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CLEVELAND (WJW) – FOX 8 I-Team cameras rolled Monday as crews with the city of Cleveland, for the first time in two years, picked up recycling without planning to dump it in a landfill.

Back in 2020, the I-Team revealed a city hall secret. All recycling collected by city crews was simply getting mixed in with trash and hauled to a landfill.

That continued for two years as the city hired a consultant and held meetings, trying to figure out how to restart a recycling program.

Monday marked the beginning of the new program.

Residents sign up to take part. The I-Team found some people watching from their porches as crews came by to pick up trash and recycling.

On the west side, Dan Dylag was happy to see his recycling get picked up separately from his trash.

“It’s about time,” Dylag said. 

He is one of the 27,000 Cleveland households that opted in to take part of the program. Dylag says he is grateful his recyclables are now going to good use and not a dump.

Two years ago, former Mayor Frank Jackson admitted to the I-Team the recycling program had fallen apart.

Now, a new mayor and a new program.

Ren Brumfield, Cleveland’s recycling coordinator, says he is hoping even more people will decide to join the program. Cleveland residents have until July 31 to sign up.

For now, only the blue recycling cans with a sticker on them will get recycled.

Brumfield said he was at the city’s transfer station Monday to keep an eye on what those in the recycling program were putting in the blue cans.

“Generally people are recycling the things they’re supposed to recycle,” Brumfield said. “We want to make sure that continues.”

To be clear, you may still see some recycling cans getting dumped in with regular trash, but those will be the cans of people who haven’t signed up to take part in the new program.

We’ve learned the first day of the program had some glitches. On one block, residents had their entire cans hauled away. The city calls that a mistake and the residents will get their cans back.

Going forward, the city has big plans for continuing to roll out the new program.