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Details Announced on Columbus Curbside Recycling Program

Walker Evans Walker Evans Details Announced on Columbus Curbside Recycling Program
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Details of the new city-wide residential recycling program emerged today at an event held jointly by Mayor Michael Coleman and Columbus City Councilmember Eileen Paley. Mayor Coleman announced the program in his 2010 State of the City address and has vowed to have it up and running by 2012.

Under the new program, recyclables will be collected curbside every other week in 64-gallon blue carts, similar to the one displayed to the right. Yard waste will be picked up on opposite weeks. Hauling service will be contracted to Rumpke, who completed upgrades and renovations of their Columbus recycling facility in August.

The recycling program will cost $1.44 per household per month, with yard waste costs totaling $1.14 per household per month, which does not include projected landfill tipping fee savings. These costs will be included in the 2012 City of Columbus Budget that Coleman will present to City Council on Tuesday, and none of these fees will be billed directly to residents.

“This program is affordable, efficient and long overdue,” says Coleman. “Until we have curbside recycling, we cannot truly call ourselves a green city.”

There are 227,000 households in Columbus that are eligible for the service, placing the entire program cost estimate at $3.9 million per year. The current annual cost of yard waste service is expected to decrease from $3.7 million to $3.1 million with the combined contract for recycling pickup. Additionally, estimates for a conservative 6.2 percent diversion rate means that the city will save an estimated $1 million per year on trash tipping fees at the Franklin County landfill, lowering the overall cost of the recycling program further.

“The proposed program logistically makes a lot of sense, and the more we divert from the landfill, the more Columbus saves,” says Ian McConnell, Past President of the University Area Commission, a group that has long advocated for improved recycling services in Columbus. “For all that makes our city great, we continue to have have one of the lowest recycling rates of any major city in the country. But just because we are behind, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t start today.”

The program will roll out in five phases, which will coincide with the day of the week for existing yard waste pickup service. If your yard waste pickup is on Monday, you will be a part of phase one of the recycling rollout. Tuesday service will come next, and so on. Phase one will begin in late-Spring 2012 and the entire program will go live over the course of a full year, with all five phases in place by Summer of 2013.

“Curbside recycling will serve as a visible reminder to residents about recycling,” said John Remy, Director of Communications at the Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio (SWACO). “It is hard to ignore a 60 gallon blue container. The easier you make recycling for residents, the more they will make the choice, step up, and do what is right for the environment, and SWACO will work with the City of Columbus in any way possible to make the program beneficial to residents.”

Over the course of year-long rollout, Rumpke will be adding around 30 new jobs to accommodate the new service, and would retain an additional 30 positions to ensure that the additional recycling volume can be properly processed, according to Jonathan Kissell, Corporate Communications Supervisor at Rumpke.

“Also, a large percentage of Columbus recyclables stay in Ohio to even create more down-line jobs,” he continued. “Examples include Johns-Manville in Defiance, Owens-Illinois in Zanesville, Haviland Plastics in Auglaize County and Recycled Fibers of Ohio in Baltimore.”

The long term design of this program allows for surrounding suburban communities to join the program at a rate lower than what is currently spend on recycling programs.

More information can be found at publicservice.columbus.gov/recycle.

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