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Columbus Recycling Resources and Laws

what can be recycled in columbus ohio

Since 2012, Columbus's recycling program has made a significant impact on preventing recyclable or reusable materials from reaching the landfill, but that's not to say it hasn't come with its own set of challenges. In fact, there is an industry-wide problem that's been wreaking havoc on how we prevent waste. That being said, you'll be glad to know that there are very easy, small adjustments we as Columbus citizens can make to ensure we aren't adding to the problem.

Tackling the Trash Problem In Columbus Recycling Facilities

Diverting up to nearly 4,800 tons of recyclable material from the landfill in a single year, RecyColumbus extends beyond the limits of I-270, a notably sized program. So you can imagine that, although there are convenient guidelines available through the program, the program is met with an overwhelming amount of non-collectable items and non-recyclable trash ending up in recycling bins.

Not only does this make the entire system less efficient, it also causes recycling center equipment to jam up or break down. Plastic bags, wires, hoses and the like can work their way through belts and into joints of machinery, resulting in major damage while the addition of broken glass and flammable containers also can present a danger to employees having to pick out inappropriate items by hand.

Contaminated materials and unwashed food containers present several other problems. Greasy pizza boxes, unwashed sour cream containers, and more can attract pests and rodents as well as cause unsanitary working conditions while spoiling the remaining load of materials, causing the materials to be rejected by the recycling facility.

When these contaminated items are rejected they have to be shipped to the landfill, creating an additional environmental impact by doubling the shipment it would have taken if the items were disposed of properly, from the start.

Best Ways to Recycle in Columbus OH

columbus ohio recycling rules laws drop off locations

Know the rules, what items can be recycled and how to handle them Stay updated on changes to these rules Prepare and clean materials correctly Reduce and reuse in addition to recycling Do not place items in plastic bags unless by specific instruction by area guidelines Remove non-recyclable parts of items such as lids, wrappers, and other packaging Know your area's drop off locations for materials that are not handled, such as hazardous waste, E-waste, appliances, etc. (more on this, below)

Columbus Ohio Recycling Rules and Laws

Recycling laws vary for every city. But as for Columbus, everyone who is serviced by city trash with a 90 or 300 gallon container also receives free recycling collection. Those who live in a complex or who have otherwise opted out of the program can use SWACO.

For those receiving free collection, recyclables do not need to be sorted - all recyclable materials simply go in the blue cart together, though free of debris or food contamination. In Columbus, any lids, labels, and caps can remain on containers, however our area's recycling program can only take plastics such as jugs or bottles, so no take-out containers or sour cream containers. Here are some easy-to-follow guidelines, as per the City of Columbus website.

Accepted Recycling Items in Columbus:

  • Plastic jugs or bottles
  • Steel and aluminum cans with lids
  • Newspaper, magazines, paper mail, dry food boxes, telephone books
  • Glass jars and bottles
  • Drink cartons and boxes from milk and juice
  • Flattened pizza boxes (free of grease)
  • Flattened cardboard boxes
  • Shredded paper contained in a clear plastic bag

    Items Not Accepted by Columbus Recycling:

  • Regular garbage
  • Yard waste
  • Garbage bags or plastic bags
  • Food
  • Plastic shopping bags
  • Styrofoam
  • Needles, syringes, and sharp objects
  • Electronics or light bulbs
  • Mirrors or window glass
  • Ceramics
  • Plastic buckets
  • Hazardous materials such as batteries, motor oil, cleaning products, chemicals, pesticides, and gasoline

Drop Off Locations for Recycling and Non-Recyclable Materials

Using another service or need a place to drop off your non-recyclables in the area? Find a drop-off site near you for just about anything from recyclables, to hazardous waste, appliances and yard waste with this convenient search tool from SWACO. They've made it incredibly simple and comprehensive for you to just select the category of material and discover various options by organized listings or map.


Looking to get rid of a lot of junk in Columbus?

Contact Frog Hauling today by filling out our form or calling (614) 258-3764!

Posted in Central Ohio, Columbus, Dumpster Blog, Junk Removal, Recycling Columbus, Waste Management