Advancing Sustainability Goals of Non-profits, Schools, Universities, and other Community Partners

See how SWACO puts sustainability into action through support for local partner projects and how we pivoted in 2020 to reach people in a mostly virtual world.

9.3 million pounds of small household items, appliances and furniture donated
118,400 pounds of recyclable materials

Summary of Community Waste Reduction Grants Programs and Results

SWACO is working hard to improve diversion and waste reduction in Central Ohio and provides program grants every year to make these goals a reality.

SWACO awarded 14 grants totaling approximately $192,600 to partners across Franklin County. Even though many projects in 2020 were delayed due to the pandemic, they will continue to be implemented throughout 2021.

Despite delays from the pandemic, our partner projects have composted more than 256,000 pounds of food waste through community food waste drop-off sites, recycled 118,400 pounds of material, and donated approximately 9,374,000 pounds of small household items, appliances and furniture pieces for reuse. View the full list of awards and projects here.

SWACO will begin accepting applications for 2022 projects this summer. More information is available at swaco.org/grants.

Resources for Educators and Families

SWACO offers a number of environmental education programs and resources to Franklin County teachers, students and residents.

At Home Activities

To encourage at-home learning throughout the pandemic, SWACO developed 9 at-home activities for families to learn more about how to reduce, reuse and recycle. Many of these activities are hands-on and can be done with items around the house. Some activities include building a tower out of recycled materials or upcycling paper rolls into superhero cuffs.


Kids Corner

Teaching young kids about caring for the environment at a young age is critical. For children ages 6-12 years old, the Kids Corner provides a fun way for children to learn about recycling through 4 online games. It focuses on teaching kids how to recycle properly in our community and reduce the waste they create.

Classroom Resources

While many students were not in the classroom last year due to COVID-19, some were. SWACO continued to make hands-on lessons available for teaching students about waste reduction and conservation, which helped raise broader community awareness about the importance of waste reduction and recycling since students bring the lessons learned home to their parents and siblings. Students also carry these habits into their adult lives.

Information regarding these activities and information were made available to thousands of Central Ohioans through SWACO’s educator lists and other channels such as Terrific Resources for Environmental Educators (TREE).

Virtual (School) Landfill Tours

SWACO provides both in-person and virtual landfill tours of the Franklin County Sanitary Landfill for local students.

Annually, thousands of school children take a tour of the Franklin County Sanitary Landfill to experience first-hand science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) aspects of a municipal solid waste landfill and learn how recycling and reducing waste are easy and important steps we can each take to reduce our reliance on the landfill and ensure it’s available for our community for many years to come.

Between January and March 2020, SWACO hosted 950 students for in-person tours.

During the pandemic – between March and December – landfill tours were not offered, so SWACO created a virtual landfill tour to keep kids learning and experiencing all that a landfill has to offer from the safety of their homes and classrooms. The virtual tour has been viewed over 800 times.

Together, in-person and virtual tours reached a total of nearly 2,000 Franklin County students in 2020.


Community Outreach

From Waste to Resources Webinars

SWACO doesn’t just provide educational learnings for students, we also provide webinars geared towards individuals and community groups.

In 2020, SWACO’s webinars reached more 350 people and covered a range of topics including how to recycle correctly, reducing food waste and celebrating annual holidays in ways that are green and easy on the environment.

In 2021, SWACO will continue to offer webinars. Check out the schedule and sign up for one at SWACO.org.

SWACO makes engaging with stakeholders a priority through consistent visibility and starting conversations in the community. Even with the pandemic, we were able to meet stakeholders and discuss the importance of SWACO.

SWACO gives free educational webinars to the public on best practices for reducing waste, reuse, recycling, composting and safely disposing of unwanted materials.



Hosted 10 Recycle Right webinars reaching a total of 145 people.
Co-hosted with Rumpke on How to Recycle Right, reaching 67 people.
Reducing Food at Home reaching 41 people.
Co-hosted with FSWCD on Backyard Composting, reaching 36 people.
Co-hosted with Kroger and Local Matters on how to Shop Smart with Meal Plan, reaching 48 people.
Co-hosted with Columbus GreenSpot on how to Green Your Holidays, reaching 14 people.

Stakeholder Engagements

SWACO makes engaging with stakeholders a priority through consistent visibility and starting conversations in the community. Even with the pandemic, we were able to meet stakeholders and discuss the importance of SWACO.

Digital Community Outreach


While in-person engagements were limited last year, SWACO still reached nearly 500 people at events including Martin Luther King Jr. Day at the King Arts Complex and during presentations to various Civic Associations and Rotary Clubs.

Email Series

SWACO’s From Waste to Resources email series launched on Earth Day 2020 and provided recipients with regular information and tips on waste reduction. Emails covered a range of topics last year including how the waste stream was being impacted by the pandemic, a one-stop guide to spring cleaning, information about collection events and how SWACO worked to leverage the waste stream for greater benefit in the Region. On average each email reached more than 10,000 recipients.

Facebook Lives

SWACO also took to Facebook to chat with our followers regularly. These short 3-5 minute live segments featured landfill engineers and recycling educators and covered everything from an insider’s look at the landfill to which PPE and pandemic-related items were accepted for recycling and which should be placed in the trash. SWACO also reviewed how to use the Reuse and Recycling Search Tool, highlighted the new “Save More Than Food” campaign website and resources, and visited Hilliard Police Department to show residents ways to safely dispose of unwanted prescription pills throughout the year.

Together, these videos were watched an estimated 100,000 times!

Flower and dollar

Leveraging the Waste Stream

Reducing waste and recycling right isn’t just advantageous for the planet – it’s good for the economy, too. Explore the economic benefits recycling has for hundreds of businesses in the Central Ohio Region and how SWACO is helping to grow this industry.