By Amanda Ensinger
Cleaning up the township continues to be a priority for the Franklin Township trustees. At a recent meeting, the board took this initiative to the next level by announcing a partnership with the Solid Waste Authority (SWACO).
During the meeting, SWACO representatives shared information with community members about free recycling drop off locations in the township, as well as asked the township to work with them to reduce environmental crimes in the community.
“There are 57 locations and over 100 containers in service in Franklin County to drop off recycling,” said Albert Losue, programs administrator for SWACO. “One of these locations in Franklin Township is at the Franklin Township Fire Station 192. At this location, everything from paper to metal cans to glass bottles are accepted.”
Losue said the biggest issue the agency is finding is that people are recycling items that can not be accepted, including plastic or foam food containers, plastic bags and coffee or solo cups. This has become such an issue that the organization is updating their recycling stations to highlight what can and can’t be recycled.
“It can be confusing to people because these items are recyclable, but they can’t be accepted in Franklin County,” Losue said. “We can only recycle items that Rumpke accepts, and Rumpke will only accept certain items. However, it is still important to recycle what is accepted because it saves natural resources and is better than the items ending up in the landfill.”
SWACO officials also asked the board to give the Environmental Crimes Task Force of Central Ohio more access to the township to reduce environmental crimes in the community. The task force was established in 1992 and is a partnership between SWACO, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, the Franklin County Prosecutor, the Franklin County Environmental County, the Franklin County Public Health Department and the city of Columbus.
“One of our focuses is to clean up the townships and we want to develop a partnership with your township through increasing communications with leadership, citizens and neighborhood groups,” Losue said. “We want to educate these community stakeholders and provide them with resources and teach them how to report a crime.”
The task force also wants to partner with the Franklin Township Police Department and provide training to law enforcement related to environmental crimes.
“Any help you can give us would be appreciated,” said Ralph Horn, township trustee. “We have a big problem here with illegal dumping.”
SWACO said besides illegal dumping, the biggest environmental crimes in central Ohio include illegal burning, improper releasing of hazardous waste, air pollution and illegal transportation of scrap metal.
“There is an above average issue with illegal dumping in this township,” Losue said. “I would love to work with you on this issue and really increase our presence in the community. We can focus on problematic areas, speak and educate residents and work with the police to crack down on these issues.”
The task force plans to start their education campaign with National Night Out on Tuesday, Aug. 7.