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.