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3 bids under consideration to restart Cleveland’s recycling program

Republic recycling
Posted at 1:54 PM, Feb 25, 2022

CLEVELAND — Recycling could be back around Earth Day, April 22, 2022, in Cleveland now that the city has received and is considering three recycling contract bids.

Materials in the city’s curbside recycling bins stopped being brought to recycling processing centers in April 2020, when the city’s last contract expired and the city couldn’t find a bid it would accept.

Prices to process Cleveland’s recycling haul were increasingly expensive, partially because of a changing global market for America’s recycling, but also because residents were often putting materials in recycling bins that could not be reused. Sorting out what doesn’t belong makes it more expensive for recycling companies and they pass those costs on to municipalities.

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Material in Cleveland's recycling bins have been taken to the landfill for almost two years because the city's recycling contract expired and a new one wasn't signed.

One of the first steps towards reviving the program was making curbside pickup an opt-in program, with the hope that a smaller number of residents participating in the program would make it easier to keep contamination rates down. Another step was hiring Ren Brumfield as the city’s Recycling Coordinator.

“We can have a much more successful program than we’ve had in the past, a nice clean waste stream, make everybody understand exactly what that means,” said Brumfield.

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Two bins hanging out waiting for their ride home.

He says once the contract is finalized, residents who opt-in to the recycling program will get information about what is able to be recycled per the new contract.

“I think just being able to show progress, show that this is a legitimate effort, the city is really trying to make this happen,” said Brumfield. “So my next step is beyond just saying we have bids to saying we have a vendor in place and we’re ready to start a program but this is how that starts.”

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