.

If you have questions or concerns about your carts and the automated collection program, fill out the form available at, and a Public Works Department employee will contact you. 

The city of Cleveland Heights is committed to helping everyone make this transition successfully

Collette Clinkscale and Mike Thomas

Collette Clinkscale is the director of public works for the city of Cleveland Heights. Mike Thomas is the city's director of communications and public engagement.

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Volume 15, Issue 6, Posted 2:56 PM, 05.27.2022