City Notes: Whitehall can do its part to help environment

KIM MAGGARD
City of Whitehall

As wildfires ravage the West Coast, the health of our environment has become another item to add to the list of crises we’re collectively facing in 2020. 

While everyday efforts to make environmentally friendly decisions might seem insignificant at the time, our collective work has major long-term impacts.

Kim Maggard

Whitehall has not historically been a leader in “being green,” but with a change in mindset and access to new resources, I am a firm believer that we can serve as an example to others of how to dramatically decrease a community’s negative footprint on the environment. 

This is why we are proud to partner with the Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio and the Recycling Partnership to increase our community’s access to curbside recycling. 

Later this year, we will issue all eligible homes a 64-gallon recycling cart, replacing the 18-gallon totes currently in use. With the help of grants from SWACO and the Recycling Partnership, these new carts will be provided at no charge to residents and may be put into use in early 2021 as part of the city’s renewed contract with Local Waste Services. 

Our goal? To increase Whitehall’s waste-diversion rate, which is 14% as compared to the countywide average of 50%. 

Given that recent estimates show more than 76% of the material in the county landfill could be recycled or composted, we obviously have room for improvement.

Of course, having a larger recycling cart isn’t a magic bullet to improve waste diversion. 

That’s why as we roll out the new carts – literally and figuratively – the community-affairs office will work with SWACO and the Recycling Partnership to help residents sort fact from fiction when it comes to what can and cannot be recycled curbside.

At the same time, we’ll provide resources for common but hard-to-recycle items, such as batteries, plastic bags, electronics, food containers and light bulbs. We’ll round out the educational outreach with more information on general waste reduction, focusing on ways to reduce, reuse, recycle and refuse.

Looking to the future, we hope to consider programs to help increase composting efforts in the community.  

At the same time, while we increase curbside recycling opportunities, the city also is encouraging residents to reconsider their waste habits by switching our garbage service from unlimited collection to volume-based collection. 

With volume-based collection, households will have the choice of a 95-gallon, 65-gallon or 35-gallon garbage cart. While one garbage cart will be provided to each household free of charge, the monthly service fees will gradually decrease commensurate with the cart size to offer an incentive for decreased waste production. 

As we prepare for the switch, stay tuned for your opportunity to make your new cart selection. At this time, we anticipate dropping your new carts at your home in late 2020.

For more information on the new garbage and recycling carts, garbage-collection rates or the switch to volume-based garbage collection, go to the city’s website, whitehall-oh.us, or call the service department at 614-237-8612. 

Together, we can recycle right and make a meaningful, positive impact on the health of our environment. 

Kim Maggard is mayor of Whitehall.