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Central Ohioans are recycling more than ever before. In 2017, the latest year for which we have statistics, our region’s residents and businesses diverted 49 percent of all the waste they created from the Franklin County Sanitary Landfill through recycling, reusing, composting and other waste diversion methods. This is a remarkable achievement that reflects our region’s commitment to keeping our environment clean and our landfill sustainable for generations to come.
You can read about the efforts that helped make this new record recycling rate possible in SWACO’s recently released 2018 Community Impact Report. The report uses animation and interactive features to tell the story of SWACO’s impact on Central Ohio in 2018 and shares the innovative new programs that will help us reach our goal of diverting 75 percent of all waste in Central Ohio by 2032. I hope you enjoy the report’s new digital format, which aligns with SWACO’s mission – to reduce our reliance on the landfill through effective waste diversion – by reducing the amount of paper we use in our own operations.
Extending the life of the landfill was one of our significant accomplishments last year. We received approval from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to increase the landfill’s capacity, ensuring its availability for years to come. We now estimate that the landfill will have enough space to serve the needs of Franklin County for the next 43 years.
SWACO added food waste to its plate in 2018 by creating the Central Ohio Food Waste Initiative, a group of more than 60 organizations tasked with developing a Food Waste Action Plan to help our region cut food waste in half by 2030. The plan, which we released in May, focuses on three priorities: preventing food waste, rescuing edible food waste and recycling food waste. You can learn more about this initiative and read the Food Waste Action Plan at COFWI.org.
In May, we began rolling out 38,000 new 65-gallon recycling carts to households in Bexley, Gahanna, Reynoldsburg, Westerville and Blendon Township. These wheeled recycling carts increase recycling because they’re easy to move and have a large capacity. In addition, the lids help prevent litter from blowing out and polluting our streets. You can learn about our residential recycling carts initiative here.
We’re just as committed to helping businesses create or improve their own recycling programs. SWACO’s new business programs administrator, Brian Zimmerman, will engage with Central Ohio businesses to help them increase their recycling effectiveness.
I encourage you to keep reading to learn more about the things we’re doing at SWACO to foster sustainability and waste diversion in Franklin County.