Franklin County has reached new records with its recycling, according to a recent report from the Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio.
The county’s recycling rate was at 49.17 percent in 2017, the highest rate since the solid waste district was formed in 1989, according to SWACO’s Community Impact Report. The rate includes industrial, commercial and residential recycling.
In comparison, the region’s recycling rate was 46.59 percent in 2016; 45.33 percent in 2015; and 39.03 percent in 2014.
“This record rate … means we’re recycling nearly half of all the waste material we produce. That’s an outstanding accomplishment,” the report stated.
On the other hand, the county has generated more waste from 2014 to 2017. The county generated nearly 2.26 million tons of waste in 2017 compared with nearly 2.06 million tons in 2016 and nearly 1.68 million tons in 2014.
Over the last few years, SWACO has launched new recycling programs to help improve efforts. Among them include, the Recycle Right Community Education campaign. SWACO started the program last year to educate the county how best to recycle.
The program helps county stakeholders know what can and cannot be recycled. For example, paper, cardboard, plastic bottles and jugs and cartons are acceptable, while plastic foam, yogurt cups and plastic bags are not.
SWACO created an educational toolkit (an ensemble of news releases, mailers, newsletters, social media and other methods) to reach seven communities, or 43,170 households, last year.
The seven communities were Grove City, Hilliard, Upper Arlington, Urbancrest, Jackson Township, Norwich Township and 5,000 households in a portion of Columbus. SWACO plans to add another 24 communities, or 87,000 communities, this year.
Other aspects of the Recycle Right campaign include a new wesbite, which launched in February, and advertising campaign that ran from November to December and have been 30 million times.
Additionally, SWACO operated 56 public recycling drop-off locations in central Ohio, including five that were added last year. It collected 6,017 tons of recyclable materials from residents and businesses.
Last year, SWACO enhanced the drop-off program by repainting containers and improved labeling to denote what materials were accepted and increased enforcement against illegal dumping with help from the Franklin County Sheriff’s office.