Dina Pierce, Ohio EPA, (614) 644-2160
Robert Brundrett, The Ohio Manufacturers' Association, (614) 629-6814
Zack Frymier, Ohio Chamber of Commerce, (614) 228-4201
Lora L. Miller, The Ohio council of Retail Merchants, (614) 2217833
Statewide Commercial, Industrial Recycling Data Survey Gathers Useful Data
It’s once again time for Ohio to request data from commercial and industrial businesses regarding their recycling activities. The data will be used to identify recycling trends and opportunities and indicate whether Ohio is meeting its recycling goals.
This is the third year Ohio EPA and the solid waste districts have teamed up with the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants and The Ohio Manufacturers’ Association to encourage survey participation. For several years, Ohio’s solid waste management districts have conducted the voluntary annual surveys. The partners are now collaborating on this survey initiative to simplify submitting data and improve the response rate.
From 2016’s statewide survey, we learned that in 2015, Ohio industries reported having recycled approximately 53 percent of their waste. Ohio’s goal for recycling industrial waste is 66 percent. Commercial and residential data is combined to calculate a recycling rate for municipal solid waste. The 2015 surveys indicate the state’s commercial businesses and households recycled almost 27 percent of municipal solid waste in 2015, surpassing the state’s goal of 25 percent.
“Ohio industry not only reduces or recycles more than 10 million tons of material per year, industry is also an enormous consumer of recycled materials, such as metals, glass, paper and plastics. Manufacturers are strong advocates for Ohio’s recycling systems,” said Rob Brundrett, director, Public Policy Services, The Ohio Manufacturers’ Association.
“I commend Ohio businesses for their efforts to reduce waste and find ways to reuse or recycle materials,” said Ohio EPA Director Craig W. Butler. “Information in the surveys helps us know if we are meeting statewide recycling goals, lets us serve businesses better and can lead to economic development opportunities.”
Many of Ohio’s communities and businesses are doing outstanding jobs at recycling their waste. However, available data doesn’t provide a complete picture of how much material is actually recycled. That means there is more recycling going on than is being reported. As more businesses provide their recycling numbers, Ohio’s recycling rates will increase. With enough additional data, Ohio would likely be able to demonstrate achieving the industrial recycling goal.
“The Ohio Council of Retail Merchants is proud to partner with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and Ohio’s solid waste management districts to encourage our members to participate in the statewide recycling survey,” said Lora Miller, director of Governmental Affairs and Public Relations for the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants. “The retail industry is committed to improving sustainability by reducing our environmental footprint through the recycling of a wide variety of materials and products. Measuring and quantifying the results of these efforts assists our solid waste districts with identifying where efficiencies exist as well as where resources are needed.”
The solid waste management districts are required to survey businesses within their districts about the amounts and types of materials being recycled. The data are then reported to Ohio EPA which compiles the information for a statewide perspective.
“Measuring recycling efforts is valuable for businesses throughout Ohio. Reporting efforts allow for Ohio’s solid waste management districts to more efficiently and effectively serve the local and business communities and tailor programs accordingly,” said Zack Frymier, director of Energy & Environmental Policy, at the Ohio Chamber of Commerce.
The information collected helps determine how much material is being diverted from Ohio’s landfills, reveals infrastructure needs and determines whether local solid waste management districts are meeting goals. Also, to qualify for Ohio EPA’s Encouraging Environmental Excellence (E3) program, businesses are required to provide data to the local solid waste management districts.
Voluntary participation in the survey connects businesses to local solid waste management districts that may offer services such as waste assessments (figuring out what waste materials may be recycled rather than thrown away and identifying markets for these materials), assistance applying for grants, employee education and other technical assistance.
Ohio EPA has a collaborative website that includes contact information for each solid waste district in Ohio, access to the recycling survey form and the latest recycling data from each district. Businesses should return surveys to their solid waste management districts.
Ohio EPA offers grants, technical assistance and recognition to businesses and organizations who want to recycle more or develop markets for recycled products. Staff can help businesses find ways to become more efficient, reduce waste and find places to recycle materials.
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency was created in 1972 to consolidate efforts to protect and improve air quality, water quality and waste management in Ohio. Since then, air pollutants dropped by as much as 90 percent; large rivers meeting standards improved from 21 percent to 89 percent; and hundreds of polluting, open dumps were replaced with engineered landfills and an increased emphasis on waste reduction and recycling.