CLEVELAND (WJW)– The FOX 8 I-Team found the city of Cleveland is still spending millions of tax dollars to collect recycling from homes, apartments and businesses even as crews send it all to a landfill.
We’ve learned the city spends $3 million to $5 million collecting recycling. That is still going on even though the city’s recycling program collapsed.
“It’s a stunning waste of money. Absolutely stunning. Makes no sense at all,” said Conor Boylan, who runs Five Points Coffee in the West Park neighborhood.
The I-Team recently exposed a city hall secret. Since the start of April, city workers have been picking up recycling, then mixing all of it with all of the regular garbage collected. The city had a contract with a private company to haul away all of the glass, plastic and cans collected by city workers. But that contract expired.
“The fact that they’re all going to the same place, as a taxpayer, it literally frustrates me. And it frustrates many in our community here,” Boylan said.
We found the city still has two separate crews going down every street. One crew collects recycling. One crew gets all of the other trash. But again, two crews are hitting every block, separately, even though all of what gets picked up now goes to the same place: a landfill.
“How come we can’t just have one truck come down?” asked Councilman Brian Kazy at a city council committee hearing on Tuesday.
The city’s chief operating officer Darnell Brown said, ultimately, everything left out at the curb has to be hauled away anyway. Someday, the city will restart its recycling program. So, he said, taxpayers should stay in the habit of putting recyclables materials in a bin just for that.
Councilman Tony Brancatelli also wondered if there isn’t a better way. He pointed out it, “Looks odd” having two trucks come down the street when everything’s going to the landfill.
Back at the coffee shop, Boylan said he’s even brought people into his shop to give advice to customers about recycling. He said he’s happy to recycle, but not happy to pay to have special trucks collect it all for the dump.
“If they were doing it right, absolutely, you know, we need to do it,” Boylan said.
City hall said it is now starting to work with a consultant to fix the system. However, the city took about a year to choose and move forward with a consultant. The review of the recycling program could take up to a year.
So, how long will it take to make changes after that? No telling. For now, no end in sight for taxpayers paying a lot of extra money to have recycling picked up for nothing.