Attitudes towards the environment have evolved since I can remember, but perhaps never more dramatically than in the past two or three years.
I believe we are in the midst of a global green awakening as we have near-reached consensus on the importance of preserving our planet and our climate.
To that end, there is a growing collective recognition of the consequences of the amount of waste we generate. Images of plastic bottles floating in our oceans and shopping bags swirling around our parks are no longer acceptable.
This new awareness is evident in rising recycling rates in residential buildings, the demand for community food waste programs, and corporate waste reduction goals.
It’s easy to forget that recycling doesn’t just happen when we separate our bottles, cans and boxes from our rubbish; Recyclable materials need to be made into something people buy. The good news is that more and more companies are doing this.
From waste to raw material: Going “green” continues when students return to school
From waste to raw material: Local residents can help keep waste hauliers safe
As more recyclable material becomes available and more companies are making higher quality products from this material, there is quickly an opportunity to protect the environment in ways that will also help our economy.
Central Ohio is home to nearly 400 recycling companies with 5,000 employees and $ 1 billion annual sales, including Hilliard-based Advanced Drainage Systems, which recycles more plastic than any other company in the country except one.
This is a growing industry that needs to be accelerated. This community has the opportunity to attract and support more businesses, jobs and investments related to recycling and sustainability. So we are confident that the time has come for a Green Economy Business Park in central Ohio.
SWACO is proposing to attract and locate a cluster of companies connected by the use of recycled materials on 350 acres of vacant land in Grove City to turn idle land into economic opportunity.
The Green Economy Business Park will leverage research, technology and advanced manufacturing to bring together the supply chain for sustainable materials management and create a sustainable destination for businesses and workers alike.
Based on models across the country and the economic dynamism of recycled materials, we believe this location could create 2,000 to 3,500 manufacturing jobs that are between $ 1.6 million and $ 4.2 million in local tax revenue and between $ 350 million $ 500 million in capital investment.
If the Green Economy Business Park is approved under the Grove City rededication process, the region will position the region as a business leader in this emerging market for recyclable materials and sustainable manufacturing.
Economic trends can be difficult to predict, but this one is here to stay. Given the demands of our public – and the needs of our planet – we know this market will only grow in the years to come.
If we take this opportunity, Central Ohio will be on the front lines.
Ty Marsh is the managing director of SWACO. Questions about his business can be directed to [email protected] His office has made this column available to ThisWeek.