In January 2015, the City of Columbus started its Columbus Green Community Plan, a five year plan for the city to become an "increasingly sustainable community". This is also the third phase of the Get Green Columbus Initiative launched in 2005. Various key initiatives are taken, including Green building, Renewable energy, Resources Protection and conservation, Transportation and Reduce, reuse and recycle. When it comes to plastic-bags impact, one option is to apply a price or a surcharge to discourage waste. An other option is to simply ban their use. There's also the concept of recycling, and that's the solution chosen by Mayor Michael B. Coleman, at least for now. A plastic-bag pilot program will begin in early 2016 to see how this measure can be more effective or not over a full year.
The City of Columbus, its residents, the Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio (SWACO), the Ohio Grocers Association and 20 retailers (along High Street and Morse Road) will work together to collect and recycle as many plastic bags as possible. As Erin Miller, the city's environmental steward said, "the idea is we will try this method first and see if we can increase the amount of reusable bags used by customers and decrease the amount of single-use bags". Ohio EPA is involved too: part of the Environmental Protection Agency grant's funding will be used for signs, recycling containers and employees training. If this pilot program is proved to be successful, the city may expand it to more Central Ohio businesses.
*Photos: The Columbus Green Community Plan
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