Back to the Basics with Recycling

Recycling contamination is at issue across the nation and world, but is also a major problem here in Cuyahoga County.
Recycling contamination happens when well-intended recyclers mistakenly put the wrong items into their recycling. It can wreak havoc on the recycling process in Cuyahoga County and throughout the world.
Here in Cuyahoga County, the best way to avoid recycling contamination in your curbside recycling is to only recycle these five core items:
  • CANS: Empty and rinse. 
  • CARTONS: Empty and rinse. Replace the cap -- it’s too small to be recycled by itself! 
  • GLASS BOTTLES & JARS: Empty and rinse. 
  • PAPER & BOXES: Flatten cardboard items, like cereal boxes, to save space. 
  • PLASTIC BOTTLES & JUGS: Empty and rinse. Replace the cap. Plastic bottles and jugs include items with an opening or neck that is narrower than the body. Plastic cups, straws and bags are not recyclable. Please ignore the numbers 1-7 on plastic items -- they are no longer relevant.
Place these items loose – not bagged – in your recycling bin or cart. All items should be clean, empty and dry.
Learn more about recycling best practices at