What really happens to the things we throw away & recycle?

Every day we place items in the trash can or recycle bin, often with little thought as to what the next step in that item’s ‘life’ will be. A group of COSI Team Members took two field trips to learn more about waste collection and recycling in Central Ohio.

Aluminum bale

A trip to SWACO’s sanitary landfill in Grove City provided us with an up close view of the business of managing waste in Central Ohio. Perhaps you have driven by the landfill in the past and thought briefly about the amount of trash your daily activities generate. For me, sitting in a van on top of the landfill watching the large machinery go to work on the seemingly endless supply of garbage was an eye-opening experience. Sadly, a lot of the garbage that ends up in the landfill could have been diverted through reuse or recycling. By visiting SWACO’s website, you can learn what to do with things you want to get rid of, from old books to household hazard waste.


Our next destination was Rumpke’s Material Recovery Facility (MRF). Here we saw firsthand how Rumpke uses a combination of man-power and technology to sort recyclables. This too was an informative experience that helped all of us better understand what is accepted for recycling locally and why. Did you know that Rumpke offers free public tours of its recycling centers? Check out their website for more information.

Check out the videos of our adventures below.

Next time you are at COSI, check out the Trashformations exhibit on the first floor to learn more about waste and recycling.

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About the Author

Photo of Courtney Price

Courtney Price

Courtney Price joined the COSI team in January, 2013 as the Director of Energy & Environmental Initiatives. Courtney enjoys gardening (at home and in the Team Garden at COSI), jogging, camping and spending time with her three pets, all adopted from local shelters.

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