SWACO is proud to share a progress update on the critical steps the organization, its partners and the Franklin County community have taken to reduce our collective carbon footprint and limit our impact on climate change. The update looks back on progress made in 2020 to achieve the goals of the Carbon Emissions Management Plan, SWACO’s comprehensive strategy set a goal to reduce carbon emissions 64% by 2032. The goal is aligned with the international Paris Accord to limit the global average temperature increase to 1.5°C (2.7°F). The plan, which implemented in 2020 and rolled out to the public in January 2021, addresses landfill gasses, SWACO’s fleet of vehicles and equipment, energy usage and waste-management practices at the organization’s headquarters and other facilities.
In recognition of the critical role that climate plays 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. SWACO – with support from the entire community – has made a significant step toward realizing its long-term goals to reduce the community’s impact on the environment.
Highlights from 2020 include:
- SWACO facilities are now powered 100% by renewable energy; the organization has reduced its building energy emissions by 99%.
- SWACO piloted multiple programs aimed at reducing waste at its facilities, resulting in 57% fewer deliveries to its administrative office and a 52% reduction in paper usage.
- During 2020, Community Waste Reduction Grants reduced approximately 1,405 metric tons of CO2e and diverted over 4,800 tons of food and other material from the landfill.
- SWACO’s Residential Dropbox program diverted over 15,000 metric tons of CO2e from the landfill.
- SWACO’s partnership with Aria Energy to capture methane gas produced at the landfill, clean it, and turn it into a renewable source of energy provides over 13,000 homes with clean energy and captured over 14,045 metric tons of CO2e in 2020.
“We know the road ahead is long, but we are incredibly proud of the work that our organization, our partners and the community has done to help bring our goals within reach,” said Ty Marsh, Executive Director of SWACO. “It’s important that people across our community can look to SWACO as a leader in defining how we all collectively respond to climate change, trusting that we’re taking the steps necessary to protect the people and places that call Central Ohio home for generations to come.”
The Carbon Emissions Management 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 onsite renewable energy sources, including wind, solar and geothermal. *As of 2021, SWACO is powered by 100% renewable energy sources therefore future efforts will focus on generating onsite geothermal or solar energy.
- 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.
“While we stand proudly in the face of our accomplishments, our progress cannot continue without the help and support of every member of our community. This means we rely on the commitment of every individual and business to reduce the amount of waste we’re creating, resolving to recycle the right way and find more ways to reuse materials and compost unused food,” stated Jeff Wilkins, SWACO’s Director of Administration and team lead for the Carbon Emissions Management Plan. “Making small changes in our daily actions can have a profound – and exponential – impact, reducing our reliance on the landfill and furthering our region’s efforts to limit climate change.”
To make it even easier for residents to contribute to the county’s long-term goals to reduce our carbon footprint, SWACO will 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.
To download the Carbon Emissions Management Plan, the Annual Report of for more information about the program, visit swaco.org/emissions.