- Cleveland has started enforcing a new waste ticketing system and residents are not happy. Fines can range from $100 to $500 for leaving waste outside of cans or putting bulk items out on the wrong day.
- The city says it informed all residents of the change by mail and gave out warnings during a grace period of 6-7 months before writing any tickets.
- The new Division of Waste Commissioner Paul Alcantar said he is reviewing the system and will have a report out by the end of next month.
As reported by WEWS News, the city actually extended the planned Jan. 1 start date in an effort to help residents get used to the new system. At the time, the city said it had issued 2,400 warnings since May 2015 and ticketed 99 people for second offenses. Yet some residents still say they never heard about the changes.
Cleveland has struggled with waste issues recently. Last year, the city spent $1.3 million on overtime — nearly three times its original budget — due to worker inefficiencies. Highway littering has also been a major problem, with more than 8,000 bags of waste collected along the region's interstates during March.
The city announced a collaboration with The Recycling Partnership last year to help raise residential diversion rates from 13% to 26% within a year. The campaign, called "One Simple Act," coincided with new recycling carts and increased educational efforts. While no one likes getting fines, the residents of Cleveland have had many opportunities to learn about their city's new waste efforts. As with the increasingly popular pay-as-you-throw model, sometimes people need to feel the financial effects of their actions before finally changing their ways.