Cuyahoga County Enrolling 2016 Master Recycler Class

The Cuyahoga County Solid Waste Management District is accepting applications for its 2016 Master Recycler class.


I took this class in 2013, 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 zero waste/waste reduction, waste management, 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.

This year’s classes begin Wednesday evening, September 14. 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.


Can we build homes from plastic waste?


Yes, we can. All over the world, people are building homes from materials made from plastic waste.

Plastic waste as a building material:
a sustainable way to Keep It Out of the Landfill.


Protect yourself from identity theft: Community Paper Shred Day, Saturday, April 15 at Mentor Library

On Saturday, April 15, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Mentor Public Library invites Mentor residents and library patrons to bring documents to be shredded to the Main Library’s auxiliary parking lot at the corner of Mentor Avenue and Sharonlee Drive (map).

Mentor Public Library is hosting the Community Paper Shred event in partnership with XPress Shredding of Mentor, at no cost to the library or participants. The event will go on no matter the weather: rain or shine, or even (oh, please, no!) snow.

Mentor Public Library logo

(credit: Mentor Public Library)

How much paper of your paper will be accepted?

Bring as many as five paper-storage boxes of documents (paper grocery bags are acceptable), which will be:

  • Unloaded from your car (you don’t need to get out of your vehicle).
  • Placed into locked bins.
  • Moved to a secured truck attended at all times by XPress Shredding staff.
  • Taken to XPress Shredding’s facility to be thoroughly destroyed.
  • Finally, recycled.

Protect your identity: shred your documents, and Keep Them Out of the Landfill.

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

Shop Recycled: Habitat for Humanity to Open New ReStore in Eastlake

Great news for the local Recycling/Zero Waste community: according to a report earlier this month in the News-Herald, Lake-Geauga Habitat for Humanity will open a 17,000-square-foot retail store in the old Sears outlet facility at 34255 Vine Street in Eastlake. (Click here to read the News-Herald article.)

Habitat ReStores are retail stores open to the public. By accepting donations of new and gently used furniture, housewares, building materials, tools, plumbing, electrical supplies, etc., ReStores are able to resell these items at 50%–75% off retail prices. Low prices save money for savvy shoppers, and the proceeds help Habitat for Humanity to build affordable housing for low-income families.

A little over two years ago, I reported the closing of the Lake County Habitat for Humanity Painesville ReStore. (Read the full article here.) About a year ago, Geauga County Habitat for Humanity, now Lake-Geauga Habitat for Humanity, became Habitat International’s affiliate organization for Lake County. (Read the News-Herald report here.)

The new store, expected to open in July 2016, will be in addition to the Geauga County ReStore in Newbury and, at least initially, will maintain the same hours as the Newbury store, Fridays and Saturdays, 9 am–5 pm.

Habitat for Humanity provides affordable housing for families in need by building new homes and rehabbing abandoned properties which would otherwise be demolished. Renovation instead of demolition reuses much of the existing structure, thus keeping building materials out of the landfill. Reuse of materials donated to Habitat’s ReStores helps contain building costs and makes use of what otherwise is likely to be discarded. (How much can you save by shopping at a Habitat for Humanity ReStore? I saved over $2,000 when I purchased my Jenn-Air range at a local ReStore. Read the full story here.)

Habitat for Humanity ReStores: Keeping Building Materials Out of the Landfill.

Want to stay in touch with the latest zero waste and recycling news in the Cleveland area? Just click on the Follow button at the bottom of my blog Home page.

The Facts About Goodwill Industries

For several years, some of my friends and family have been telling me that they won’t donate to or shop at Goodwill Industries because their chief executive is overpaid and their workers get paid very little.

I finally checked this out. According to (accurate information for Goodwill is about 4/5 of the way down the page), it was never true, and it certainly isn’t true now.

Here’s how some legitimate sources evaluate Goodwill Industries:

Let’s put this outrageous calumny where it belongs: in the landfill!

Want to stay in touch with the latest zero waste and recycling news in the Cleveland area? Just click on the Follow button at the bottom of my blog Home page.

Microbeads: These Things Belong in the Landfill

From the December 14, 2015 issue of online publication Waste Dive:

A bill that would completely ban the manufacturing or sale of bath products and cosmetics containing microbeads by 2019 is pending a final approval from the U.S. Senate this week before heading to President Obama’s desk. If a vote is quickly made and the bill is signed, it could be made a law before the year’s end. (Read more.)

For years, many soaps, scrubs, and other personal care products have included, as an exfoliating agent, tiny plastic beads. These microbeads enter the wastewater system, where they are too small for most filtration systems to remove them. So they enter our lakes, streams, and groundwater and, because they are plastic, they attract toxins. As a result:

  • They pollute our water.
  • They make their way into the food chain.
  • They poison the animals that mistake them for food.
  • They may end up on your dinner plate, and perhaps your drinking water.

Learn more about microbeads here and here.

How can you tell whether a product contains microbeads? Look at the label: polyethylene or polypropylene means that the product contains plastic. Sometimes you need only look at the front of the package: if it says microbeads, there’s your clue.

For lists of products that contain microbeads, click here and here. For microbead-free products, click here. (Note: these lists are not exhaustive.) To examine a specific product’s ingredients list, search the web for the product name. The manufacturer’s website may list the ingredients, and I’ve found this information for many products on

Several years ago, before I ever heard about microbeads, I purchased a facial scrub. Great exfoliant — I loved it! I picked up a couple more tubes so I wouldn’t run out.

Then I learned — it contains microbeads. Much as I hate to throw anything into the trash, that’s where this product is going, right to the landfill. At least there it will be kept out of our groundwater and sewer systems.

If you’re interested in following the waste management industry — landfills, collections, recycling, waste-to-energy, and much more — consider signing up for Waste Dive’s daily online newsletter. More information is available here.

Want to stay in touch with the latest zero waste and recycling news in the Cleveland area? Just click on the Follow button at the bottom of my blog Home page.

Shiloh Industries: 11th Location Is Landfill Free

Congratulations to Valley City, Ohio’s Shiloh Industries for reaching landfill-free status at eleven of its facilities — all of its locations in Europe and Mexico, and five of its U.S. plants — and for continued progress toward total landfill-free status at its remaining plants, which are now an average of 97.4% landfill-free.

Shiloh Industries, #32 in Forbes magazine’s 2014 list of America’s Best Small Companies, has reached this milestone by utilizing recyclable raw materials and identifying alternative solutions for the waste produced. Through the first ten months of the fiscal year ending October 31, 2015, the Medina County based company has kept 220 million pounds of waste material out of landfills.

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.