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Recycling Guidelines

Following are recycling guidelines for Shaker Heights.

What Belongs in Your Residential Recycling Container?

Five-gallon buckets are used for Shaker's recycling program. Please call Public Works at 216-491-1490 to request your free buckets.


  • Plastic bottles, jugs, and tubs
  • Gable-top milk and juice cartons, soup and juice boxes
  • Metal food cans and aluminum cans
  • Glass bottles and jars
  • Cardboard boxes, flattened
  • Mixed paper, junk mail, magazines, catalogs
  • Boxboard, flattened (like cereal boxes, toilet paper tubes, etc.)

And follow these guidelines when recycling them:

  • NEVER bag your recyclables. NEVER. EVER.
  • Place comingled, loose (NOT in a bag) recyclables in recycling bucket
  • Empty and rinse all containers
  • Leave the caps and lids on
  • Request free recycling buckets by calling Public Works at 216-491-1490


  • Aluminum foil, baking trays, pie plates
  • Plastic bags and plastic wrap
  • Plastic containers used for produce (like lettuce and berries)
  • Plastic egg cartons
  • Styrofoam (including no meat trays, no Styrofoam egg cartons)
  • Plastic cups, plates, utensils, or straws
  • Paper plates or cups (note: plastic lids for coffee cups are also not recyclable)
  • Paper or plastic take-out containers
  • Greasy pizza boxes
  • Food scraps
  • Pots, pans, or ceramics
  • Glass and ceramic drinking glasses
  • Napkins or paper towels
  • Plastic or metal hangers

Want to know the biggest threat to the entire recycling program? A contaminated recycling stream (non-recyclables mixed in with recyclables).


ShakeRecycles logoCan't figure out what to do with a certain item? Visit or get the ShakeRecycles app to learn how to recycle some of the items not allowed in your residential recycling bucket (use the Waste Wizard).



What Belongs in Your Yard Waste Bag?

Use only brown paper leaf bags (available at area stores). No plastic bags.


  • Leaves
  • Grass clippings
  • Other leafy yard waste (e.g. plant cuttings, weeds)


  • Brush (place brush directly on your tree lawn, not in a yard-waste bag)
  • Dirt
  • Gardening-related plastic (e.g. plant pots, trays, mulch/fertilizer/soil bags)
  • Other inorganic materials (e.g. other plastics, metal, aluminum, paper/cardboard)
  • Dog waste in plastic bags

Effective 2018, the City will not collect yard-waste bags contaminated with inorganic materials. Read more about the City's leaf, grass, and brush collection policies or view a video about what does (and does not) belong in your yard-waste bag.


Recycling in Cuyahoga County is Easy. Don't Overthink It!

Why do plastics have numbers inside recycling symbols if they’re not recyclable?

The numbers on plastic containers are resin codes used by the plastics industry to identify the type of plastic used to make the container. Not all plastics with the 1-7 symbol are recyclable. See the chart below from the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District.

Plastics Web


Can some materials not allowed in a residential recycling bucket be recycled elsewhere?

In some cases, yes. For example, several area grocery stores — includng Heinen's — accept plastic bags for recycling. Use the Waste Wizard in the ShakeRecycles app ( to find out if a particular material is recyclable elsewhere. Use the calendar feature to learn about community recycling events

Why does it seem that lately more and more materials are not recyclable?

Until recently, most recyclables from the United States were sent to China. But as of January 2018, China began enforcing its "National Sword" policy, which bans 24 types of solid waste, including various plastics and unsorted mixed papers. It also sets a much tougher standard for contamination levels. This has left communities across the United States in a bind, as the market for certain recyclables has constricted considerably (also in Canada). Unfortunately, that's meant more materials — including some that were once recyclable — must go in the trash.

It's also meant that Materials Recovery Facilities — including those that process recyclables from Cuyahoga County — are cracking down on contamination. Communities throughout the County, including Shaker Heights, must lower contamination levels or risk fines and/or their recyclables being sent to the landfill. 

Friday, March 23, 2018


fall 2018 2

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