March 2005

City of Columbus expands recycling with blue bag program for selected neighborhoods
“Get Green Columbus” initiative set to promote environmental issues within the city

Columbus, OH— Columbus Mayor Mike Coleman and SWACO executive director Mike Long announced an expansion of recycling in the City of Columbus. Residents in select neighborhoods of the city will soon be able to “Blue Bag” their clean paper, bottles, cans and more. The “blue bags” will then be put by residents in their regular green city trash containers for pick-up by Columbus crews. Those blue bag loads will be delivered to SWACO’s Jackson Pike Transfer Station for separation from the trash. The recyclable material will be then sent to a Material Recovery Facility for processing. SWACO transfer trucks will transport the leftover trash to the Franklin County Landfill.

“Recycling is a key need to protect our environment and extend the life of our landfill, and past efforts can only be described as well-intentioned but ineffective,” said Mayor Michael B. Coleman. “Only 10,000 families, or 3.3%of our households in Columbus are signed up for recycling, and we need to build new partnerships in this community to improve that situation. This is something we all can do, at our offices, our schools and at home.”

Mayor Coleman joined SWACO for the announcement as he kicked off his “Get Green Columbus” strategy to promote environmental issues in the city. He insists that Columbus can be pro-business and pro-environment. The City is discussing incentives for businesses that use recycled materials and are environmentally friendly.

“The Blue Bag program will be an inexpensive option for those who want to recycle,” says SWACO executive director Mike Long. “SWACO’s Franklin County Landfill received over 946,000 tons of trash in 2004. About one third of what is sent to the landfill comes from the City of Columbus. Clearly it is in our best interest to offer more recycling programs to residents of Columbus. Any reduction in the landfill load can save us space at the landfill. When we save space at the landfill we can cut the expense to the taxpayers. It costs a lot of money to site and construct a new landfill. Also our next landfill will most likely be located outside of Franklin County. That will add transportation costs to the price of handling our trash.”

Initially about 10,000 households will have the opportunity to take advantage of the “Blue Bag” program. These will be residences served by SWACO’s Jackson Pike Transfer Station which has the available room needed for the separation of recyclables and trash. As the program grows, more facilities will become available. It is hoped than the program can expand to 20,000 households by the end of the year.

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