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RecyColumbus ramps up Ohio State campus-area recycling efforts

Lindsey Poole / Lantern photographer

There has been an abundance of blue bins popping up in the off-campus area in the past few weeks as the city of Columbus started its fourth phase of a new recycling program to help reduce waste at landfills.
Phase four of the new recycling Columbus program, RecyColumbus, covers the university area and Clintonville. The program will begin collecting recyclable materials in an effort to lower the total amount of trash taken to landfills every month.
The city will collect paper products, plastic bottles and glass bottles along with aluminum cans.
Erin Miller, environmental steward for the city of Columbus, has been developing this program for several years.
“The mayor (Michael Coleman) announced back in 2010 that by 2012 we would have a comprehensive recycling program for all single-family households within the city of Columbus, and we have been working on developing the program with focus groups and surveys,” Miller said.
Rumpke Consolidated Companies, Inc., an Ohio-based waste and recycling company, won the project bid, and the first bins were delivered to the west side of the city. Over the last nine months, blue recycle bins have made their way to homes across Columbus.
However, the program doesn’t come without a price.
“The cost of the recycling carts (bins) is $1.2 million and that is with being spread out over a ten year period because every cart has a ten-year warranty on it,” Miller said.
Between June and September, with three of five Columbus areas collecting recyclables, the city collected more than 4,500 tons of recyclable material, which amounted to a total savings of more than $254,000.
The program is estimated to recycle 58,000 tons of materials by 2016, and save the city more than $3 million in landfill fees, according to project documents.
The campus area started to receive the bins Oct. 15, and the first collection date is scheduled for the first week in December.
However, some people living in Columbus use recycling as a means to earn extra income.
James Harrison, a homeless man that often sits outside of McDonald’s, has collected cans in the past to earn money. He does not collect cans on a regular basis but believes the new recycling bins will have a minimal effect on those who do.
“When people see you collecting cans on a regular basis, they will leave cans in a box or bag for you to take or bars will gather them up for you too,” Harrison said.
Some students in the area believe that the recycling programs are a good way to help make the off-campus neighborhood more appealing.
Casey Malone, a third-year in industrial and systems engineering, lives on East Woodruff Avenue and is glad to see the recycling initiative come to fruition.
“I heard that they were trying to go green around the campus area and that’s good because there is a lot (of) trash in the (off-campus housing) yards sometimes,” Malone said.
With the new bins in place, Miller hopes residents will be eager to pick up new habits and participate in the program.
“We have had a lot of positive feedback from the community and have already shown a lot of progress with the amount of trash being taken to the landfill,” Miller said.

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