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A guide to recycling in Columbus, OH

Program overview
History
Collection
When to recycle
Where recycling ends up
Drop-off recycling centers
Recycling containers
Paper and cardboard
Plastic
Glass
Metals
Electronics
Yard waste
Household hazardous waste
Bulky items
Tires
Fun stats

Program overview

Through the RecyColumbus program, the City of Columbus provides free single-stream curbside recycling for all residents in single-family homes and multi-family homes with up to four units.

History

July 1992: The Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio began segregating and recycling appliances at the Franklin County Sanitary Landfill.

2012: Citywide residential curbside recycling is introduced in Columbus over a nine-month period.

Who collects recycling?

Curbside recycling is collected by Rumpke Waste and Recycling Services.

When to recycle

Curbside recycling is collected every other week, alternating with yard waste. You can find your collection day here. Make sure your cart is placed at the curb by 6 a.m.

Where recycling ends up

Recyclables are taken to a Rumpke material recovery facility (MRF) in the Milo Grogan neighborhood, where they are sorted and bundled. Eighty percent of the material is sent to companies within a 150-mile radius:

  • Steel cans: I.H. Schelezinger in Columbus
  • Paper products: Rock- Tenn Paper in Columbus
  • Glass bottles: John Manville in Defiance, Ohio and Owens Illinois in Zanesville, Ohio
  • Aluminum cans: Anheuser-Busch in Columbus
  • Plastic bottles: Haviland Drainage in Haviland, Ohio and Signode Plastic in Florence, KY
Drop-off recycling centers

Recyclables collected in the curbside recycling program can also be brought to over 200 public recycling drop boxes, free of charge. Because drop box sites may change from time to time, make sure to check this list.

Recycling containers

Residents are provided with a city-issued 64-gallon blue wheeled recycling cart.

Paper and cardboard

Materials accepted in curbside collection:

  • Flattened cardboard
  • Newspapers, magazines, catalogs
  • Junk mail
  • Office paper
  • Phone books
  • Food boxes
  • Food and beverage cartons (juice boxes, broth boxes)

Not accepted:

  • Food-soiled items like pizza boxes
  • Textbooks
  • Facial tissue
  • Paper towels
Plastic

Materials accepted in curbside collection: All plastic bottles numbered 1-7, including:

  • Bottles and jugs
  • Laundry and soap bottles
  • Caps and lids of bottles and jugs

Not accepted:

  • Plastic bags (these are accepted at many grocery and drug stores)
  • Plastic wrap
  • Styrofoam products (Phoenix Recycling accepts all but food containers)
  • Yogurt cups
  • Plastic plates, cups and utensils
  • Butter/margarine tubs
  • Hazardous material containers (from cleaners, pesticides, paint)
Glass

Materials accepted in curbside collection:

  • Clear, brown and green jars and bottles

Not accepted:

  • Light bulbs
  • Mirrors
  • Windows
  • Drinking glasses
Metals

Materials accepted in curbside collection:

  • Aluminum and steel cans and lids
  • Empty, non-hazardous aerosol cans
  • Aluminum foil

Not accepted:

  • Paint cans
  • Foil juice pouches
  • Pots and pans
  • Scrap metal
Electronics

Because the City of Columbus and SWACO do not offer e-waste recycling, SWACO maintains a list of businesses that have signed statements that they recycle electronic materials in a safe, environmentally-friendly manner in accordance with applicable law.

Materials accepted may include:

  • Computers and related equipment and accessories
  • Stereo equipment
  • Cell phones
  • TVs
  • CD, DVD and VCR players
  • Cameras
  • Video game systems
  • Microwave ovens

There is often a charge for tube-type TVs and computer monitors. Contact information is available here.

Yard waste

Yard waste is collected curbside every other week, alternating with recycling collection. You can find your collection day here.

Accepted in curbside collection:

  • Grass clippings
  • Leaves
  • Branches
  • Shrubbery

Not accepted:

  • Rocks
  • Dirt
  • Food waste

Requirements:

  • Place yard waste in biodegradable (paper) bags or rigid containers marked “Yard Waste”
  • Cut branches to less than 4 feet in length and use string or twine to tie into bundles no more than 2 feet wide
  • Each container, bag or bundle must weigh less than 50 pounds

In addition, Columbus residents can drop off their yard waste for free at any of nine city locations. Find contact information and materials accepted at each site here.

Household hazardous waste

Through a partnership with Environmental Enterprises Incorporated, the Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio (SWACO) offers free recycling of household hazardous waste to all Franklin County residents. The location and hours of the Household Hazardous Waste collection facility are available here.

Accepted materials:

  • Oil-based paint
  • Gasoline
  • Motor oil kerosene
  • Spray paint
  • Lighter fluid
  • Propane cylinders and tanks
  • Oxygen tanks turpentine
  • Thinners and polishes
  • Pool chemicals
  • Bleach and household cleaners
  • Paint strippers
  • Fluorescent light bulbs
  • Lawn chemicals and pesticides
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Antifreeze
  • All battery types
  • Fats, oils and grease (only if in tightly sealed container)
  • Smoke detectors
  • Helium tanks
  • Water-based paint ($1 per can; this can be dried and disposed of in the trash)

Not accepted:

  • Asbestos
  • Appliances
  • Computers
  • Tires
  • Ammunition
Appliances and furniture

A list of businesses that recycle used appliances (with and without Freon) and furniture is available here.

Tires

The SWACO recommends paying the small fee to dispose of used tires when purchasing new ones. Or contact Liberty Tire Recycling – an authorized tire disposal facility.

Fun stats:
  • The RecyColumbus program has created and retained 60 full-time jobs with benefits.
  • Every ton of recyclables saves the city $55.42 in landfill fees.
  • RecyColumbus will add an estimated 1.5 years to the Franklin County landfill’s 30-year lifespan. Total regional recycling efforts are expected to add 7 to 11 years.
Source URLs

Phoenix Recycling, Inc.
Rumpke
Liberty Tire Recycling

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