Eye on the Environment: Hilliard company contributes to sustainability

Pete Marsh
Guest columnist

If you recycle in Hilliard, your materials end up at the Rumpke Waste & Recycling Materials Recovery Facility just north of downtown Columbus.

Rumpke recently announced that previously unacceptable plastic materials, such as butter tubs and yogurt cups, are now fully recyclable at the facility.

Pete Marsh

This change was not so much the result of a change in the sorting equipment at the facility but in finding an end purchaser for the recycled materials.

Recycling is a business, and if no one is wants to purchase a product, those items unfortunately will end up in the landfill.

So who are the companies that purchase the materials that we throw in our recycling bins every week?

If you drive down Trueman Boulevard, just south of the Davidson Road intersection, you will see the world headquarters of Advanced Drainage Systems. One of the top employers in the city, ADS is a global company with nearly 5,000 employees and is a leading manufacturer of thermoplastic corrugated pipe for drainage. You might have known all of that, but what you might not know is that it also is one of the largest purchasers of recycled plastic in the country.

ADS purchases approximately 550 million pounds of recycled plastics annually. The plastics are purchased from a variety of sources, including municipal-waste companies like the Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio.

These purchases include both flake products, which are shredded and cleaned plastics, and bales of actual recycled products. 

“We are vertically integrated and have the ability to clean, grind up and pelletize waste in a few facilities across the U.S.,” said Brian King, ADS executive vice president of product management and marketing.

One of the most sustainable products is the Mega Green pipe that uses a minimum of 60% recycled materials.

The use of recycled materials has the advantage of often saving input costs when compared to virgin resins. Additionally, ADS is seeing a higher demand from sustainability-minded engineers and developers for products that utilize a higher percentage of recycled materials.

Sales of product lines with high recycled content continue to grow and remain one of the focus areas for continued expansion.

Use of recycled materials in the products manufactured by ADS is just part of the story of their focus on sustainability.

ADS is in the business of moving water safely, efficiently and cleanly.

"At ADS, our reason is water, and simply put, our promise is to protect and manage the world’s most precious resource, safeguarding our environment and communities," King said.

In 2020, ADS established a charitable foundation to support this mission and initiatives by working with organizations across Ohio and the U.S.

The web of recycling and sustainability never ceases to amaze. The next time you toss an empty milk jug in your recycling bin, just imagine the products that it could become – and it might even be purchased for use in a drainage pipe by one of the largest companies located right here in Hilliard.

Hilliard City Council member Pete Marsh is the council liaison to the Hilliard Environmental Sustainability Commission.