SWACO News

Posted on: July 17, 2017

Executive Director Ty Marsh Mid-Year Update on SWACO Priorities

The four strategic initiatives, identified by the SWACO Board of Directors at the beginning of 2016, are guiding SWACO’s daily activities.

SWACO team members have been working efficiently and effectively to continue to drive change throughout the organization.

At the center of this process is an unwavering commitment to transparency and collaboration.

To keep you informed and involved, below is a mid-year update on SWACO’s strategic priorities and future opportunities for engagement throughout the decision making process.

Priority: Recycle More

Increase the recovery of materials from the community’s solid waste stream

girl recyclingThe Solid Waste Management Plan describes SWACO’s strategies to reduce the community’s reliance on landfills and achieve Ohio’s mandated waste reduction and diversion goals, including:

•25% diversion rate for residential/commercial categories

•60% diversion rate for industrial categories

•90% of the population has access to recycling opportunities

Updated every five years, the Plan outlines the types of programs and services SWACO provides to support the reduction of waste.

As a result of a $5 generation fee collected on every ton of waste disposed of at the landfill, the annual program budget is approximately $5 million.  

A draft of the Plan Update was completed in November 2016 and has been moving through the review process with Franklin County political subdivisions, Franklin County Commissioners, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, and the SWACO Board of Trustees.

SWACO values engagement and collaboration within all 41 communities in the District. Here is what a few had to say in response to the draft Plan.

"We are grateful for our long standing relationship with SWACO and are supportive of their efforts to support the community in reduction, reuse, recycling, composting and safe disposal of unwanted items.”  

Shawn Conrad
Executive Director
Grove City Area Chamber of Commerce


"As a community committed to reducing our footprint, we’re excited by the new programs and areas of focus identified by SWACO on behalf of our community.”

Ben Kessler
Mayor
City of Bexley

SWACO Kids ActivityThe draft Plan includes:

•New resources including outreach and educational campaigns

•New recycling programs for businesses and multi-family housing

•New programs to support recycling at public events and venues

•Enhanced recycling and educational school programs

•Expanded grant programs to further waste reduction and innovation

•Customized waste reduction planning for communities

•Evaluation and modification of existing programs such as drop off recycling, household hazardous waste, and illegal dumping

•Renewed focus on programs for hard to recycle materials such as tires, electronics and food waste

This month SWACO presented the amended draft Plan to the SWACO Board of Trustees for validation, and from August through October, the public and 41 communities in the district will review the draft Plan to move towards approval.

In November, a plan will be adopted and provided to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Priority: Dispose of Waste

Adopt a long-term plan that extends the life of the landfill to exceed 30 years of capacity

Place RSL3Although SWACO’s goal is to continue to increase recycling levels and raise additional awareness for reuse and reduction, SWACO has a responsibility to provide for the safe, healthy and efficient disposal of the waste that is not recycled or reused.

To do so, earlier this year, SWACO began a community conversation to extend the life of the landfill. The proposed extension gives the landfill a total disposal life of more than 50 years, until the year 2068.

The strategic direction, set by the SWACO Board of Trustees, will maintain our commitment to neighbors to remain within the existing triangle footprint.

The plan would:
•Increase the area of waste disposal by approximately 50 feet

•Increase the slope of the landfill sides from a ratio of 4:1 to 3:1

•Ensure safe and transparent operation of the landfill

•Place public health and environmental safety first

•Preserve the ability for potential future benefit of the reuse of the waste to be returned to the families, residents and businesses in the District

During SWACO’s informational meetings with the community, the plan received positive community support:

“SWACO continues to be a significant community asset and contributor to our region’s economic base. By ensuring the long-term viability of and accessibility to landfill space, which is important for business operations and expenses, SWACO helps Columbus 2020 achieve its core mission to recruit and retain businesses in our region.”

Kenny McDonald
President and CEO
Columbus 2020

“SWACO has been a good neighbor to Pleasant Township by operating the landfill in a way that is safe, accountable, and protective of the public health and environment.” 
Pleasant Township Board of Trustees
April 10, 2017 Letter

SWACO's positive and collaborative relationships with health and environmental organizations are testaments to the importance SWACO places on ensuring the materials that are disposed of at the Franklin County Sanitary Landfill do not present a threat to public health and safety.

SWACO anticipates receiving a draft permit from the Ohio EPA to proceed with the extension.

At that time, the Ohio EPA will hold a public hearing to review the draft permit and obtain community input and feedback.

Priority: Rate Structure

Adopt a rate structure that sustains SWACO’s capital and operating funding requirements 

At SWACO, we believe the landfill is a Franklin County asset and public ownership helps to keep costs low.

After a three-month process including public hearings on the new proposed rate structure, a formal action by the SWACO Board of Trustees was completed.

A new rate structure, a $3 reduction in rate per ton for disposal, (also known as a tipping fee), went into effect on April 1, 2017.  The current rate is $39.75 per ton.

The good news is that the new rate will continue to allow the organization to sustain current operations, maintain appropriate fund balance reserves, and provide diversion programming in 2017.

Priority: Communications

Enhance SWACO’s transparency and engagement with the community

Banner Search Tool V3.0Over the past six months SWACO has made great strides in expanding and improving its outreach and communication.

A new and improved website was unveiled in May that includes a new searchable database that allows users to identify how and where to reuse and recycle unwanted items.

A new community calendar highlights green and sustainability events including SWACO events and board meetings.
Board Members with Full Truck 01

A new brand was introduced this year to gain additional awareness and to establish a new messaging platform that focuses on recycling, reuse and generating income opportunities for waste.

A new annual community impact report was created and inserted into the Columbus Dispatch to reach over 100,000 residents and businesses in the county. It was also distributed digitally to over 5,000 SWACO stakeholders. The report is available on the SWACO website.

A new mobile application will be launched this year to increase location access to drop off recycling containers, reuse and recycling businesses, and to report illegal dumping or littering.

Educational BoothSWACO expanded outreach and collaboration with businesses and community partners at 14 events to promote reuse, reduction and recycling. Partners include the Veteran’s Administration, Kindergarten through 12th grade school systems, The Ohio State University, The City of Columbus’s GreenSpot and Green Columbus programs, Sunny 95 Radio, White Castle Systems, the Ohio History Center, and Franklin Park Conservatory.

Look for SWACO at the Dublin Irish Festival in August and the Vermicomposting Workshop for teachers in October. SWACO will be partnering with Franklin Park Conservatory and the Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District.

Get involved in our new district wide educational campaign that will be launched this year by taking our survey and demonstrate your recycling knowledge!

Thank you for your support and engagement

As a community resource, SWACO is a stronger organization today through improved efficiency, deeper community relationships, and a solid commitment to collaboration and results.

Your feedback and your participation at public meetings, community discussions, events and program offerings are vital and greatly valued.

We invite you to subscribe to the digital news updates as well as follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

T. Marsh signature

Ty D. Marsh

Executive Director 

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