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Curbside recycling

Columbus to consider adding condos, apartments

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The city of Columbus is looking at expanding its residential curbside program to include condominiums and apartments.

The review will start after collection begins Feb. 1 for the final of five phases of residential curbside recycling, said Erin Miller, the city's environmental steward.

"We have heard a lot of feedback from different people who live in condos and apartments who would like to be part of the program," she said.

Miller said her office will try to determine which complexes would be suitable for the expansion.

The blue 64-gallon containers might not work for high-rise buildings and high-density developments, so the city will work with the Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio to re-evaluate the location of current drop-off centers and put them closer to the affected areas.

"We're excited that we can have the two programs come together to work for residents in the best way possible," said Jodi Andes, spokeswoman for SWACO. "We're excited with the accomplishments Columbus has made and there seems to be renewed interest in recycling in Columbus," she said.

City officials will reach out to area commissions and civic associations to help with the process, Miller said. It's unclear if the expansion will begin this year.

"The idea is to not expend additional funds than what we currently have budgeted," Miller said.

Meanwhile, the curbside recycling has a 98 percent participation rate, Miller said.

In 2012, the city collected a total of 10,019 tons from curbside recycling and a total of 26,260 tons of recycling from curbside, drop-off sites and subscription services, she said.

That fell a little short of the goal of 28,000 tons. Still, the city has successfully diverted 10.76 percent of waste from the landfill, saving $1.46 million in tipping fees. The goal there was 11.2 percent.

Miller said she considers the program to be a success. "We're very pleased with the results and we're excited for 2013," she said.

John Ehlers, president of the Northwest Civic Association, said he supports the expansion effort, particularly for his area of town, which is populated with multi-family complexes.

"I am sure those living in apartments and condos would be excited to participate," Ehlers said. "I'm sure many do recycle at their locations, churches and schools," he said. "With those kinds of space constraints, there have to be options available."

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