Recycling Can Save Columbus $5 million a Year
Columbus, Ohio Mayor Michael B. Coleman proposes a broad curbside plan to save money as problems with landfill space become increasingly more urgent.
Currently, residents must either pay $8.25 a month for Rumpke to pick up recyclables once a week, or haul their recyclables to bins that SWACO maintains in parking lots of schools, parks and in a small number of grocery stores. These bins can be far from where people who want to recycle live, and they are full and overflowing with recyclables on the weekends. There are simply not enough bins to contain the recyclables that people want to turn in.
So it's not surprising that most people don't recycle. Problem is, the current landfill is clogged up with trash that's mostly recyclable material. If the current practice of trashing recyclables continue, when a new landfill must be built in 20 years, it would cost tax payers an estimated $175 million. That's a serious chunk of money the city and taxpayers cannot afford.
Besides, where would the new location for a landfill be? No one wants it to be in their backyard because of the visual and olfactory pollution, in addition to the risk of uncontrolled fires that happen because landfills contain all kinds of combustible material combined with chemicals, both synthetic and natural.
So any new landfill will have to be outside of Columbus, further increasing the cost of transportation, as gas must be consumed by trucks that collect and send the trash to an out-of-sight, out-of-mind location.
The mayor's proposal for curbside recycling will start in 2012. Paper, plastic bottles, glass jars, aluminum cans, and other recyclables would be picked up every other week to cut down on pick-up costs.
However, the curbside plan isn't broad enough because it only covers single-family homes and buildings with fewer than 4 apartments. It excludes businesses that generate more trash than city residents. These businesses must pay their own way to hire private haulers. Apartments and condominium complexes are also excluded from the city's proposed recycling program.Continued on the next page