No Blue Bags Needed (or Permitted): A Few Reminders About Recycling in Lakewood | The City of Lakewood, Ohio

No Blue Bags Needed (or Permitted): A Few Reminders About Recycling in Lakewood

August 25, 2015

Did you know that blue bags are no longer necessary? In fact, they’re no longer permitted.

The city’s Division of Refuse and Recycling is reminding residents about some of the changes in the recycling policy since rolling out the third and final phase of the automated collection initiative.

“Now that we have carts, we just can’t accept blue bags,” said Chris Perry, the city’s unit manager of refuse and recycling. “I know some people like them because they make things feel more organized, but it puts a wrench into the separation process.” Plastic bags do not get recycled; there is not a viable post-consumer product that they can be repurposed for.

Cans, bottles, plastics with recycle symbols numbered 1 through 7 (such as soda and water bottles — leave the caps on), cardboard and newspapers can — and should — be placed together in the new blue bins. Breaking down boxes is no longer required, but encouraged to save space inside the bins as more material inside the bin when cardboard is broken down. All recycle materials must be contained inside the bin each week for collection.

Hardcover books and pizza boxes aren’t accepted, however paperback books and phone books can be recycled.

“Our recycling tonnages have gone up with every phase,” added Perry. “This year, we’re projected to collect 600 more tons of curbside recycling than we did last year. That’s 600 tons of additional waste that we will keep out of the landfills.”

Lakewood recycled or composted nearly 51 percent of all waste in 2014; the city has had a significant boost since 2009, when the recycling rate was 42 percent.

The improvement also coincides with mandated recycling, and with the city’s switch to automated collection of trash and recyclables.

The city continues to strengthen its recycling programs to reduce waste. The higher the recycling rate, the less the city pays in disposal fees. City hall projections show an annual savings of both waste disposal and labor costs at approximately $300,000 per year.