NEWS: Celebrate Earth Month with SWACO

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News Release

Contact: Hanna Greer-Brown

SWACO encourages residents and businesses to think about a ‘world beyond recycling’ 

(COLUMBUS, OH) April 5, 2022 – April marks the beginning of Earth Month, a global recognition of the growing concern for climate change and an opportunity to promote actions that reduce our impact on the environment. As the leading voice and authority for waste reduction, recycling and reuse in central Ohio, SWACO is inviting residents and businesses across Franklin County to renew our commitment to reduce our individual and collective impact on the planet.   

While Franklin County’s recycling rate has increased to 51%, we’re still landfilling a lot of material. In fact, the typical household only recycles about 40% of what it could. Landfilled materials, such as food waste, cardboard and other reusable and recyclable materials actually make up the majority (78%) of waste entering the landfill each day.   

“We are so proud of everything the community has done over the years to make recycling a priority – our recycling rate is among the highest in the nation,” said Hanna Greer-Brown, SWACO’s Communication Manager. “But in order for us to reach our goal of 75% diversion by 2032, we need to imagine a world beyond simply recycling. In fact, reducing and reusing waste are even better ways to reduce our environmental impact and live more sustainable lives.”  

SWACO is sharing some simple tips to reduce and reuse our waste:  

  • Source materials with little to no packaging: One example is choosing plastic-free laundry pods which disintegrate in water and come in a recyclable cardboard box.  
  • Buy in bulk, using refillable containers: Not only does this help reduce packaging waste, you have more control to buy only what you need, thereby potentially reducing the need to throw away expired food. Only need a pinch? No need to buy a pound.  
  • BYO mugs for coffee to go: Even though coffee cups are now accepted in curbside recycling programs, eliminate them all together by bringing your own mug to the office or your favorite coffee shop. In fact, some retailers even offer discounts for doing so.  
  • Eliminate food waste: One million pounds of food waste is landfilled each day in Franklin County. Visit Save More Than Food to learn some easy ways to reduce your own food waste, from how to shop smart and increase the shelf life of your food, to creative ways to reuse leftovers and learning how to compost.    
  • Just say no to plastic bags: Keep your car stocked with reusable bags so you never forget them during a trip to the store. If you do have plastic bags at home, remember – they can’t go in your curbside recycling cart. However, they are 100% recyclable and most grocery stores provide a bin to return plastic bags for proper recycling.  
  • Donate unwanted clothes and household items: It’s easy to fill up your trash and recycling cans when spring cleaning, but local non-profits, consignment and reuse clothing shops (e.g., Goodwill) and even your local community Facebook group are great options to keeping textiles away from the landfill.  
  • Eco fashion: Green is the new black! Once you’re done donating your clothes, shop those same reuse clothing shops to restock your closet! If buying new clothes is inevitable, skip the hangers – they’ll be reused if left behind the store.  

“All of these tips are excellent ways to reduce our individual impacts at home,” said Andrew Booker, Program Manager for SWACO. “It can also be rewarding to get out and volunteer with others too. All month long our team will make appearances around Central Ohio to share these tips and other ways to make a difference. We hope the community will consider joining us at one of the many events taking place.”   

SWACO team members will be providing waste reduction and recycling education and services during these upcoming events:  

Food Waste Prevention Week (April 4-8): Did you know that nearly one million pounds of food waste is landfilled in Franklin County every single day? But, it doesn’t have to be that way!Visit Save More Than Food to learn some easy ways to reduce your own food waste, from how to shop smart and increase the shelf life of your food, to creative ways to reuse leftovers that will please even the pickiest of eaters.  

SWACO Webinars (April 6, 13 and 27): SWACO routinely offers free educational webinars on best practices for reducing waste, reuse, recycling, composting and safely disposing of unwanted materials both at home and at work. Visit the website to learn more about upcoming webinars and topics, including Recycle Right at Work – SWACO Business Toolkit (April 6), Recycle Right at Home (April 13) and the Earth Month Spring Cleaning and Donation Webinar (April 27).  

Green Columbus Earth Day Event (April 23): Join Green Columbus, SWACO and other community partners at Genoa Park in downtown Columbus from noon to 7 p.m. for this free, annual family-friendly event featuring local music, food and drinks. Click here for more information and to learn more about clean-up events, tree plantings and other Earth Day celebrations throughout the month.  

Grove City Earth Day Event (April 23): Join SWACO staff, the city of Grove City, Keep Grove City Beautiful and other community members from 10 a.m. to 2 pm for some family fun! The event will take place at Fryer Park, 3899 Orders Rd. There will be exhibitors to answer your sustainability questions, fishing, a scavenger hunt, giveaways and food trucks!  

Bexley Earth Day Event (April 23): Join us at Schneider Park in Bexley from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. for the annual Green Bexley Fair – a fun, hands-on festival to celebrate the Earth and sustainable living. Schneider Park, a former landfill, is now part of a long trail system and houses the Bexley Community Gardens. Click here for information.  

Hilliard Styrofoam Recycling Drive (April 23): In 2021, SWACO provided a $30,000 grant to the City of Hilliard to purchase a new Styrofoam densifier which can compact Styrofoam 50 times smaller than its original size and make it easier to recycle into other products. Have extra Styrofoam laying around the house? Bring it to the Hilliard Community Center from 10 a.m. to noon on April 23. Click here for information and to learn what is and is not accepted.  

Prescription Drug Take Back Day (April 30): When you’re done with prescription medicine, it’s easy to forget about it as it sits unused in a drawer or medicine cabinet. But keeping unneeded medicine in the house can harm children, pets, teens and adults if accidentally ingested or misused. Proper disposal is also imperative for the protection of our environment.  

The best option for safely disposing of prescription medicines is at a prescription drug drop-off site. SWACO partners with communities in Franklin County to make permanent collection sites available year-round. Visit the website to learn more about the types of medications accepted and to access the locations of drop off sites throughout Central Ohio. 

“Shred Hunger” Event (April 30): Join the Franklin County Auditor’s Office, SWACO and a variety of community partners for this free event to safely shred documents, recycle electronics and donate household and nonperishable food items to St. Stephen’s Community House. The event begins at 1 pm at 1500 E. 17th Ave., in Columbus. Click here for information on what’s accepted.  

Even the smallest changes can have a big impact on the environment around your home and throughout the world. We all have an important role to play in reducing waste in our community. For more inspiration and ideas on how you can celebrate Earth Day every day, follow us on social media or visit us online at