Maintaining an environmentally sustainable community requires a community wide effort and there are a variety of ways you can donate your time and effort to Get Green Columbus!
Over 6500 members and growing! Join GreenSpot at home, at work or at school by making a series of commitments to the environment.
Each year Mayor Michael B. Coleman presents the GreenSpotLight Award to the top three businesses participating in the program. Don't miss your chance to win by submitting your annual accomplishments to GreenSpot. Recipients include:
• Gilbane Building Company
• Organized Home Remodeling
2012 (CTV event coverage)
• G&J Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company of Columbus
• Virtue Salon
• ms consultants, inc
• The Nature Conservancy
• First English Lutheran Church
• Limited Brands
• Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP
• Anshen + Allen, a part of Stantec Architecture
• Battelle Memorial Institute
• Whole Foods Market
All are welcome to join this program which is extended to residents living in communities outside of Columbus.
With the support of the Ohio Environmental Education Fund, GreenSpot Kids was designed to integrate sustainability into everyday classroom life with free resources designed to supplement science curriculum for first grade students. The program includes the following:
A classroom set of the book, GreenSpot and the Dots. GreenSpot, a character inspired by central Ohio students, leads friends on a journey with stops at several Columbus locations to discover what it means to get green. Books are also available for checkout at Columbus Public Library.
Reusable poster size charts to track and recognize students’ green accomplishments.
Enrichment activities and worksheets.
The new website designed for kids and teachers: GreenKids.Columbus.gov
Presentations from environmental professionals at the City of Columbus.
The chance for a school to be honored with a GreenSpotLight Award and win prizes.
$50 Rain Barrels
Through a partnership with Franklin Soil and Water and EarthMinded, a subsidiary of Grief, Columbus residents are eligible for rain barrels at the reduced price of $45 (retail value $139). The program requires residents to register as a GreenSpot member and either attend a workshop on rain barrels or taking an online quiz. The goal of the program is to educate residents about methods to reduce stormwater runoff. Each household is limited to one barrel while supplies last.
For more information, call 614-486-9613 or visit www.GreenSpotRainBarrels.org.
Business Case Competition
Administered by local nonprofit, Green Columbus, the Get Green Business Case Competition was developed by the Mayor's Green Team and challenges MBA students from central Ohio to compete for a cash prize by presenting a solution to an assigned case. Presentations are judged by a panel of experts from the community and must keep business goals and sustainability in mind.
Mayor Coleman is committed to seeing gardens flourish in the city. In fact, he even established a community garden at City Hall. To establish a vegetable or flower garden in your neighborhood the city and its partners can help with the following services:
Department of Development, Land Redevelopment Office:
• Need space to garden? License vacant land from the city for only $10 per year.
• Gardens on Land Bank property are eligible to receive a cistern, irrigation system, installation and soil testing in kind from the city. To apply for a cistern, please contact program administrator, Rebuilding Together Central Ohio.
Department of Public Utilities:
• The Department of Public Utilities provides guidance and instructions on how to install a water line or auxillary meter to avoid sewer fees on your garden's water bill.
• The city has compiled a list of water haulers for gardeners who are interested in contracting to fill cisterns during times of drought.
• Learn how to obtain Comtil, a rich soil amendment for your garden made from byproducts of the waste water treatment process.
Department of Recreation and Parks:
• Whenever possible, the Department of Recreation and Parks drops off wood chips to Franklin Park Conservatory for free pick up to community gardeners. Contact Franklin Park Conservatory, Growing to Green program on availability.
• Volunteer opportunities exist at many of the city's park. Visit the department website to learn more.
Rebuilding Together Central Ohio, Tool Library: Borrow from an inventory of over 4500 tools for free.
Franklin Park Conservatory, Growing to Green Program: Situated on the city's Franklin Park, the Franklin Park Conservatory & Botanical Garden offers a gardening library, expert advice and rental of small garden plots.
Grants: When possible, grant funds are allocated to gardeners in the city budget to be dispersed in the spring. In 2011, the city partnered with Franklin County to grant over $57,000 providing tools, plants, materials and more to garden groups. The funding was further supplemented by in kind product donations compliments of The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company. Thanks also to Franklin Park Conservatory and The Columbus Foundation for partnering on this initiative.
• Garden policy explained: City code and policy relevant to gardeners compiled and simplified.
• Find information on best practices for gardening in potentially contaminated landscapes or how to create a business plan for your urban farm from the EPA.
Experience the Outdoors
The easiest way to get involved in Get Green Columbus is to simply experience the outdoors. The city and surrounding areas offers many opportunities to get outside including picnicing, hiking, biking, boating, fishing and more. Get started by visiting the Department of Recreation and Parks or Franklin County Metro Parks websites to find an activity you'll enjoy.
Featured activity: Paddle the Olentangy River through the heart of Columbus on the city's first water trail launched fall 2013. Review the Water Trail Map before setting out on your adventure.
The Department of Public Health hosts three farmers' markets each year in an effort to bring healtheir food to Columbus neighborhoods. Simultaneously, the markets emphasize local foods which are good for the environment due to the shorter distance food travels from the farm to the dinner table. The market has a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables available and accepts the Ohio Directions Card (food stamps).
Find Greener Ways to Go
Whether you are going to the library or going to work, travel greener around the city with help from the following city departments:
• Department of Public Service, Division of Mobility Options: Resources
on biking, walking, bus, car/vanpooling
• Department of Recreation and Parks: Trail maps and information
• Ride Solutions: Commuter services
Don't miss these signature green events taking place in the city throughout the year:
• Kick Butt Columbus!: Join this annual event as hundreds of city employees, local businesses and residents come together to clean cigarette butts and other litter from our highway ramps- event typically occurs annually in April.
• Earth Day: Coordinated by nonprofit partner, Green Columbus, Earth Day in Columbus is one of the largest celebrations in the world. The event includes multi-day volunteer opportunities and a celebratory festival- event typically occurs annually in April.
• Mayor's Twilight Ride: Grab your bike and go for an evening spin with Mayor "Bikin' Mike" Coleman as the sun sets over the city- event typically occurs annually in July.
• EcoSummit: Sponsored in part by Get Green Columbus, this international event will take place in Columbus September 30-October 5 to bring together the world's most respected minds in ecological science to discuss ways to restore the planet's ecosystems. -don't miss this event which will be hosted in Columbus only once!
From group hikes to professional conferences, find additional green events using the Green Community Calendar maintained in partnership with the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission.
Have a Question? Just ask us!
Join the conversation on Facebook with like-minded neighbors and city staff. It is the place where you can ask questions and get the most up-to-date events, news, photos and tips. Find us at www.facebook.com/columbusgreenspot.
Home Energy Efficiency Services
Funded in part by the City of Columbus, the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) offers home energy effiency services to income eligible columbus power customers. Services offered include assessment and, if necessary, repair/replacement of electric appliances and lighting. Visit the MORPC website to learn more.
Report Littering and Illegal Dumping
Litter as small as a cigarette butt can be reported online or over the phone through the Environmental Crimes Task Force of Central Ohio. Simply enter the incident online at www.itsacrime.org noting details such as the time, location, license plate number, and vehicle model.
The Environmental Crimes Task Force also deters crimes with cameras, investigation, prosecution and utilizes convicted polluters for community service, removing trash from roadways, waterways and recreational properties. Learn more by reading the 2012 Environmental Crimes Task Force Report.
The City of Columbus is a partner in the Environmental Crimes Task Force of Central Ohio led by SWACO.
Residential recycling has been fully implemented throughout the city to eligible households. Other recycling options remain in place for those not currently covered by city recycling:
• Public recycling drop-box at any of SWACO's over 200 locations
• Recycling subscription with Rumpke
For more information on recycling in the City of Columbus visit www.RecycleColumbus.com
Schedule a field trip or in-school presentation from the City of Columbus and partners:
• Department of Recreation and Parks, Outdoor Education Center: With a mission to instill a lifelong appreciation for the outdoors and the environment, staff at the city's Indian Village facility provide field trip and onsite programming. Located on the west bank of the Scioto River at Griggs Reservoir, Indian Village features trails, caves, creeks and mature trees to form the backdrop for students to explore and discover nature.
• Department of Public Service, Keep Columbus Beautiful: Offers a variety of lesson plans for in-school presentations from our trained outreach staff.
• Department of Public Utilities, Central Ohio Children's Water Festival: Each year hundreds of children are welcomed to the city's Dublin Road facility to learn about drinking water, waste water, and natural resource protection. Contact Anita for information on how to participate.
• Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio (SWACO): Guided field trips of Franklin County's landfill.
Storm Drain Marker Program
Volunteer with the Department of Public Utilities to apply vinyl markers on curbs near storm drain inlets. The project is part of the "We All Live Downstream" pollution prevention public education program. By participating, you can help raise awareness that dumping into storm drains contributes to water pollution and endangers wildlife.
Support an Environmental Nonprofit
Columbus is thankful for the wide variety of nonprofit organizations doing significant work to benefit the greening of the city. Many are in need of your help as a volunteer, a donor or maybe even a board member. Some of these organizations are listed along the left hand column of this web page titled 'Partner Links'. Please visit each site to find out more and to get involved.
The City of Columbus and partners offer opportunities to volunteer doing litter clean ups, invasive plant removals, community gardening, tree plantings and more. If you can't find an event to fit your schedule below, borrow the tools you need to plan your own event from Keep Columbus Beautiful.
• Department of Recreation and Parks
• Department of Public Utilities, River Pride
Find opportunities with our partner organizations listed in the 'Partner Links' section of this website located in the left hand column.
Yard waste disposal
Yard waste disposal options are offered to residents in order to compost the discarded material into a rich soil for reuse. There are two main ways to dispose of yard waste material with the city:
1. Collection service for eligible households: Yard waste is collected every other week alternating with recycling collection. Find out more about how to use yard waste collection services online.
2. Additionally, the city's Com-Til Compost Facility will accept yard waste free of charge, year round.