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‘Green Bag Lunch’ highlights Columbus’ eco-success

Columbus has been going greener, and with a cheerleader like Mayor Michael Coleman, the city’s environmental projects should continue to succeed, said Erin Miller, environmental steward for the city of Columbus, during her presentation “Green Bag Lunch” at the Ohio Union Thursday.
The program, sponsored by Students for a Sustainable Campus, was a rundown of three of the city’s environmental sustainability projects: Green Columbus Fund, RecyColumbus and the BikeShare program.
BikeShare, which will launch in July, will have 300 bikes at 30 stations around the city. Riders will be able to purchase a yearly membership, a three-day pass or a single-day pass. Trips less than 30 minutes will be free, Miller said.
Miller said Columbus’ development has led to praise in publications including “The New York Times Magazine,” “Time Magazine” and Fiscal Times over the past year.
“We’re the 15th largest city in America but nobody really realizes that because we have a small-town feel, which is great,” Miller said.
The Green Columbus Fund is an annual grant to fund the cost of having buildings earn Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.
RecyColumbus is a recycling initiative that began in June and reached OSU’s campus area Oct. 15. Miller said the initiative collected 15,000 tons of waste through February and has saved $826,000 in landfill fees.
Miller said the city is planning to distribute 15,000 bins to areas such as off-campus apartments that previously had not received them.
Carlos Lugo, program manager of sustainability in Ohio State’s Office of Student Life, said Columbus has thrived under Coleman.
“The city, under the direction of Michael Coleman, has been taking really good steps toward sustainability,” Lugo said.
Miller spoke to an audience of about 10, most of whom identified as OSU Office of Student Life employees, at the Barbie Tootle Room in the Ohio Union.
Richard Rush Jr., a graduate student in environment and natural resources and city and regional planning, said he thought Miller was doing “great work.”
“I learned that the success that was put into a previous program, transitioned from the old recycling program in Columbus to the new recycling program in Columbus,” Rush said.
“Green Bag Lunch” is part of a monthlong series of tours, seminars, movies and volunteer opportunities inspired by Earth Day and sponsored by Scarlet Gray & Green, the OSU Office of Student Life and Green Columbus.
“We are trying to highlight what the city of Columbus is doing and especially the recycling component,” Lugo said. “We have so many off-campus students and there are always so many questions about recycling. So we wanted people to be aware of what the students are doing.”

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