The American Beverage Association (ABA), Washington, in partnership with The Recycling Partnership and Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio (SWACO), has announced that Ohio’s Pleasant Township and the city of Whitehall are receiving an investment through the Every Bottle Back initiative. The two communities will receive grants totaling more than $250,000 from SWACO and The Recycling Partnership, including $116,800 from Every Bottle Back. That initiative is designed to reduce the industry’s use of new plastic and keep its bottles out of the environment, the ABA says.
In addition to purchasing new carts, the investment will fund the delivery of recycling education materials to every home as part of SWACO’s ongoing “Recycle Right, Make a Difference” program. These educational materials include guidelines for what can and cannot be recycled to help residents recycle more conveniently and efficiently.
“We are thrilled to support this effort to help more central Ohio residents take advantage of curbside recycling carts, which in turn means collecting more of our valuable, 100 percent recyclable bottles so they can be remade into new bottles, as intended,” says Katherine Lugar, president and chief executive officer of the ABA. “Our industry’s investment will help increase local recycling rates and further our industry’s commitment to supporting a circular economy.”
Pleasant Township and Whitehall applied for and were selected to receive grant support because of their dedication to advancing recycling in the Columbus region, the ABA says in a news release about the investments. The grants will help the communities to pay for 7,300 new recycling carts, enough for every household in both communities, and fund technical program assistance, education and outreach about the new collection process.
“This critical, regional investment will yield 15.1 million new pounds of materials collected over 10 years—including 592,000 pounds of fully recyclable polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic and 227,000 pounds of aluminum,” Kimberly McConville, executive director of the Columbus-based Ohio Beverage Association, says. “What’s more, the value of this investment extends beyond central Ohio. All materials that are collected through the new curbside carts within SWACO’s service area will be recycled and remade into a new product within 300 miles, promoting growth in our local circular economy.”
Every Bottle Back is an initiative by The Coca-Cola Co., Keurig Dr Pepper and PepsiCo designed to reduce the industry’s use of new plastic by making investments to improve the collection of plastic bottles so they can be remade into new ones. The investment in central Ohio is the fifth of 11 initial projects that the beverage industry has committed funding for this year under Every Bottle Back, the ABA says.
“The Recycling Partnership, with support in part from the American Beverage Association and the Ohio Beverage Association, is proud to work with Whitehall and Pleasant Township to increase the amount of quality recyclables collected in the central Ohio region,” says Keefe Harrison, CEO of The Recycling Partnership, a nonprofit organization based in Falls Church, Virginia, that works with city governments to transform their recycling programs. She adds that SWACO is implementing protocols to address contamination prior to increasing recycling access, thereby “increasing the collection of valuable recycling tonnage in the region by equipping its communities with the tools residents need to recycle more and recycle better.”
Whitehall is moving to a new standardized recycling cart program whereby each household will receive a 65-gallon cart and the ability to select one of three garbage cart sizes, ranging from 95 gallons (the default size) to 35 gallons. The two smaller cart options incur reduced fees. Distribution of trash and recycling carts began Dec. 7.
Pleasant Township is a rural community transitioning residents to a cart-based recycling program. It is replacing its current 18-gallon bins with 65-gallon carts.
The transition from bins to carts is expected to increase recycling tonnage by as much as 30 percent in the two communities for a projected total of 3.1 million new pounds of recyclables collected, the ABA says.
“SWACO is committed to reaching our 75 percent recycling goal by 2032, and we can’t achieve this without great community partners like Whitehall and Pleasant Township,” says Ty Marsh, executive director of SWACO, Grove City, Ohio. “They are an example of two distinctly different communities that share a common goal of seeing increased recycling and improved services to their residents by taking advantage of the support provided by SWACO and The Recycling Partnership. It’s also an example of an important partnership that combines SWACO’s local expertise with The Recycling Partnership’s national reach to maximize the impact of our community recycling programs.”