Circular Cleveland is a 30-month initiative to develop and implement circular economy strategies and programs in Cleveland. A circular economy is a comprehensive and sustainable approach to provide community-wide benefits by designing waste and pollution out of our economic system, keeping products and materials in use as long as possible, protecting and regenerating natural systems, and creating new jobs.


The Circular Cleveland initiative is a partnership between the City of Cleveland, Cleveland Neighborhood Progress and Neighborhood Connections. In addition, we have recently joined the Ellen MacArthur Foundation network - a collection of other governments, cities, universities, and businesses, determined to actively collaborate, share knowledge and expertise to drive the global transition to a circular economy. The initiative is being funded by a $476,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation as part of a $3 million program to bring the most impactful ideas from across the globe to U.S. cities to address the intertwined issues of health, equity, and climate change. 



The duration of the grant is November 2020 through April 2023 - and is split into two phases of implementation:


Phase I

  • Completion of a scan and roadmap (a comprehensive review of current and potential resources in the region and a plan that outlines the major steps needed to create a Circular Cleveland)
  • The Request for Proposals for the Roadmap was released on January 20, 2021
  • Composting at the West Side Market (Request for Proposals yet to be released)
  • Community workshops held in Cleveland neighborhoods
  • Grants up to $3,000 available to residents through Neighborhood Connections
  • Selection of Circular Cleveland Ambassadors from Cleveland neighborhoods

Phase II 

  • Implementation of the Roadmap plan
  • Additional community workshops
  • Additional grants up to $3,000 available to residents through Neighborhood Connections
  • Incentives for small businesses through the City’s Economic Development Department



We are pleased to announce the first round of funding (phase I) for the Circular Cleveland Community Grants. A total of $40,771 was awarded through this process to fourteen (14) groups and organizations in the city of Cleveland and city of East Cleveland. Circular Cleveland grant award recipients are utilizing the funds to divert waste from the landfill and reduce pollution, keep products and materials in use and restore and renew the natural system.


The Circular Cleveland Grant Making Committee, all local residents involved in Circular Economy initiatives, chose these groups and organizations for funding based on their level of focus on circular economy principles, on their connection to their neighborhood, and on the potential replicability of their initiative. Congratulations to these groups and organizations:





Circular Cleveland Ambassadors are passionate City of Cleveland residents who are interested in reducing waste and pollution, while also supporting economic opportunities in their community. Circular Cleveland Ambassadors will participate in the Circular Cleveland initiative for the duration of the grant program by representing and engaging other Cleveland residents and neighborhoods in our transition to a more circular economy.



Circular Cleveland will build on existing efforts to create circular economy strategies in Cleveland. Through innovation incentives and joint efforts, the project hopes to advance better environmental and community health outcomes for Cleveland residents. As we continue to make progress, all updates will be shared on our blog.


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  • Jo In
    Why not partner with local businesses like littlesparkrefillshop.com that reuses clean, empty, label and adhesive-free plastic containers with lids to package products from their store?
  • Elaine Breiner
    I would like to know if there is anyone/any organization that can use plastic containers, most with lids, all sizes, for anything? I just can’t bring myself to throw in the trash when I think they could be used for something. They are not recycle-able at the Cuyahoga County recycling centers. I have about 8-10 bags in my basement of these (cleaned out, washed, dry) that I would like to find a home for. Thank you.
  • Brittany Montgomery