Dublin's pilot composting program underway

SARAH SOLE
ssole@thisweeknews.com

Dublin residents have an opportunity to decrease the amount of food waste that ends up in their trash and increase food production.

The city of Dublin on Aug. 17 launched a composting pilot program in which residents can drop off food scraps to be composted.

Covered bins for compostable items have been placed in the parking lot at the Dublin service center, 6555 Shier Rings Road, said public-affairs officer Lindsay Weisenauer.

Residents may register for the composting program at dublinohiousa.gov/compost, and the first 500 residents to register may pick up a free bucket with a compostable liner at the service center, Weisenauer said.

The program will have a six-month pilot period with an option to extend it, she said.

The first day the program was available, 200 people signed up, Weisenauer said.

"It's already been extremely popular," she said. As of Aug. 24, 359 people had registered.

The city is contracting with composting company GoZERO, which will empty the bins on a regular basis, Weisenauer said.

Weisenauer said the program was the result of a SWACO grant for which the city applied.

Hanna Greer-Brown, communications manager for SWACO, said the agency provided Dublin with a $6,759 grant for the drop-off composting program.

The city was required to provide at least a 25%; Dublin made a $2,253 investment in the program, she said.

Money for the composting program comes from SWACO's Community Waste Reduction Grant funding.

In addition to composting projects, SWACO awards this funding for waste reduction and recycling, Greer-Brown said. Government entities, schools and community organizations may receive grants, she said.

Dollars for the grants are generated by the tipping fee paid when refuse haulers bringing waste to the landfill, Greer-Brown said.

SWACO charges a fee of $39.75 per ton for dumping refuse and $5 of that fee is set aside to support diversion programs in the community.

SWACO is accepting applications for Community Waste Reduction Grant for 2021 projects through 5 p.m. Sept. 11, and applications are available at swaco.org/communitygrants, Greer-Brown said.

The compost grant has been in place for a number of years, Greer-Brown said.

This year, Upper Arlington, Hilliard and Westerville also received grants for similar compost programs.

Upper Arlington has a program and received funding to expand it, Greer-Brown said.

Although Bexley and Grandview Heights did not receive SWACO grants, those cities also have similar compost programs, she said.

"We know there's a desire from the community to compost," Greer-Brown said. "We've just been incredibly excited to support these communities who want to bring a drop-off program online."

Food is the most common material that ends up in the landfill according to a waste characterization study done last year, Greer-Brown said.

One million pounds of food come to the landfill daily.

Greer-Brown said the Community Waste Reduction Grants help SWACO meet a goal of diverting 75% of all waste created in Franklin County away from the landfill by 2032.

ssole@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekSarah