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Press Release: Central Ohio Selected for Investment to Boost Curbside Recycling

America’s leading beverage companies join the Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio and The Recycling Partnership to deploy convenient recycling carts in Pleasant Township and Whitehall 

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The American Beverage Association (ABA), in partnership with The Recycling Partnership and Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio (SWACO), today announced that Pleasant Township and the city of Whitehall are receiving an investment under the Every Bottle Back initiative, a sustained effort to reduce the industry’s use of new plastic and keep its bottles out of the environment.  Collectively, the two communities will receive grants totaling more than $250,000 from SWACO and The Recycling Partnership, including $116,800 invested through Every Bottle Back.

These grants build on the beverage industry’s commitment to enhance the collection of recyclable materials, like its fully recyclable bottles, in key regions across the United States and The Partnership’s efforts to bring access to recycling across the country and catalyze a circular economy.

“We are thrilled to support this effort to help more Central Ohio residents take advantage of curbside recycling carts, which in turn means collecting more of our valuable, 100% recyclable bottles so they can be remade into new bottles, as intended,” said Katherine Lugar, president and chief executive officer of the American Beverage Association. “Our industry’s investment will help increase local recycling rates and further our industry’s commitment to supporting a circular economy.”

Pleasant Township and Whitehall applied for, and were selected to receive, grant support because of their dedication to advancing recycling in the Columbus region. The collective investment will help pay for 7,300 new recycling carts, enough for every household in both communities, and fund technical program assistance, education and outreach about the new collection process.

“This critical, regional investment will yield 15.1 million new pounds of materials collected over 10 years – including 592,000 pounds of fully recyclable polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic and 227,000 pounds of aluminum,” said Kimberly McConville, executive director of the Ohio Beverage Association. “What’s more, the value of this investment extends beyond Central Ohio. All materials that are collected through the new curbside carts within SWACO’s service area will be recycled and remade into a new product within 300 miles, promoting growth in our local circular economy.”

Every Bottle Back is an integrated and comprehensive initiative by The Coca-Cola Company, Keurig Dr Pepper and PepsiCo to reduce the industry’s use of new plastic by making investments that improve the collection of plastic bottles so they can be remade into new ones. This investment in Central Ohio is the fifth of 11 initial projects that the beverage industry has committed funding for this year under Every Bottle Back.

“The Recycling Partnership, with support in part from the American Beverage Association and the Ohio Beverage Association, is proud to work with Whitehall and Pleasant Township to increase the amount of quality recyclables collected in the Central Ohio region,” said Keefe Harrison, CEO of The Recycling Partnership, a nonprofit organization that works with city governments nationwide to transform their recycling programs. “By implementing contamination-fighting protocols prior to increasing recycling access, SWACO is increasing the collection of valuable recycling tonnage in the region by equipping its communities with the tools residents need to recycle more and recycle better.”

The City of Whitehall is moving to a new standardized cart program through which each household will receive a 65-gallon recycling cart and the ability to select a garbage cart size to meet their family’s waste needs — 95-gallon (the default size), 65-gallon or 35-gallon.  The two smaller cart options incur reduced fees.  Distribution of trash and recycling carts began on Dec. 7.

Pleasant Township, a rural community working to transition residents to a cart-based recycling program, is replacing its current 18-gallon bins with 65-gallon carts. Based on the success of other communities in Central Ohio with lidded recycling carts received through the grant program, Pleasant Township anticipates increased recycling and beautification of their community by reducing wind-blown litter from open bins.  The transition from bins to carts is expected to increase recycling tonnage by as much as 30% in the two communities for a total of 3.1 million new projected pounds of recyclables collected.

“SWACO is committed to reaching our 75% recycling goal by 2032, and we can’t achieve this without great community partners like Whitehall and Pleasant Township,” said Ty Marsh, SWACO’s Executive Director. “They are an example of two distinctly different communities that share a common goal of seeing increased recycling and improved services to their residents by taking advantage of the support provided by SWACO and The Recycling Partnership. It’s also an example of an important partnership that combines SWACO’s local expertise with The Recycling Partnership’s national reach to maximize the impact of our community recycling programs.”

In addition to purchasing new carts, the investment will fund the delivery of recycling education materials to every home as part of SWACO’s ongoing “Recycle Right, Make a Difference” program. These educational materials include guidelines for what can and cannot be recycled to help residents recycle more conveniently and efficiently.

Learn more about the Every Bottle Back initiative at www.EveryBottleBack.org.


This continuation of work in the SWACO region demonstrates The Recycling Partnership’s unique ability to exponentially increase recycling access and quality in a particular area of the country by building upon separately funded corporate initiatives to drive change in the public recycling system. By ensuring all organizations who join make a commitment to the organization’s Core Value “Play Well With Others,” The Recycling Partnership increases the effect of private dollars on the public system to further catalyze the circular economy.

The Recycling Partnership partnered with SWACO to conduct a first-of-its-kind before and after study using two different methodologies to gauge the increased recovery of individual commodities in two of the five communities carted in the region. Study data showed improvement in recycling behavior in participating households from the transition to carts. Previously with bins, only 52% of homes recycled 60% or more of the recyclable material that they generated; after receiving carts, 74% of homes recycled at the 60% rate or higher. The data was an encouraging sign that, even for towns with fairly good recycling performance in bins, carts can effectively increase how well households recycle and can raise the specific capture rate of beverage containers.

Funded in part by the PepsiCo Foundation’s All In On Recycling Campaign, the 2019 work to fight contamination, increase access, and measure results paved the way for the addition of new programs such as Whitehall and Pleasant Township, which are funded in part through the American Beverage Association’s Every Bottle Back Initiative.