City Notes: Throw away old trash habits and recycle right in New Albany

MARK NEMEC
Mark Nemec

I have some good news and bad news about our community recycling habits.

The good news is that the vast majority of New Albany and Plain Township households are proactive in their recycling efforts.

The bad news is, with so many different items that potentially can be recycled, many of us don't know what may be recycled and what should go into our trash bins.

That's why I'm excited that New Albany and Plain Township are working with the Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio, better known as SWACO, to help residents not just recycle but recycle right.

During the next month or so and in conjunction with SWACO, residents will receive helpful reminders and tips designed to make us all more efficient in our recycling efforts. By putting only accepted items in your recycling bin, you will be protecting the environment, preserving landfill space and creating employment opportunities in your community.

The amount of waste being generated by all of Franklin County is staggering.

Each year, more than 5 billion pounds of waste are generated by residents and businesses – enough to fill Ohio Stadium four times.

Even though a lot of this material is being recycled or composted, more than 2 billion pounds of waste still finds its way to Franklin County's landfill every year. Recycling has never been more important.

So what should be recycled?

In Franklin County, five categories of items are accepted for recycling:

* Paper and cardboard

* Plastic bottles and jugs

* Glass bottles and jars

* Metal cans

* Cartons

Aside from recycling the correct items, it is important that recyclable items are prepared correctly in the bin for collection.

For example, cardboard boxes should be broken down and recyclables should be kept loose in the bin – not bagged. Tops may remain affixed to jugs, bottles and jars. Finally, items must be clean, which means no food can be on recycled materials.

Everything else should be reused, donated, composted or disposed of safely. This includes such items as yogurt cups, plastic and foam food containers, oil-stained pizza boxes, plastic bags and wire hangers that many people think are recyclable but really aren't. This is important, because improper items can cause serious delays and add expense to the recycling process, which ultimately increases prices communities pay for recycling services.

Proper recycling helps a lot more than the environment. Fewer resources earmarked for landfills mean more resources available for well-paying community jobs. Reusing and recycling materials also creates opportunities for new product innovations and technologies.

Together, we can improve both the environment and the economy for New Albany and Plain Township in ways that will pay off for years to come.

More information about how to recycle right may be accessed at recycleright.org.

Residents also will have access to a video on the city's social-media channels and the video section of the city website at newalbanyohio.org/stories, and you should receive a Recycle Right magnet in the mail to give you even more guidance about recycling at home.

Thank you for everything you are doing to help us make a difference.

Mark Nemec is New Albany's public-service director.