Great parks receives EPA grant to expand recycling program 

Great Parks of Hamilton County will dramatically expand its recycling capabilities after securing a grant from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency that will lead to 370 new recycling bins being placed in high traffic areas and golf courses within the parks. 

“This external funding is helping us to reduce waste and increase our recycling and zero-waste efforts, both of which play a major role in advancing our mission to preserve and protect natural resources,” said Moran Slakmon, sustainability coordinator for Great Parks. 

Volunteers at the 2017 Winton Woods cleanup
Volunteers at the 2017 Winton Woods cleanup, which may not be needed thanks to new recycling bins.

Adding these recycling bins will almost triple their number in Great Parks, helping to approach the eventual goal of having at least one recycling bin for every trash can in the parks. The additional recycling bins will also reduce the need for trash cans, since many of the items currently going into the waste stream will go into recycling bins instead. By the middle of next year, the new bins will be placed in convenient locations throughout the parks so that guests can easily drop in bottles and cans, keeping recyclable items out of the landfill. 

The Ohio EPA grant is for $83,133 and Great Parks provided $20,783 in matching funds, leading to a total investment of $103,916 for this initiative. In addition to the recycling bins, Great Parks is also using the funding for park-wide organics recycling and educational outreach on waste diversion. 

Through the purchase of a woodchipper, Great Parks staff will be able to turn woody debris collected in the parks into mulch for garden beds and composting. This will generate significant operational and cost-savings for Great Parks. 

Securing this grant funding is the latest in a series of recycling and sustainability initiatives underway at Great Parks. Earlier this year, a large-scale waste audit from multiple locations in Winton Woods generated data on patterns in the waste stream at the park. This data will help to identify the best locations in which to locate the new recycling bins. Great Parks also installed a new composting station at Winton Woods Campground this year. Each campsite has a dedicated compost bin which campers can use to collect their compostable waste to be deposited at a larger central bin in the campground. The recycling and compost programs aim to divert waste from landfills while conserving natural resources both inside and outside of the parks.

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