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SWACO News

Posted on: November 15, 2021

New Multifamily Housing Recycling Program Announced on America Recycles Day

SWACO is announcing a new multifamily housing recycling pilot program conducted with The Recycling Partnership and the City of Columbus to help kick off America Recycles Day on November 15. 

The six-month pilot is designed to reach up to 10,000 units in Columbus apartment and condominium complexes, and to better understand the challenges and opportunities for convenient on-site recycling for families and residents who live there. SWACO will use the pilot’s findings to develop a multifamily housing recycling program to be deployed across Franklin County. The pilot will also provide useful insights to the city as it considers how to meet the recycling needs of multifamily housing residents.

While Franklin County’s 51 percent recycling rate exceeds the national average of 34 percent, residents and businesses across the region still send nearly a million tons of material each year to the landfill and the largest portion of these materials is derived from commercial properties, including multifamily housing, schools, and local businesses, to name a few. 

“This pilot program is an important step in understanding the barriers to recycling at apartments and condos, which remains a significant focus area for SWACO as we move toward our goal of reducing the community’s reliance on the landfill by an additional 25 percent by 2032,” said Ty Marsh, Executive Director for SWACO. “We are grateful to move forward in partnership with the City of Columbus and The Recycling Partnership to realize our long-term vision of a cleaner, more sustainable community in which everyone has easier access to recycling.”

New recycling containers will be placed at participating properties, and each apartment resident will receive a reusable tote to collect recyclables and carry them to the container. The tote will include educational materials that show how to recycle right and why it is important to do so. Throughout the pilot, SWACO will monitor materials being collected in the recycling containers and the level of contamination, using the latest technology with in-container cameras.

The Recycling Partnership estimates that 13 of 22 million multifamily units in the U.S. do not have recycling access on their property. To help address this, the organization has piloted similar programs in other major cities, including Detroit, Atlanta and Dallas. 

“The Recycling Partnership, with ongoing financial support provided in part by the PepsiCo Foundation’s All In On Recycling initiative, is excited to continue the work to improve recycling in Ohio with SWACO and the City of Columbus,” says Alita Kane, Community Programs Manager at The Recycling Partnership. “The families and residents in these multifamily housing units will be able to recycle as easily as they can throw something away leading to reducing waste, keeping valuable recyclables out of the landfill, and supporting local jobs.” 

The multifamily recycling pilot is the latest effort by the city to work with SWACO and other partners to identify opportunities to reduce waste and create a cleaner, more prosperous future for all Franklin County residents. 

“Columbus is a best-in-class model when it comes to reducing waste, and we need to continue to find ways to ensure every resident, no matter where they live, has the access and means to recycle,” said Aryeh Alex, manager of Keep Columbus Beautiful. “By participating in this pilot with SWACO and The Recycling Partnership, the city will gain critical insights that may enhance the way we recycle across the community.” 

The announcement comes on America Recycles Day, an annual celebration coordinated by Keep America Beautiful to promote and improve recycling across the country. SWACO offers several opportunities to learn more about or participate more in recycling this month: 

  • Recycle Right Webinar (November 17 at 12 p.m.): While it’s important to recycle, it’s also important to Recycle Right. By taking just a few minutes to recycle the right way, you help reduce pollution, contribute to cleaner water, conserve limited natural resources, support our economy and reduce central Ohio’s reliance on landfills. SWACO recycling experts will go over the basics of how to recycle correctly, dispel notions and myths and answer your recycling questions. The event is free and open to the public. Register here
  • Take it to the Curb: Every city in Franklin County now offers homeowners a curbside recycling program, making it easy and convenient for residents to recycle. For individuals and families who don’t have a curbside recycling program, SWACO operates drop-off locations for recyclables. To find the closest drop-off location near you, click here
  • Look up!: If you find yourself near downtown Columbus this week, look up to see the blue and green glow emanating from the LeVeque Tower, the AEP building and the Franklin County government building, all of which will be using their building lights to support America Recycles Day. Snap a pic and share with us on social media! 
  • Get Social: Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn to learn more about waste diversion efforts in Franklin County. Learn about commonly accepted materials, hear about innovative programs from municipalities and other partners, and be the first to know about upcoming events, giveaways and more. 

To learn more about community efforts to reduce waste in Franklin County, visit www.swaco.org or click here. Together, we can make a difference.

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