Delaware County's three largest townships have renewed an agreement to consolidate trash and recycling pickup, but it won't include grass clippings, twigs or leaves.
Genoa, Liberty and Orange townships each are seeing a surge of new homes along their southern border with Franklin County. All of their refuse adds substantially to the growing waste stream.
Liberty and Orange township trustees voted Aug. 7 to accept Rumpke Waste and Recycling's bid, which will cost residents $15.39 per month for curbside trash and recycling. That's about $2 per month higher than a similar contract they've had for the past three years, and yard waste is not included. The inclusion of yard waste pickup would have added more than $5 per month to that bill.
Genoa Township last week approved the same three-year deal.
The head of the Delaware Knox Marion Morrow Solid Waste Management District said she's pleased the contract includes recycling, but would like more communities to include yard waste, which often ends up in landfills.
"I am sure there may be a handful of residents that feel yard waste put to the curb should be composted," DKMM district Director Jenna Hicks wrote to Liberty Township officials. Currently, yard waste is treated as trash and ends up in landfills, she said.
Delaware County's waste is distributed to 42 transfer stations and eventually to several landfills statewide. In 2016, more than 5,000 tons of recycled materials were kept out of landfills in the three townships, said Paul Wise, Genoa Township administrator.
Homeowners often take yard waste to municipal drop-off sites. Delaware County has a contract with Price Farms Organics to allow residents to dump their yard waste at no cost.
Orange Township Trustee Lisa Knapp wondered if residents might want more, however.
"Are they willing to spend a little more to be socially conscious? We should try to be more responsible," Knapp said before the vote. "Here we are teaching our kids to recycle and set a good example."
"The only thing I hear is keeping costs down. It's always been a priority, especially for those on a fixed income," said Robert Quigley, Orange Township trustee, who added he'd personally be willing to pay more.
About 6 percent of the Franklin County landfill is composed of yard waste, according to a 2013 analysis, said Kyle O'Keefe, director of innovation and programs at the Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio.
Trash haulers can't dump dedicated loads of yard waste there but are permitted to dump a mix of trash and yard waste.
O'Keefe said the organic material doesn't hurt the landfill's ability to decompose, but it doesn't help either.
"Our goal is to keep as much material out of the landfill" as possible, O'Keefe said.
Columbus has its own trash service and uses Rumpke for recycling and yard waste.
While most Franklin County communities have service for trash, recycling and yard waste, it is rare in other counties. In Delaware County, Powell is the only city that pays for all three, said Jonathan Kissell, a Rumpke spokesman.