As the year comes to a close, Worthington leaders say they are implementing programs and technology to make the city more environmentally friendly.

Dan Whited, the city's director of service and engineering, said Worthington is considering applying for a grant to construct electric-vehicle charging stations. The grant would come through Clean Fuels Ohio, a statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to improving air quality and health, reducing pollution and strengthening the state's economy through clean energy use.

Whited said he doesn't know a lot of details about the grant, such as how much it would be for or how expensive the charging stations are to install, because the city is in preliminary discussions. However, he said, Worthington wants to encourage the use of electric cars for sustainability purposes.

"It's certainly a growing demand," he said.

Whited said more people in the city might be willing to buy electric cars if they have easy access to a charging station.

For the winter months, the city is starting to implement use of direct liquid application for treating roads for ice, Whited said.

Direct liquid application involves a tank-and-sprayer system that is mounted on a dump truck instead of a salt spreader, and the liquid ensures that deicing salt adheres to the roadway to minimize waste, said Rob Chandler, assistant to the director of Worthington's service and engineering department.

Whited said the new method is cost efficient and significantly cheaper than traditional methods.

Maintenance superintendent Steve Tennant said the cost savings depend on how much liquid is used and how bad the weather gets. He said that the city spent about $87 per ton on salt in 2018 and used 11,057 tons of salt.

Tennant said the city used 200 fewer tons last year and 13,047 tons is the average amount used per year.

He said 310 pounds of salt is used per mile, on average. Last year, when the city started using liquid, he said, the amount decreased.

"We've already saved the city 65 pounds per lane mile," Tennant said.

Tennant said exact numbers on how much is being saved are hard to quantify because the winter season is just beginning. He said after the first few snow events, the department would have a better idea of what is being saved.

"We should see those savings as winter rolls through," he said.

In addition, Chandler said, in January, the city plans to debut a food-scraps compost collection program with a grant from the Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio.

Chandler said food scraps comprise a high level of what is being taken to the landfill from most households.

He said the program would help divert waste from the landfill.

Whited said that the cost of the recycling program should be minimal.

These new initiatives are in addition to what the city does in compliance with the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission's Sustainable2050 program that helps member communities in Ohio benchmark and track progress towards sustainability goals, Chandler said.

As a part of the city's sustainability goals, the service and engineering department also offers an electronics recycling drop-off program, which allows any Worthington resident to drop off any electronic item that has a plug or takes batteries to power.

"We've always been very engaged in (becoming more eco-friendly)," Chandler said.