dusk view of downtown Cleveland Skyline

Source: Nivek Neslo / Getty

Cleveland’s mean efforts to get green made national news in 2010.

“This radio frequency chip and barcode will soon be implanted in containers to tell the city who’s recycling who’s not,” said Channel 3’s Tom Beres in a report at the time. “You may be subject to a fine if you’re not recycling properly.”

The penalty? A $100 fine that five years later, no one has paid.

“We’re not fining anyone for not recycling. We’re not,” said Michael Cox, director of Public Works for Cleveland. “We asked everyone. It’s a mandatory recycling process.”

The six-year roll out for the city’s one-time ambitious plan to curb its waste programs and force recycling with RFID chips is just about complete. But residents we talked to say they have no idea how it works.

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