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Columbus set to start plan for recycling

Colleen Carey / Lantern photographer

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The city of Columbus will begin providing free biweekly curbside recycling to all eligible households as a basic city service this year, which includes most off-campus housing.

“The mayor is really excited to finally be able to offer this,” said Erin Miller, environmental steward of Columbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman of Columbus. “The university area has been really vocal and active in asking for this program.”

According to a press release from Coleman’s office, the program will be implemented in two-month increments starting with the first of five pick-up routes in late spring, ending with the last route in February 2013. The university district pickup will begin in December and includes 36,000 homes east of Kenny Road and west of Interstate 71. Pickup day for the university district will be Thursdays.

Miller said the program is part of the general fund of the city, and though free for residents and property owners, will cost the city $1.44 per household per month. There will be no additional tax increase from the program. The cost of the program will be offset by $13 million to $15 million savings in landfill-tipping fees over the first five years of the program, according to Coleman’s office.

“The green movement is part of our generation,” said Logan Dawson, a fourth-year in city and regional planning and off-campus community ambassador. “Recycling is something most of us have been doing for years. At a point it just becomes a routine and responsibility you have.”

Miller said all homes with four units or less will be eligible for the free program, and each unit or address within the home will receive its own 64-gallon recycling container roughly four to six weeks before collection starts.

Rumpke Consolidated Companies, Inc. will be providing the pickup services. The containers are to be put out on collection day wherever the units’ garbage is collected.

Jennifer Grimmer, a second-year in music education, said she supports the program, but is concerned that more bins behind houses could cause problems for already-crowded alley ways.

Dawson, however, said that these problems already exist.

“The way I see it, none of these issues would be new problems,” Dawson said. “Alleys are already crowded, dirty and trash-rich. Who knows what the homeless will do. They usually only take aluminum and it ends up in the same place, so really that’s what is important to me: that the materials actually get recycled. I’m not as concerned about how they get there.”

Miller said she doesn’t anticipate a problem in regards to student participation. The city will also be instituting educational programs around the five different routes to aid in maximum participation.

“We have a PowerPoint presentation that we can show people so we can talk at community organizations, but we’ve also talked about the potential for a door-to-door educational campaign,” Miller said.

She said the educational programs will start around the university district in late October.

Dawson said the off-campus community ambassadors haven’t discussed any specific plans to help educate students about the program, but hopes to see a possible event or marketing strategy from the ambassadors later this year.

Currently, off-campus residents can bring their recyclables to local drop boxes provided by the Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio (SWACO). The locations of the drop boxes can be found at SWACO’s website, SWACO.org.

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