SWACO is working hard to make Central Ohio a leader in sustainability by turning up the volume on issues involving waste reduction and diversion, and providing grant funding to put ideas into action. One example is the Community Waste Reduction (CWR) program. In 2022, SWACO awarded more than $94,200 in grant funding to nine local organizations to help implement waste reduction, recycling and composting programs and initiatives. Here are two projects they are excited to be supporting this year.

Columbus Fashion Alliance (CFA) ($20,000)

Being the home to so many clothing retailer brands, it’s no surprise that Columbus is the 3rd largest fashion hub in the U.S. However, clothing production – which is highly energy-intensive – is one of the leading contributors to greenhouse gas emissions. Sadly, only 1% of all clothing is currently being recycled into new clothing. In Franklin County alone, the amount of shoes and clothing landfilled each year represents 30,000 tons (or 7%) of the waste stream.

Luckily, we are also home to organizations like the CFA, an organization founded in 2019 with the intent to become the fashion manufacturing and innovation leader in Columbus. As part of its work, CFA is committed to reducing the environmental impacts of the “fast fashion” industry. In 2022, SWACO awarded CFA with a $20,000 grant to help support activities related to textile waste reduction and recycling. The focus of that work will be an inaugural report on textile waste that will help us better understand the scope of the problem, then use the findings to develop specific and actionable recommendations that could contribute to a regional road map for supporting and investing in textile waste reduction and diversion efforts.  

City of Gahanna ($7,371)

Did you know that food waste is the single largest source of landfilled material in Central Ohio? For us to reach our 75% diversion goal by 2032, we have to have the right systems in place to address the critical problem of food waste across our community.

In 2022, SWACO awarded the City of Gahanna with $7,371 to help implement the city’s first residential food waste drop-off program. This program is in direct response to concerns raised by Gahanna residents and will help establish the right process for those interested in diverting food waste from the landfill. The grant will specifically support the establishment of one drop-off location and six collection containers, along with the necessary signage and education to help Gahanna residents know how to properly discard their food waste. SWACO will also be providing the city with an automatic counter to install at the drop-off location to better estimate the number of people who enter the enclosure and help quantify the participation rate.

Franklin County’s local governments are encouraged to apply for grant funding to support their innovative and waste reducing projects.

For more information and to download the grant application and apply today, visit https://www.swaco.org/189/Community-Waste-Reduction.