The Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio (SWACO) is studying the local waste stream to understand how to make better use of the $40 million worth of materials currently heading to landfill.
SWACO wants to increase diversion and is working off a report from Battelle, a research and development organization, on how to do that.
SWACO serves an area centered around Franklin County, which has roughly 1.2 million residents and includes the state capital of Columbus.
Before partnering with Battelle, SWACO commissioned a study with Resource Recycling Systems, which found that 70 percent of the waste that comes into the SWACO-owned Franklin County Sanitary Landfill could be diverted through reuse, recycling, composting and other means.
That waste has a potential value of $41 million, according to the analysis.
The objective of the Battelle research is how to best recoup the value of that diverted material. The study looked at high performing landfills across the country and determined how those systems are increasing their diversion rates. The study determined those facilities combine several methods, including processing and separating recyclable material, composting food and yard waste, and deploying waste-to-energy technology.
Hanna Greer-Brown, communications manager at SWACO, said the district will now use both assessments to inform policy decisions, particularly how it can enhance and expand waste reduction and recycling programs in the community.