SWACO promotes recycling

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By Linda Dillman
Staff Writer

The Solid Waste Authority’s recent 2020 Community Impact Report is a mirror reflecting the way COVID-19 hit every aspect of daily life, such as a massive increase in trash including cardboard shipping boxes.

At the same time, communities across the area—such as Canal Winchester, who implemented a curbside recycling program for the first time—are helping to divert recyclables from the trash stream.

According to the annual report, during the first months of the pandemic, SWACO waste hauling partners experienced a 30 percent increase in trash set out for weekly pick up.
However, recycling haulers did not experience the same level of increase.

Forty percent of Franklin County’s waste stream is generated by residents, families and other households, yet less than half of the recyclables households could recycle are captured.

In Franklin County, the most frequently tossed-out items include food, cardboard, paper towels and napkins, and magazines and newspapers, which all could be diverted from the landfill.

“Many residents don’t know that more than 75 percent of Franklin County’s landfill material has the potential to be reused, recycled or composted, instead of simply being landfilled, so there’s work to be done,” according to the SWACO report. “In response, throughout the year, the team at SWACO worked with dozens of communities and businesses to improve recycling programs.”

As a result of Canal Winchester’s decision to go with a recycling program through their waste hauler, every city in Franklin County now offers residents curbside recycle.

“While we may be the last to do so, we did it at a time when we could get waste and curbside recycling at a cost of less than we were paying for just waste pickup alone,” said Canal Winchester Mayor Mike Ebert.

Hamilton Township offers weekly curbside recycling as part of their township-wide trash hauling contract.

SWACO is also working on reducing food waste as one of the best opportunities to increase redirection of material away from the county landfill and reach the 75 percent diversion goal.

Along with members of the Central Ohio Food Waste initiative, in 2020, SWACO spent the year working on food waste solutions identified in an initiative action plan, such as resources for schools and a new consumer education campaign, as well as supporting local restaurants.

“While many schools, restaurants and businesses were closed last year as a result of the pandemic, SWACO spent the year providing guidance for more sustainable ways to function after re-openings,” according to the SWACO report, “and offering businesses information on ow to implement best practices for reducing waste and improving recycling and composting.”

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