Like many Franklin County families, businesses and organizations that continued to be impacted by the pandemic last year, challenges were also felt in the waste stream.

SWACO’s financial management and innovative partnerships have allowed us to maintain some of the lowest disposal costs in central Ohio, reducing costs as operations grew and our community reached record levels of reuse, recycling and composting.

SWACO will soon release its annual Community Impact Report, providing insight into these trends and updates on local partnerships to improve food waste recycling and diversion and highlighting new projects underway for the year. coming.

Central Ohio has a lot to celebrate. Our diversion rate has increased to 51%, meaning our community has relied less on landfill and more on reducing, reusing, recycling and composting waste in the last year, extending life landfill to meet the needs of a growing population.

Highlights from the Community Impact Report include:

• New partnerships that have helped divert COVID-19 vaccine packaging from landfill to area recyclers to make new products

• A collaboration with the City of Whitehall which improved the residential recycling program, saving residents money and doubling the city’s recycling rate

• Research conducted in the city of Upper Arlington, which found that the combination of education and access to infrastructure reduces the amount of food waste a home sends to landfill

• Results of mobile collection events, which resulted in the safe disposal of significant quantities of e-waste, prescription drugs and household hazardous waste

And yet, our community still depended on the county dump. Last year, SWACO processed an additional 45,000 tonnes of materials, a 4% increase over 2020. Today, more than 75% of materials sent to landfill have the potential to be diverted through programs and new or existing infrastructure.

From waste to resources:The SWACO grant program finances our future

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SWACO is pleased to have several exciting milestones on the horizon that will continue to increase the diversion of materials away from landfill and harness them for greater opportunities.

Here are some of those steps:

• In June, we welcomed Joe Lombardi as Executive Director of SWACO. Joe’s extensive experience in public finance, his knowledge of SWACO and his strong ties to the community are key to advancing our strategic direction and achieving a diversion target of 75%.

• Columbus Solar Park, a solar panel on a closed landfill owned by SWACO that will provide renewable energy to thousands of homes in central Ohio, continues to move forward.

• Before the end of the year, SWACO will launch new incentives to help more businesses in the region to participate in a recycling program.

• Collaborations with local and national partners will make it easier and easier for families and residents living in apartments to recycle.

We are proud of the priority Central Ohio places on sustainability, and we look forward to working with the community to build on these accomplishments and achieve new milestones.

Hanna Greer-Brown is Communications Manager for SWACO.

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