The National Recycling Coalition, a non-profit organization focused on promoting and enhancing recycling in the United States, has named the Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio (SWACO) as the Outstanding Recycling Organization for 2020.
Nominated by GT Environmental, Stow, Ohio, the award recognizes SWACO for outstanding growth of programs and impacts pertaining to food waste diversion in central Ohio.
“The Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio (SWACO) has led the successful implementation of the Central Ohio Food Waste Initiative (COFWI) to prevent, rescue, and recycle food waste in the region,” said Michael Greenberg, president of GT Environmental. “Although this program is developed specifically for Franklin County, Ohio, it can be used as a model for other metropolitan communities with the same issues.”
NRC’s Awards Committee Chair Lisa Skumatz noted that, “The winners embodied best practices, especially during this unique year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges that many organizations have been facing.”
The Franklin County Sanitary Landfill, owned and operated by SWACO, receives nearly a million pounds of food waste every single day. That material represents 15 percent of Franklin County’s waste stream and is equivalent to wasting 41 billion gallons of water and costs central Ohio an estimated $400 million a year.
“When food is wasted, all of the resources that went into producing it are lost,” said Ty Marsh, SWACO’s executive director. “Central Ohioans are leading the way by recognizing the important benefits of preventing, rescuing and composting our food waste and have come together to leverage those opportunities for the betterment of our economy, our environment and our community.”
Director Marsh continued, “We appreciate this special recognition from our partners at GT Environmental and the National Recycling Coalition to lift up the important work being done in the Columbus Region.”
SWACO has built a collaborative of more than 150 partner organizations working together through the Central Ohio Food Waste Initiative to create opportunities to help central Ohio residents, schools, businesses and communities reduce their reliance on landfills, protect natural resources, save money and help feed those in need.
These efforts are guided by the Central Ohio Food Waste Action Plan, released by the Initiative in 2019, and which lays out 20 specific initiatives for preventing food waste, rescuing and redistributing edible food, and recycling food through composting and other technologies.
Working together, the Initiative and SWACO are advancing a goal to cut food waste in half by 2030 with an objective to reach 75 percent diversion of all materials away from the Franklin County Landfill by 2032.