In recognition that climate plays a critical role in our community’s quality of life, economic well-being and long-term sustainability, SWACO has committed to reducing its carbon footprint and, ultimately, its impact on climate change.
In its recently released Carbon Emissions Management Plan, SWACO lays out a comprehensive strategy to reduce carbon emissions 64% within its operational and financial control by 2032. The plan addresses landfill gasses, SWACO’s fleet of vehicles and equipment, and energy and waste-management practices at the organization’s headquarters and other facilities.
The Plan also highlights innovative public-private partnerships SWACO has created to further reduce landfill gases and help partner organizations reduce their overall emissions through a reduction in their reliance on the landfill by reducing waste, and increasing reuse, recycling and composting programs.
Coupled together, the Plan activities will help SWACO reach its goal and are in alignment with the international Paris Accord to limit the global average temperature increase to 1.5°C (2.7°F).
“SWACO’s stated vision is a community that is both environmentally safe and resourceful,” said Ty Marsh, Executive Director of SWACO. “We want to walk the walk when it comes to protecting our environment, so our plan identifies measures for reducing the carbon footprint of our facilities.”
Specifically, the plan aims to:
- Reduce emissions from SWACO’s fleet of vehicles and equipment. SWACO will continue to transition its fleet from gas and diesel fuel to alternate fuel sources, primarily compressed natural gas and electricity.
- Reduce building electricity and fuel. SWACO will implement conservation measures to reduce the energy use at its headquarters and other facilities and will consider incorporating renewable energy sources, including wind, solar and geothermal, into its power supply.
- Reduce waste material. SWACO will continue recycling, composting and re-using materials and supporting circular economy practices, including purchasing supplies made of recycled content.
- Reduce landfill gas emissions. SWACO will continue to engage in a public-private partnership to capture and reuse methane gas generated at the Franklin County Sanitary Landfill and will continue to offer programs and services to help the community reduce its reliance on the landfill.
SWACO is the only Solid Waste Authority in the state of Ohio to own and operate a public landfill. The Franklin County Sanitary Landfill serves all of Franklin County. Reducing gas emissions at the landfill requires action by every person and business in the Solid Waste District.
To help, SWACO employs innovative best practices at the landfill to capture and reuse the methane produced by decomposing waste. To do this, SWACO partners with Aria Energy to capture landfill gas at the current Franklin County Sanitary Landfill site, clean it and turn it into a renewable resource that heats 13,000 central Ohio homes every year.
Most recently, SWACO announced a new partnership with BQ Energy to install a 50- megawatt solar array at the closed landfill site between Jackson Pike and I-71. The solar array will be one of the largest on a closed landfill site in the nation and when operational, will produce enough electricity to power more than 5,000 homes a year.
“When we choose to take personal responsibility and reduce the amount of waste we’re creating individually, and resolve to recycle and compost more, we reduce our reliance on the landfill and can further our region’s efforts to stop climate change,” stated Jeff Wilkins, SWACO’s Director of Administration and team lead for the Carbon Emissions Management Plan.
Wilkins continued, “Meeting these goals will require action from the community to reduce their reliance on the landfill. Each year, SWACO invests hundreds of thousands of dollars into area schools and universities, non-profits, events, community programs and services for residents to reduce waste and increase reuse, recycling and composting activities in the District.”
SWACO will also continue to offer programs and services directly to businesses and residents in order to divert organic material and other waste from the landfill through programs like Save More Than Food and Recycle Right, Make a Difference.
“I’m proud of the steps that SWACO is taking to reduce its carbon footprint and minimize its role in climate change,” said Marsh, “We want people to know they can count on us to do our part in making central Ohio an environmentally safe and resourceful place to live.”