Cuyahoga County Enrolling 2014 Master Recycler Class

The Cuyahoga County Solid Waste Management District is accepting applications for its 2014 Master Recycler class.

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I took this class last year, and it was well worth the time and effort.

  • Our class consisted of a group of committed recyclers. Unless you work in the industry (and maybe even if you do), this probably doesn’t happen to you very often.
  • We got to know the Solid Waste Management District staff and the valuable functions they provide for the communities in Cuyahoga County.
  • The lectures and tours (four lectures, alternating weekly with four tours/field trips) explored and clarified many of the confusing aspects of recycling and what determines what goes into the recycling bin.
  • In lecture sessions, we heard from experts in waste management and from many of agencies that reuse, repurpose, or recycle materials that would otherwise go into the landfill.
  • Our tours took us to waste management facilities of various types, explained and demonstrated each facility’s purpose and operations, and gave us ample opportunity to talk with the facility’s representatives.
  • One tour in particular, our visit to the Cleveland Habitat for Humanity ReStore, was particularly joyful for me: I discovered a kitchen appliance that I later purchased. (See my blog post Shopping Recycled: How I Replaced My Jenn-Air Range at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore and Saved Over $2,000.)

I encourage anyone with a commitment to waste management, waste reduction, or recycling to consider the Master Recycler program. But don’t dally: only a few spots remain for this year’s class.

What can you expect from the Master Recycler program?

  • You’ll have the opportunity to develop an in-depth understanding of solid waste management issues and practices, including waste reduction, composting, and recycling.
  • You’ll develop the personal resources to advocate for recycling and sustainability in the community and the workplace.
  • You’ll find opportunities for productive partnerships among your fellow participants.
  • Through service learning and volunteer opportunities, you can become a volunteer educator who can represent the District and its mission.

For application procedures and details about the program’s requirements and activities, program eligibility, and potential topics and tours, see the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District website.

Become a Master Recycler: learn how and why to Keep It Out of the Landfill.

Want to stay in touch with the latest recycling news in the Cleveland area? Just click on the Follow button at the bottom of my blog Home page, or subscribe to my Examiner.com page.

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Free Half-Day Workplace Recycling/Waste Contracting Workshops Begin March 13

The Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District will again present its popular workshops, “Waste and Recycling $ense for Your Business,” in 2014:

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Learn how to use recycling to improve the environment and help your bottom line: it makes $ense.

  • Thursday, March 13
  • Thursday, April 3
  • Wednesday, June 25
  • Tuesday, September 23

What the workshops cover

In these half-day workshops, businesses and non-profits can learn how to start or improve a workplace recycling program and how to contract for waste hauling or recycling. The staff of the Solid Waste District walks participants through the steps to launch or expand a successful workplace waste reduction and recycling program. The workshops cover:

  • Starting a recycling program or improving an existing program
  • Recognizing different recyclable commodities
  • Commercial composting
  • Waste sorting (aka “dumpster diving”) and analysis
  • Choosing proper indoor recycling containers and selecting appropriate signage
  • Making the recycling program sustainable
  • Educating employees, students and visitors on the program
  • Choosing a waste hauling and recycling company
  • Terms and conditions of waste and recycling service contracts
  • Types of contracts, fees, and how to structure an agreement to best suit a business

Who should attend

Any business with an interest in effective management of waste and recycling can benefit from these workshops. Previous attendees — large employers, small businesses, startups — have included:

  • Public venues
  • Hotel chains
  • Manufacturing facilities
  • Universities and schools
  • National parks
  • Places of worship
  • Non-profits
  • Local government
  • Property management and real estate development firms
  • Hospitals

Curious about how the workshops might help your organization? Check out the feedback from previous participants (click here and scroll down to “What are attendees saying about the program?”).

Where and when the workshops are held

All workshops except for the April 3 event are held at the Solid Waste District offices at 4750 East 131 Street in Garfield Heights (map). Driving directions are available here.

The April 3 workshop will be held at the Bedford Heights Community Center, Room 2, 5615 Perkins Road in Bedford Heights (map).

The workshops consist of two sessions:

  • Session 1, Successful Recycling in Your Workplace: 9 a.m.–10:45 a.m.
  • Session 2, Contracting for Waste and Recycling Services: 11 a.m.–noon.

Participants may attend either or both sessions.

The workshops are free, but registration is required. Online registration (click here and scroll down to “Upcoming Seminars”) is available through the Solid Waste District’s website, as is the Solid Waste District’s flyer for the seminars.

More information is available from Business Recycling Specialist Doreen Schreiber at (216) 443-3732 or dschreiber@cuyahogacounty.us.

Want to stay in touch with the latest recycling news in the Cleveland area? Just click on the Follow button at the bottom of my blog Home page, or subscribe to my Examiner.com page.

Free Cuyahoga County Workplace Recycling/Waste Contracting Workshops

The Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District will again present its popular workshops, “Waste and Recycling $ense for Your Business,” in 2013:

Recycle Logo

Learn how to use recycling to improve the environment and help your bottom line: it makes $ense.

  • Thursday, June 27
  • Friday, September 27
  • Friday, November 1

What the workshops cover

In these half-day workshops, businesses and non-profits can learn how to start or improve a workplace recycling program and how to contract for waste hauling or recycling. The staff of the Solid Waste District walks participants through the steps to launch or expand a successful workplace waste reduction and recycling program. The workshops cover:

  • Starting a recycling program or improving an existing program
  • Recognizing different recyclable commodities
  • Commercial composting
  • Waste sorting (aka “dumpster diving”) and analysis
  • Choosing proper indoor recycling containers and selecting appropriate signage
  • Making the recycling program sustainable
  • Educating employees, students and visitors on the program
  • Choosing a waste hauling and recycling company
  • Terms and conditions of waste and recycling service contracts
  • Types of contracts, fees, and how to structure an agreement to best suit a business

Who should attend

Any business with an interest in effective management of waste and recycling can benefit from these workshops. Last year’s attendees — large employers, small businesses, startups — included:

  • Public venues
  • Hotel chains
  • Manufacturing facilities
  • Universities and schools
  • National parks
  • Places of worship
  • Non-profits
  • Local government
  • Property management and real estate development firms
  • Hospitals

Curious about how the workshops might help your organization? Check out the feedback from last year’s participants (click here and scroll down to “What are attendees saying about the program?”).

Where and when the workshops are held

The workshops are held at the Solid Waste District offices at 4750 East 131 Street in Garfield Heights (map).

The workshops consist of two sessions:

  • Session 1, Successful Recycling in Your Workplace: 9 a.m.–10:45 a.m.
  • Session 2, Contracting for Waste and Recycling Services: 11 a.m.–noon.

Participants may attend either or both sessions.

The workshops are free, but registration is required. Online registration (click here and scroll down to “Upcoming Seminars”) is available through the Solid Waste District’s website, as is the Solid Waste District’s flyer for the workshops.

More information is available from Recycling Specialist Doreen Schreiber at (216) 443-3732 or dschreiber@cuyahogacounty.us.

Want to stay in touch with the latest recycling news in the Cleveland area? Just click on the Follow button at the bottom of my blog Home page or subscriibe to my Examiner.com page.

Learn about composting at Solid Waste District seminars

If you’re not already composting, now is a great time to start planning to give your garden the gift of homemade organic soil nutrition. You’ll save money you’d spend on chemical fertilizers, and you’ll keep food waste out of the landfills and sewage treatment plants.

Hands holding compost

Composted kitchen scraps become nutrient-rich soil additive. (Photo credit: Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District)

The Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District is offering Backyard Composting seminars at locations throughout the county during the 2013 growing season. These hour-long seminars include an extensive introduction to composting — what to compost, how and where to build a compost pile, problems to watch for and how to solve them — followed by a question-and-answer session.

For a list of seminar locations and dates, as well as a set of downloadable documents covering backyard composting, vermicomposting, and backyard food digesters, see the Solid Waste District web site. You’ll also find instructions for obtaining free horse manure to enrich your compost pile.

The Solid Waste District also offers for sale two sizes of compost bins and a kitchen collection container. These are available for purchase at the seminars and at the Waste Management District at 4750 E. 131 Street in Garfield Heights.

Composting: turns waste into food … keeps it out of the waste stream … keeps it out of the landfill.

Painesville Township’s Nye Road Recyclables Drop-Off Site Closed

Sad but true: On Monday, December 31 at 11:00 a.m., Painesville Township closed the Nye Road recyclables drop-off site.

I drove over there this afternoon. This is what I found:

Painesville Township has closed its Nye Road recyclables drop-off site.

Painesville Township has closed its Nye Road recyclables drop-off site. (Photo credit: Lenore Collins)

The Fire Department’s collection bin for aluminum cans appears to still be available:

The Painesville Township Nye Road Fire Station's collection bin for aluminum cans remains in place.

The Painesville Township Nye Road Fire Station’s collection bin for aluminum cans remains in place. (photo credit: Lenore Collins

Recycling Drop-Off Sites Closed — But What If I Don’t Have Curbside Recycling?

As a comment on a recent post, a reader asked me a question about recycling drop-off sites. She was looking for a site to replace one that Concord Township (correction: Painesville Township — see fourth comment, below) recently closed. I wish I’d been able to give her more help, but what I found was disappointing — with few exceptions, the central Lake County drop-off sites have closed.

Evidently, our local communities expect us all to use curbside recyclables pickup. That’s fine, if you live in single-family housing. But if you live in a condo or apartment, good luck. Unless the condominium association or apartment management provides it, it’s not available.

Mentor's recycling drop-off site: closed

Mentor’s recycling drop-off site: closed (Photo credit: Lenore Collins)

When Mentor offered drop-off recycling at its site on Center Street, I made a point of keeping my recyclables out of  my trash and taking them to the recycling bins. But Mentor closed the site and removed the bins at the end of January 2012.

When I asked my Mentor council rep where I should now take my recyclables, City Manager Ken Filipiak responded with a link to a page showing local government recycling drop-off locations. In trying to answer my reader’s question, I checked these locations. Many, at least in central Lake County, have now been closed.

Mentor's not kidding: the drop-off site is gone, gone, gone.

Mentor’s not kidding: the drop-off site is gone, gone, gone. (Photo credit: Lenore Collins)

Mr. Filipiak also mentioned that local fire stations maintain collection sites for aluminum cans and suggested the use of the Abitibi PaperRetriever bins for recycling newspapers, magazines, etc. That’s nice, but it still leaves us with our recycling bags full of plastic, glass, and other types of paper. If I can’t recycle them, they’re headed for the dumpster, and from there they go to the landfill.

I feel like a second-class citizen. If we don’t want to — or can’t — pay for curbside recycling or we live in multi-family homes and thus can’t get curbside recycling, well, too bad.

It’s not government’s job to do everything for me, but if local government provides a service for one group of its citizens, it should provide similarly for the rest of us. When it comes to recycling, it doesn’t.

How do others see it? Can we have some discussion of this issue? Does your community offer curbside recycling for apartments and condominiums?

Cuyahoga County student photo contest: show the world how you reduce, reuse, recycle

Area students ages 6–18 are invited to enter the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District’s 3R’s Photo Contest.

Between now and the end of January, keep an eye out for a spontaneous recycling shot or plan a photo shoot related to the 3 R’s: reduce, reuse, recycle. Grab a digital camera or cell phone, capture that great shot, add a clever caption and submit your entry to the Solid Waste District by Thursday, January 31, 2013.

"The 4 R's: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Ruff" was one of the 2012 contest entries.

“The 4 R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Ruff” was one of the 2012 contest entries. (photo credit: Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District)

For a look at some of last year’s entries, check out the Solid Waste District’s Flickr page.

The rules, in brief, are these:

  • Photos must be digital, 3 megapixels or larger.
  • Images must be high/print quality: minimum 2048 x 1536 resolution with 4-inch by 6-inch print (6 megapixel picture with resolution of 3072 x 2048 preferred).
  • Each entry must include the photographer’s name, address, school and age, and must include the photo caption.
  • Entries are due by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on Thursday, January 31, 2013.
  • All students ages 6–18 who are residents of Cuyahoga County or who attend school in Cuyahoga County are eligible to participate.

Complete contest rules and instructions for submitting photographs are available from the contest page on the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District web site.

Photos will be judged in four categories, by age:

  • 6–8 years old
  • 9–11 years old
  • 12–14 years old
  • 15–18 years old

Entries will be reviewed, and at least ten entries per age category will be posted to the Solid Waste District’s website or Flickr page to be available for voting. Prizes will include a poster of winning entries and other Earth Day or recycling themed items, and all participants will receive a certificate thanking them for participating.

Show us how you Keep It Out of the Landfill: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.