Environmental Health Action Guide - compiled and maintained by the Sustainable Cleveland Partnership and NeighborhoodLink




Barbara looks out of her living room window to a usual sight every Sunday morning: growing mounds of smelly trash, tire scraps, and cardboard boxes on a vacant lot behind the drugstore down her street. Could this be an explanation for the rats and bugs infesting her home? She has stopped sitting on her porch because there is no fresh air anymore.

What can Barbara do to stop this pattern of illegal dumping? What is illegal dumping? Who can she call to get the problem solved? Is there a code-enforcement officer who can levy fines on the dumpers? Will that mean trouble for her? Is there a Solid Waste Transfer Station in her county where people can recycle and dump their trash? 

Find out what you can do to get your neighborhood cleaned up.



Americans create too much garbage. This garbage takes up valuable landfill space, wastes natural resources, and pollutes the environment. But each one of us can take steps to reduce the amount of garbage we produce, being careful about what we buy, reusing what we can, and recycling.


Trash in Ohio:

While more Ohio residents are recycling, the state continues to rely heavily on landfills for its waste. We can recycle more.

* City of Cleveland's Recycling Office

** Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District

*** Ohio EPA


Recycling in Ohio:


What does our garbage look like?

38% paper

18% yard waste

8% metals

8% plastics

7% glass

7% food waste

14% other





Contact the City of Cleveland’s Recycling Office at 216/664-3717 for information on recycling in Cleveland. Ask for the brochure "Streamlining Your Waste" for detailed instructions on the City of Cleveland’s recycling program.

Contact Clean-Land Ohio at 216/696-2122 for information on education programs on recycling for children and adults.



Contact the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District at 216/443-3700 for extensive information on local recycling programs.

Access the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Recycling and Litter Homepage for statistics on recycling and state recycling programs.



Access US EPA’s Office of Solid Waste Homepage for publications and information on recycling.

Full mailing addresses and phone numbers of organizations listed on this factsheet are available in this Guide's Directory of Organizations.




There are many ways we can solve our garbage problem:

REDUCE: Reduce the amount of trash we create.


REUSE: Reusing items over and over again or choosing products that are designed for reuse will reduce waste.


RECYCLE: Much of the garbage that we produce everyday is recyclable. Recycling takes materials that would normally be thrown away and remakes them into new products. Recycling trash instead of throwing it away is important because:


Cleveland Recycles!



Cleveland Recycling Drop-off Locations:

Waste Collection Garages:

Hours: Monday through Friday, 8:00am to 4:00pm


Division of Streets Service Garages:

Hours: Monday through Friday, 8:00am through 4:00pm


Fire Stations:

Hours: Monday through Sunday, 24-hours

Find more recycling drop-off centers around Cuyahoga County.



Types of Recyclables Collected In Cleveland:


 Other common recyclable items include:

Find more motor oil drop-off centers in Cuyahoga County.





Get information on many other commonly recycled items.

Purchase Goods Made From Recycled Materials: Purchasing goods made from recycled materials will save natural resources and support the market for recyclable materials. When shopping, look for the symbol indicating the item is made from recycled-content. Encourage your supermarket to sell goods made from recycled materials.


Contact the Mayor and members of the City Council: Curbside recycling is available in only a few Cleveland Neighborhoods. Contact local elected officials and ask them to support curbside recycling service for all Cleveland residents.


Composting: Backyard composting of certain non-meat food scraps and yard trimmings also reduces waste that goes into landfills. Composted materials can then be reused as fertilizers or soil builders in and around your gardens. Learn how to compost properly by calling the Greater Cleveland Ecology Association at 216/687-1266 for information on composting in your backyard.




Litter and Illegal Dumping:

Litter and illegal dumping of garbage is a serious problem in many urban communities. It can spoil the beauty of neighborhoods, attract rodents and other pests, and clog and pollute our rivers, lakes, and streams.



Don’t Litter: Always put your trash and garbage in a proper trash receptacle.


Organize Neighborhood Litter Cleanups: Talk to your neighbors, neighborhood association, church group, or school about organizing formal or informal litter pickups. Contact Clean-Land Ohio at 216/696-2122 for information on organizing neighborhood litter cleanups.


Report Illegal Dumping: Call the City of Cleveland’s Illegal Dumping and Special Services Hotline at 216/664-3867 to report illegal dumpers in your community.


Keep Your Trash Cans Covered: Much of the litter on the streets is from garbage blown from uncovered street corner trash cans or uncovered trash cans put out by residents for trash pickup. Keeping your trashcan covered can help prevent this from happening.


Report Rats and Other Pests: Litter and illegal dumpsites can attract rats and other pests to our homes, parks, or vacant lots. Call Cleveland’s Division of the Environment at 216/664-2300 to report rats and other pests.


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