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What Do I Do With?
Appliances can be recycled via your community's curbside recycling program. Some communities require you to have the Freon removed from refrigerant-containing devices prior to pick-up. Find a qualified HVAC technician to remove the Freon at www.yellowpages.com or check with your city service department for a list of contractors and more information.
Large appliances can be recycled at local scrap metal yards. You may receive a rebate for your item. Small appliances can be recycled at some local retail stores like Best Buy and Giant Eagle. RecycleZone in North Olmsted will also accept refrigerant-containing appliances.
Small, non-working household appliances can be recycled at the Solid Waste District. The small appliances must be clean and under 20 lbs. Items can dropped off for recycling in the District’s lobby at 4750 East 131 Street in Garfield Heights. Hours are Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Please consider donating still working, usable appliances to a local organization that can use the item.
How do I dispose of alkaline batteries?
Alkaline batteries can be safely disposed of with normal household waste. These batteries are classified by the federal government as non-hazardous waste. Alkaline batteries are composed primarily of common metals - steel, zinc and manganese - and do not pose a health or environmental risk during normal use or disposal. Proven cost-effective and environmentally safe recycling processes are not yet universally available for alkaline batteries. Recommended disposal of alkaline batteries in Cuyahoga County is in your regular trash collection.
It is important not to dispose of large amounts of alkaline batteries in a group. Used batteries are often not completely "dead." Grouping used batteries together can bring these "live" batteries into contact with one another, creating safety risks. Throwing away one or two batteries as they are exhausted is perfectly acceptable.
How do I dispose of rechargeable batteries?
Batteries that are rechargeable and/or contain heavy metals should be recycled. This includes lithium, lithium ion, nickel metal hydride, zinc air, and lead acid batteries. Call2Recycle, Inc. provides recycling drop-off locations for rechargeable batteries at retail stores such as Apple Store, Best Buy, Home Depot, Lowes, RadioShack, Sears, Staples, tool repair shops, and local hardware stores. For a complete list call 1-877-2-RECYCLE or visit www.call2recycle.org We also accept these types of batteries in the Household Hazardous Waste Disposal Program.
How do I dispose of lead acid batteries?
Lead acid batteries contain lead and sulfuric acid and are used as a source of power. Perhaps the most common lead-acid battery is the one that is used to start your car. In 2008, an Ohio law became effective that prohibits the disposal of lead acid batteries in landfills to ensure that all spent lead acid batteries are recycled in Ohio. The law also requires wholesalers and retailers of lead acid batteries to take your old battery for recycling when you buy a new one. Batteries that are covered by the law include batteries used in vehicles, motorcycles, wheelchairs, boats, or other forms of motive power. Local businesses that recycle lead acid batteries include A-1 Battery Shop (216/ 861-6001), Bulldog Battery (440/ 942-2555) and Ohio Energy Source (216/ 393-9909) and other vehicle repair shops. See our online Recycling Directory for Business & Industry. We also accept these types of batteries in the Household Hazardous Waste Disposal Program.
Where can I donate a bicycle?
The Ohio City Bicycle Co-op accepts donations of bicycles and any bike-related item including magazines, books, videos, tools, clip-in pedals and shoes, and good seats. The co-op is located in Cleveland on the West Bank of the Flats. Call (216) 830-2667 or visit www.ohiocitycycles.org For a list of other donation opportunities, check out our searchable database Pass It On: A Resource-Full Guide to Donating Usable Stuff.
How do I recycle books?
Many unwanted books can be donated to local libraries, schools and community centers. For a list of donation opportunities, check out our searchable database Pass It On: A Resource-Full Guide to Donating Usable Stuff. Local businesses that recycle books include All Ohio Secure Shred (888/ 747-3394), Corvus Recycling (419/ 971-6261), and Third World Books (216/ 534-2741).
Can I recycle an infant or child car seat?
The car seat recycling program at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital provides a way to dispose of unneeded, damaged or unsafe seats. Car seats less than 3 years old (and with a signed waiver) are cleaned and reused. Car seats older then three years are recycled. For a list of locations, call (216) 844-2277 or visit www.injurypreventioncenter.com/programs/car-seat-recycling-locations
Can I recycle old audio and video cassette tapes?
Cassette tapes do not go in the recycling bin. The film tape is a "tangler" that gets wound around the processing machines at recycling facilities and can easily shut down a whole recycling operation. An entire load of good recycling may be disposed in the trash if cassette tapes are spotted in the mix.
There are some specialized plastics recyclers that may be wiling to accept the hard plastic outer shell and recycle it for a small fee. You would be required to remove the film first. The film tape cannot be recycled and must be disposed in the trash. Call Northcoast Recycling Specialist in Wickliffe (440/ 943-6968) or Secure IT Asset Disposition Services in Mentor (440/ 332-5005).
Clothing & Household Goods
Where can I donate clothing or household goods?
You can find a charitable organization that accepts clothing and donations of household goods by using the District’s book Pass It On: A Resource-Full Guide to Donating Usable Stuff. Or drop off your clothing and other goods at one of the boxes or stores located throughout Cuyahoga County that are operated by local charities.
In February 2013, H&M launched a garment-recycling initiative that allows customers to exchange any used garments, from any brand, in any condition, at each of H&M’s 269 (and growing) U.S. stores and 48 markets worldwide. This will help avoid textile waste, save natural resources and reduce environmental impact. H&M offers an incentive for the program. For each bag of clothing donated, customers will receive a voucher worth 15% off of their next purchased item.
How do I dispose of construction waste?
Construction and demolition debris (C&DD) is defined as materials resulting from the alteration, construction, destruction, rehabilitation or repair of any physical structure. Materials include lumber, drywall, brick concrete, metals, plaster, windows, roofing materials, plumbing fixtures, electrical wiring, heating equipment, asphalt, insulation and carpeting. Local facilities that accept construction & demolition debris include Boyas Excavating (216/ 524-3620), Kurtz Bros. (216/ 986-7033), and Waste Management's Cuyahoga C&DD Landfill (440/ 498-5700).
Disposing of railroad ties? See the Ohio EPA's guidance document regarding railroad ties.
Can computers be recycled?
Yes, the District sponsors Recycle Your Computer Month twice a year to collect unwanted residential computers for refurbishing or recycling. Collections events are held at your city service department. Businesses with computers to recycle should call RET3 job corp. at (216) 361-9991.
Drink Pouches & Other Packaging
Can I recycle drink pouches? What about used-up pens and tape dispensers?
TerraCycle offers national programs (Brigades®) to collect previously non-recyclable or hard to recycle waste including drink pouches, food packaging, writing instruments, and Scotch tape dispensers. While some programs have a cost, most of the Brigades offer free shipping as well as a rebate or donation for each piece that you collect. Sign up to collect one or more of the waste streams listed, or find out more about how the Brigade programs work.
How do I dispose of a fire extinguisher?
Metal fire extinguishers can be refilled rather than thrown away when empty, unless it was manufactured before 1984. Extinguishers made of plastic are not recyclable and can be placed in the regular trash when empty. The District accepts fire extinguishers in the Household Hazardous Waste Disposal Program. For a list of businesses in Cuyahoga County that dispose of fire extinguishers, see our online Recycling Directory for Business & Industry.
My American flag is tattered and worn. How do I properly dispose of it?
Our national symbol should not be placed in the regular rubbish. When a flag is so tattered that it no longer fits to serve as a symbol of the United States, it should be destroyed in a dignified manner, preferably by burning. The American Legion, Boy Scouts of America, Girl Scouts of the USA, National Sojourners, and other organizations regularly conduct dignified flag-burning ceremonies, often on Flag Day (June 14). You can also mail your tattered flag to a flag disposal organization, such as Flag Keepers.
For more information about care and treatment of the U.S. flag, read information on the United States Flag Code.
How do I dispose of old, expired flares?
Some local fire departments have controlled burns or disposal programs for old or expired flares. Contact your community for more information. The Cleveland Fire Department Fire Training Academy accepts flares for disposal; call (216) 664-6880. Cuyahoga Community College's Fire Training Academy may also provide proper disposal; call (216) 987-5076. The U.S. Coast Guard recommends that you dispose of flares at your local fire department or contact your closest Coast Guard station and ask if they hold flare training/demonstration days for the public. Marine and road flares are not accepted in the Household Hazardous Waste Disposal Program.
How do I dispose of oil from a deep fryer?
Fryer oil should not be placed in the garbage. Some city service departments collect fryer oil for disposal, so check with your municipality to see about a local drop-off. Local restaurants and bars might be willing to take your fryer oil and add it in to their regular fryer oil collection. We also accept fryer oil in the Household Hazardous Waste Disposal Program.
What do I do with old paint and other hazardous materials?
Paint cans with dried paint should be placed in your regular trash. Small quantities of paint and all latex paints can be air-dried and disposed in the trash. To help residents dispose of oil-based paint, pesticides, automotive fluids, and other hazardous products found in the home, the Solid Waste District has a Household Hazardous Waste Disposal Program. Hazardous materials from households can be turned in for free. Latex paint is not accepted. Collections are held at your city service department.
How do I dispose of latex paint?
The Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District does not accept latex paint in the Household Hazardous Waste Disposal Program because it is not a hazardous material. Latex paint is 99% water and 1% rubber, and is safe to dispose with your household trash when it is dried out. Here are step-by-step instructions for disposing of latex paint.
How can I recycle an old mattress?
Locally, the Cleveland Furniture Bank will accept good, used mattresses for reuse. Call (216) 459-2265. If the mattress cannot be reused, contact your city about bulky waste pick-up or take the mattress to a waste transfer station. The Mattress Recycling Council provides a short list of recycling options throughout the USA.
Medicine & Needles
How do I dispose of medical waste?
The Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Office provides an ongoing disposal option for meds. The Sheriff's RX Drug Drop Box Program allows residents to deposit unused, unwanted, or expired prescription drugs at drop boxes in participating law enforcement agencies across Cuyahoga County. To find a drop off location visit www.rxdrugdropbox.org or call 2-1-1. Needles and liquids are not accepted. With special care, unwanted medicines and needles from self-injectors can be placed in the regular trash.
Mercury & Fluorescent Bulbs
How I dispose of items with mercury?
The District accepts thermometers, thermostats and liquid mercury in the Household Hazardous Waste Disposal Program.
What should I do with fluorescent bulbs?
Compact fluorescent lamps and other energy-efficient lighting such as linear fluorescent and high intensity discharge (HID) lamps contain a very small amount of mercury. All fluorescent bulbs should be recycled properly to protect public health and the environment.
How do I clean-up a broken fluorescent bulb?
In 2010, the U.S. EPA released new guidelines on how to deal with mercury-containing compact fluorescent light bulbs that break in the home. CFLs contain a small amount of mercury sealed in the glass tubing. When broken, some of the mercury is released as mercury vapor. The EPA states the bulb will continue to leak mercury vapor until it is cleaned up and removed from the home.
Lube Stop accepts used motor oil. All 37 locations will accept up to 6 quarts of used motor oil (oil only, uncontaminated with other fluids) during regular business hours. When dropping off, you'll be required to sign a manifest with your name and phone number. Some city service departments collect clean motor oil from residents for recycling. Check with your community. We also accept motor oil in the Household Hazardous Waste Disposal Program.
Where can I have documents shredded?
Private companies, including local UPS Stores, offer document shredding to residents and businesses for a fee. On the first Saturday of each month, SHRED-IT offers general document shredding from 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. The cost of this service is $4.00 per box. SHRED-IT is located at 5480 Cloverleaf Parkway #7 in Cleveland. Drop-off service by appointment only. For more information, call (216) 642-1680 or (888) 750-6450.
Occasionally, free seasonal shredding events are hosted by municipalities for their own residents. Contact your city hall or city service department for information about a local shred day. Or see our compilation list of county events.
The City of Cleveland offers free, year-round document shredding to city residents. Call (216) 664-3717.
How can I recycle phone books?
Phone books can be included in most community curbside recycling programs with other mixed paper. Residents can recycle their phone books with other mixed paper products including newspaper, cardboard, boxboard, junk mail, and magazines. Phone books can also be recycled at a local Abitibi Paper Retriever bin or River Valley Paper Company recycling bin.
How can I recycle plastic bags?
Plastic bags can be recycled at many retail locations, including Giant Eagle, JCPenney, Kohls, Lowe's Home Improvement, Sam's Club, Target, and Walmart stores. Usually a collection bin is located in the store vestibule or near the customer service desk. All types of plastic bags and plastic film are accepted. You can also enter your zip code on the plastic film recycling website to find more recycling locations near you. Do not put plastic bags in your curbside recycling bin.
How do I dispose of an old propane tank that can’t be refilled?
Old cylinders can be exchanged for free at the store where the new tank is purchased. For more information or an exchange location near you, log onto www.bluerhino.com or www.amerigas.com. Local businesses that recycle propane tanks include AAA Gas Supply (216/ 228-4800) and Air Gas Great Lakes (216/ 241-1696). You may also be able to recycle tanks at a local scrap metal yard.
Recycling at Home
I want to recycle at home. What are my options?
Most of the 59 communities in Cuyahoga County have a recycling program for residents. Cans, glass, plastics, mixed paper, cartons and cardboard are picked up curbside or can be taken to a convenient drop-off site. Contact your city service department for details. The City of Cleveland has drop-off bins for recycling sprinkled throughout the city (map). The bins accept cans, glass, plastics, mixed paper, and cardboard. You do not have to reside in Cleveland; any business or resident can use them.
Recycling in the Workplace
Where can I learn more about having a recycling program at work?
Businesses, organizations, school districts, and non-profits can find answers to questions about waste cost reduction, contracts, waste reduction, recycling, and commercial composting. The District has an experienced Business Recycling Specialist that can assist and help customize recycling efforts in your place of work.
What should I do with an old smoke detector?
Although it is legal to dispose of your ionization detector in the trash, we encourage you to return the product back to the manufacturer. The manufacturer is mandated by the Nuclear Regulatory law 10 CFR 32.27 to see that the radioactive waste is disposed at a nuclear waste disposal facility. When sending back a smoke detector, you should not take it apart. The entire smoke detector needs to be returned to the manufacturer or store by UPS ground mail (not air mail). The batteries, however, should be removed and properly disposed of. No special shipping is needed for your smoke detector. Just put it in a box, maybe with some newspaper for padding, and send it.
If you are unable to return a smoke detector to the manufacturer, it can be disposed of in the regular garbage. We do not accept smoke detectors in the Household Hazardous Waste Disposal Program.
How do I dispose of Styrofoam?
Styrofoam is a trade name for expanded polystyrene (EPS). Styrofoam is hard to recycle because it takes up so much space relative to its weight, so shipping it to a recycler does not provide much return on investment.
Food grade Styrofoam "clamshell" containers, cups, and trays cannot be recycled here in Northeast Ohio. Cleveland Heinen's grocery stores no longer accept Styrofoam food trays for recycling and discontinued the collection of these items.
Formed packing material
Clean Styrofoam #6 EPS (formed packing material) can be recycled at Buckeye Industries. Buckeye Industries has two locations: 33851 Curtis Boulevard, Suite 207 in Eastlake (440/942-1605) and 12131 Bennington Avenue in Cleveland (216/671-8224). Buckeye Industries will take Styrofoam #6 EPS from individuals as well as businesses. The Styrofoam is processed through a densifier and is sold to a company that uses the product to make molded picture frames.
The Solid Waste District accepts white, formed blocks of Styrofoam (no peanuts, foam sheeting, colored foam or food trays) at our facility at 4750 East 131 Street in Garfield Heights. A marked collection bin is located in the lobby; hours are Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Some city service departments also offer a Styrofoam drop-off for residents (Beachwood, Cleveland Heights, Lakewood, Shaker Heights).
Styrofoam peanuts can be donated to a store that ship packages like the UPS stores, or you can reuse it as your own packing material. Learn more about packing peanuts here. Northcoast Recycling at 1305 Lloyd Road in Wickliffe (440/943-6968) accepts Styrofoam peanuts.
Pick-up service for businesses
Extreme Green Recycling at 1321 Lloyd Road in Wickliffe (440/487-3030) picks up different grades of non-food Styrofoam from businesses. The material is densified into Styrofoam bricks and sold to manufacturers to be made into insulation, picture frames, or crown molding. They also make Styrofoam beads that are sold to a local stuffed toy manufacturer.
Televisions & Electronics
How do I recycle televisions and other electronics?
There is no ban in Ohio on placing televisions and electronics in the regular trash, but recycling options do exist. Best Buy stores will recycle televisions (up to 32”) and many other types of electronics equipment for free. Log onto www.bestbuy.com/recycling Staples stores will recycle old office technology at no charge. Visit www.staples.com/sbd/cre/marketing/easy-on-the-planet/recycling-and-eco-services.html
Other local e-waste recyclers offer recycling services for commercial televisions and electronics items from businesses. A fee is usually charged for televisions.
How do I get rid of old tires?
When you buy new tires, dispose of your old tires through your tire retailer at the time of purchase. There is a small fee charged for tire disposal, which is a tax used for transporting and disposing of tires through state licensed facilities. If you already have tires at home, contact one of the following three store chains who provide tire disposal for non-customers. These include Conrad’s Tire Express, Firestone Auto Care, and National Tire and Battery.
Where can I donate old tools and remodeling materials?
The Greater Cleveland Habitat for Humanity ReStore accepts donations of tools (hand, power, and yard) appliances (10 years old or newer), windows/doors, cabinets, fixtures, sinks, furniture, lumber (6 ft. or longer) and more. All items must be in good, usable condition; they are cleaned and processed for sale to the general public. The Habitat ReStore has two locations: 2110 West 110th Street in Cleveland and 4601 Northfield Road in North Randall. Call (216) 429-3631 or visit www.gchfh.org/Restore
I have large amounts of garbage to dispose of and I can't put it at the curb. What do I do?
There are no operating landfills in Cuyahoga County. Contact your city service department about bulk waste pick-up in your community or a local waste transfer station for more information about dropping off loads of rubbish for a fee. You can also call a local company to bring a container for you to fill, and then have hauled away. There is a fee for this service. For a list of haulers, see our online Recycling Directory for Business & Industry.
Where can I take large amounts of yard waste, dirt, or wood?
Local registered compost facilities that accept yard waste include Boyas Excavating (216/ 524-3620), Kurtz Bros. (216/ 986-7031) and Tree Master Supply (216/ 241-6744).