Black and white drawing of a hand holding the Earth

What’s Right

Compost Exchange: This is an important and convenient way to keep food out of the landfill to get it used in urban gardens and farms. For a small fee you take home a yellow tub, put in your leftover or spoiled food waste, and bring it back for an empty one. Details and drop-off locations:

Bring your own bag, bulk foods and refill stations: Kudos to the grocery stores and co-ops that provide refill stations for olive oil, peanut butter, honey and water; bulk food areas allowing customers to bring their own containers; and “bring your own bag” incentives. Now, if the City of Columbus could just officially ban plastic bags!

Zero waste events: This is an effort to encourage local festivals and even OSU football games to stay clean and green. Guidelines include: supplying recycling containers with clear labeling; composting food waste; attendees bringing re-usable water bottles or dishes; and educating vendors about no-waste procedures.

Ride share and other alternatives to solo-driving: Some alternatives are taking the bus or riding your bike, and Columbus has put some effort into providing bike paths.Other automobile transportation options in addition to Uber and Lyft are:,,

Solar energy initiatives:Ohio homeowners – check to see if you are eligible for the 30% tax credit for installing solar panels on your house. You may be able to cut your electric bill in half and increase its sale value.

What’s Wrong

Gas and oil waste disposal sites in the Columbus Watershed:The 13 and growing number of these toxic sites in Morrow and Delaware Counties are contaminated with brine, heavy metals, and radium 226 and 228. Also, since the Ohio legislators approved letting oil and gas companies dump on us with “legislative preemption laws,” municipalities are now prevented from stopping this from occurring in our water table and communities.

Spraying brine on roads and highways:The brine may be made from radioactive frack waste and is being used for dust reduction and ice melting, adding another whole level of the contamination of air, water and soil to our communities. Selling waste disposal brine as Aqua Salina in groceries and hardware stores as ice and snow removal will bring all these contaminants into our homes.

Issues with recycling:China and India are now rejecting U.S. plastics/trash waste and waste is being burned, piled up, buried in U.S. and almost NO stories about this. What exactly is happening in Columbus to our materials in our blue containers at Rumpke?

Overbuilding:Not everyone is thrilled with the overwhelming number of condo complexes and apartment buildings thrown up in every vacant lot in the city, taxing existing infrastructure without care towards those living in area.

Litter:We need rewards for trash clean up and/or punishment for polluting in our neighborhoods and parks – or at least encouragement to put waste in trash or recycling containers. Give a hoot, don’t pollute!

Michel Coconis and Bob Krasen contributed to this article.