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August 2006


Columbus halts blue bag recycling

The City of Columbus has ended its blue bag recycling program after 15 months due to lack of participation. Columbus offered the pilot program to 10,000 homes in the spring of 2005. At that time, 46 of these homes were already using the city’s curbside recycling program and were paying $5 a month to have the recyclables picked up. Approximately 850 homes were thought to be utilizing the program according to Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio (SWACO) director Mike Long.

Material collected during the pilot was processed by Rumpke Recycling, which operates the regular curbside program citywide. Rumpke’s contract with the City allows for specialty programs to increase participation, such as the blue bag pilot.

For the next four months, the participants of the blue bag program will be able to use their remaining bags for recyclables that will be picked up by Rumpke at no cost to them.

The City has piloted several programs over the years. Now that the blue bag program has ended, the City is working with SWACO to promote commercial recycling. According to Mary Carran Webster, assistant director of public service, “Right now we’re making a huge effort to promote commercial and industrial recycling, since they contribute two-thirds of what ends up in the landfill. Of that, 38 percent is paper which can be recycled.”

On the residential side, the City and SWACO are planning to increase the number of public recycling drop-offs from 60 to 160. Buildings with large parking lots, such as Columbus Public Schools are being considered as possible venues for this program, which has seen a larger participation growth rate than other programs.

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