Five more Franklin County municipalities are rolling out curbside recycling carts through a partnership with the Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio.
SWACO Executive Director Ty Marsh says expanding the carts program helps better address the region's changing waste stream now and into the future.
"Our population in Franklin County is booming," Marsh noted. "Many experts predict central Ohio will be home to a million more people over the next 30 years. If that's true and if we continue to create and dispose of waste at the same rate we do today, we'll be faced with figuring out what to do with nearly a million more tons of unwanted material. So at SWACO, we want to change that. We set a goal of helping Franklin County reach a recycling rate of 75 percent. We are now at 49 percent, one of the highest in the Midwest. We believe the 75 percent rate is achievable, but we'll need everyone's participation to make it happen. The switch these communities have made to the larger, more efficient carts is a great step towards meeting that goal."
Marsh says communities with the carts have seen recycling increase as much as 30 percent. Bexley, Gahanna, Westerville, Reynoldsburg and Blendon Township are part of the latest expansion. Marsh says a grant of more than $260,000 helped offset the cost, so the municipalities are able to purchase the carts at a significantly discounted rate. Bexley Mayor Ben Kessler says the carts will complement his city's zero waste plan.
"We're aiming to reduce the amount of waste that goes to the landfill by 90 percent within the next 40 years," Kessler said. "Several years ago, we started rolling out toters just like this. Our community subsidized the cost, but it still required residents to come into city hall to opt in to pay for it. We didn't have the financial means to roll it out to the entire community. It's incredibly important to get a tool in our residents hands to provide a higher volume of recycling week over week, to keep a lid on it so it's not rattling around our streets, and to really help make recycling very successful in our communities."
More than 38,000 carts will be distributed this month in the five jurisdictions. Kessler says Bexley has also expanded a curbside food waste recycling program following a successful pilot project last year.