Cleveland Imposes Fines For Those Who Don't Separate Recyclables From Trash

(Cleveland) - Starting Wednesday, August 1st in Cleveland, if you're recycling wrong, it's going to cost you.

The city will begin issuing low-level citations for trash collection and recycling enforcement. You could face a ticket for excess waste left out of city-issued bins. That old tube TV or broken bookcase? They'll still pick it up but only in the first full week of the month.

You can be fined for having:

-Trash mixed with recycling

-Excess waste outside of City-issued bins.

-Bins set out too early (before noon the day before the scheduled pick-up)

-Leaving bins out too late (after noon the day after the scheduled pick-up)

Now, on to those recyclables…

Plastic bags

This might come as a shock to those of you for whom a grocery bag doubles-up as a recycling bag. You're actually doing way more harm than good by trying to recycle plastic bags at home, since they're one of the worst contaminants in the recycling process. The notorious "tanglers" can damage equipment and shut down a recycling conveyor belt for hours.

The silver lining to your blue/gray bag? Your local grocery store probably recycles them.

Disposable cups

This one isn't even really your fault. To-go coffee cups made of paper are technically recyclable, something that some companies actively promote on their packaging. But with plastic polyethylene lining, the cups are nearly impossible to actually recycle.

It's even more difficult to sort the cup's plastic from its paper if it still have some liquid at the bottom - so even if you mess up and toss it in the recycling bin, at least be in the habit of washing everything out!

Less than one percent of coffee cups are recycled.

Greasy Pizza Boxes

Yes, you can recycle cardboard. Yes, a pizza box is made of cardboard. But no, you cannot recycle pizza boxes.

The issue comes from the crumbs, cheese and grease that - while delicious - can contaminate the whole recycling process.

Containers with food residue

Think your healthy, sans-pizza lifestyle means you're in the clear? Not so fast.

Globs of peanut butter stuck to the jar, scraps of salad at the bottom of a plastic container, or a few drops of milk at the bottom of the jug can all inhibit the recycling process.

Some estimates say up to 25% of all recyclables are rejected. Contaminants can ruin good recyclables, in which case all the contents of the bin must be thrown into the dump.

If you're not sure if something can be recycled, don't do it.

(Photo by Thomas Samson/AFP/Getty Images)

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