I-TEAM: Cleveland not cracking down on improper recycling practices

CLEVELAND -- The FOX 8 I-TEAM is asking, ’Why no crackdown?’ after a prior investigation found nearly all recycling collected by city crews in Cleveland ends up simply dumped with all of the garbage collected.

Now, the I-TEAM is investigating why Cleveland City Hall is not doing more to go after people mixing trash with recycling.

We revealed earlier that a significant amount of recycling collected in Cleveland is so dirty that almost all of it ends up in a regular dump.

The Mayor admitted 85-90% of all recycling collected in Cleveland simply gets dumped together with regular trash. The city has said too many people put garbage in recycling bins and that can contaminate an entire load.

However, the I-TEAM as found that the city is not coming down on people using recycling bins the wrong way.

We investigated tickets written related to trash disposal.  Since last summer, the city has issued nearly 7000 tickets tied to trash pick-up, but pictures we reviewed show tickets for bulk items left on the curb or cans left out too long.

We asked Cleveland Chief Operating Officer Darnell Brown, what happened to enforcement? Why not give everyone a ticket?

Brown said the city hasn’t stopped giving tickets for wrong recycling, but it doesn’t make a difference anyway.

He added, “We still give citations, but it has not changed behavior for an appreciable increase in the number of people who are doing it correctly.”

Last week, Mayor Frank Jackson told the I-TEAM, the city’s recycling program is broken. Jackson said, “It’s not working. It’s not working for several reasons.”

The city is looking to hire a consultant to study the issue and help find a solution.

But some taxpayers like Kathy McDonald say, start at the curb. McDonald said, “Don’t pick it up if there’s stuff in there that doesn’t need to be.”

She added, “I’d like to see them have more enforcement. It hits me hard because it’s not fair to the people that are actually recycling.”

Meantime, the I-TEAM is doing some more investigating into the problem.  We hope to learn how long it’s been going on and when you might actually see a change.

Continuing coverage, here.

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