Improving Recycling
How Franklin County Reached Its Highest Recycling Rate on Record
Each year, SWACO surveys recyclers in our solid waste district to calculate Franklin County's recycling rate and to evaluate the effectiveness of SWACO's waste reduction and recycling programs. The 2018 survey, which analyzed data from 2017, revealed the region achieved a 49.17 percent recycling rate, the highest since our solid waste district was formed in 1989.

This record rate, which includes residential, commercial and industrial recycling, means we're recycling nearly half of all the waste material we produce. That's an outstanding accomplishment. In fact, the new rate represents a 2.58 percent increase over 2016 and a 3.84 percent increase over 2015. And it's significantly higher than the national average, which hovers around 34 percent.

Solid Waste and Recycling from 2014-2017
1,677,089 2,020,209 2,055,454 2,257,318
39.03 45.33 46.59 49.17
"Recycle Right" Community Education Campaign
In 2018, SWACO launched its first-ever multifaceted residential recycling education program called "Recycle Right, Make a Difference."

SWACO created this program with four goals in mind: to boost participation in residential recycling programs, to teach residents what can and cannot be recycled, to reduce contamination and to create consistent messaging across Franklin County about proper recycling.

The program has three components:
Community Educational Toolkit
SWACO created a "Recycle Right" educational toolkit that Franklin County municipalities can use to educate their residents about the right way to recycle. We rolled out the toolkit, which includes a news release, mailers, a newsletter article, social media content and email blasts, to seven communities in 2018. These seven communities enabled SWACO to reach 43,170 households. SWACO plans to introduce the Recycle Right campaign resources to an additional 24 communities in 2019, reaching 87,000 new households.
Together, we can recycle right
Grove City
Upper Arlington
Village of Urbancrest
Jackson Township Norwich Township
Part of Columbus
# of households in each community
12,000 9,500 13,320 200 1,800 1,350 5,000
New Website
SWACO introduced a new educational website – – in February 2019. The website serves as an interactive platform to educate residents about what is and isn't recyclable and why recycling is important to our community. The site provides all kinds of helpful information about recycling and features informative videos, a quiz to test visitors' recycling knowledge, and a search tool that lists where and how to properly recycle and dispose of various items, including pharmaceuticals, electronics and hazardous household waste.
· 3,500 average website visitors per month
· 8,800+ unique visitors to website

Recycle Right Website
Advertising Campaign
SWACO launched its Recycle Right advertising campaign in November 2018. The campaign includes Facebook ads, TV commercials on 10TV, sponsorship of NBC4's weather app and 10TV's traffic cam, advertising in movie theaters during the November-December holiday season, ads on the CoGo bike share kiosks around town, and ads delivered through some streaming media platforms. All together, these ads have been seen nearly 30 million times!
Recycling Drop-Off Program
In 2018, SWACO operated 56 publicly available recycling drop-off locations around Central Ohio, including five that were added last year. We collected 6,017 tons – or more than 12 million pounds – of recyclable materials from residents and businesses.

SWACO implemented two significant enhancements to the recycling drop-off program in 2018:

• We repainted drop-off containers and affixed improved labeling to more clearly illustrate what materials are acceptable for recycling and what materials are prohibited.

• We prioritized enforcement against illegal dumping at drop-off locations. The Franklin County Sheriff's office had a more visible presence at the most problematic sites, which helped deter open dumping. They monitored the sites more frequently, issued citations and engaged residents with educational materials. We also piloted the use of surveillance cameras in a few locations and plan to install more throughout 2019.

Learn more about our Recycling Drop-Off Program

Community Assistance
SWACO provides assistance to the 41 communities in its solid waste district in a variety of ways.

In 2005, SWACO created the Community Consortium Program to help communities get the best rates possible for their curbside trash, recycling and yard waste collection services. By grouping multiple communities into a consortium, SWACO can use a collaborative bidding process to negotiate better contracts and save money.

In 2018, SWACO worked closely with 10 communities that participate in the Community Consortium Program to obtain the most competitive pricing for their recycling collection services. All 10 executed new three-year waste-hauling contracts for the period between 2019 and 2021.

In addition, SWACO provides technical assistance to individual communities as they bid out for contracts. In 2018, SWACO helped three communities – Sharon Township, Norwich Township and the village of Lockbourne – with their contract bidding and negotiations, resulting in an additional 900 households that participate in the curbside recycling program.

SWACO will continue working in 2019 with the members of its three consortiums as well as other communities that can benefit from SWACO's solid waste and recycling expertise when bidding out their service contracts.

Learn more about our Community Consortiums

Materials Diverted from the Landfill through SWACO Programs
As a result of these programs, Franklin County is well on its way to achieving SWACO's long-term goal of reaching a 50 percent recycling rate by 2020 and a 75 percent recycling rate by 2032.

Pharmaceutical Waste
Household Hazardous Waste
Yard Waste
Political Signs
5,320 pounds
387,451 pounds
276,298 tons
Thousands of plastic, coroplast and cardboard yard signs
113,133 pounds