March 2023
Backyard Conversation
Connecting Community + Conservation
Welcome to the Backyard Conversation! Each month we'll be sharing a conservation topic from a more personal viewpoint for our readers. To make this successful, I want to hear feedback from you! I'll include a poll at the bottom regarding our topic and share links to some of our partner organizations with similar messages. So, let's get to it!
Environmental Spring Cleaning
Proper Household Hazardous Waste Disposal
Spring is here, finally! This is a great time to get some fresh air and do some spring cleaning. It's a good time to check your vehicle for leaks and put the road salt away until next winter. While cleaning, you might find some batteries, fertilizer, or other chemicals laying around. Many of these things CANNOT go in the trash, and definitely DON'T dump it outside or down a storm drain - dumping ANYTHING down a storm drain is considered illegal dumping. Only rain should go down the drain. With some easy steps to practice at home we can keep these things out of our waterways and environment.
Proper Household Hazardous Waste Disposal
During spring cleaning, you might be clearing out unused chemicals. Chemicals with warning labels that contain words like danger, caution or poisonous are considered "household hazardous waste" and require some extra steps to dispose of them properly - in an environmentally conscious way.

SWACO provides household hazardous waste (HHW) disposal services for all Franklin County residents. Most items are free for residents to dispose of except latex and water-based paints through SWACO. For a list of accepted materials and more information, click here.

Franklin County residents can bring accepted waste items for recycling and/or environmentally safe disposal to the HHW facility, Environmental Enterprises Incorporated (AKA EEI, Inc.), during certain hours.

EEI, Inc.
645 E 8th Ave (at the corner of 8th Ave and Essex Ave)
Columbus, OH 43201

Wednesdays: 12pm-6pm
Thursdays: 9am-5pm
Fridays: 12pm-6pm

Can't make it there during the week? Check out these SWACO mobile collection events on the weekends:
  • Dublin - Saturday May 6, 2023, 8am-2pm @ 6351 Shier Rings Rd
  • Grove City - Saturday September 23, 2023, 8am-1pm @ 3226 Kingston Ave
  • Westerville - Saturday October 7, 2023, 8am-2pm @ 350 Park Meadow Rd

The SWACO HHW program is free for only Franklin County residents (excluding latex and water-based paints). If you are a business that needs to dispose of hazardous materials, please contact EEI, Inc. at 614-294-1300 to inquire about costs and accepted materials. Outside of Franklin County? Please contact your local municipality.
How to Dispose of Water-Based/Latex Paint
Latex and water-based paint is NOT considered hazardous household waste. Therefore, it can be disposed of differently than oil-based paint and HHW.

Latex/Water-Based Paint Disposal Tips
  • Purchase only what you need. There are online calculators out there to estimate how much paint you will need for a project based on project size and/or square footage such as this Sherwin-Williams calculator.
  • Wash out painting tools in an interior sink. DO NOT pour or wash leftover paint, thinner, solvents, and other chemicals down the drain, on the ground, in a storm sewer, or in the trash. This is illegal, bad for the environment, and you will be liable for the cost of clean up PLUS fines.
  • If you have leftover paint, find ways to repurpose it with another project! You can ask your local paint store if they take used paint or if they know who will take used paint. You can also donate leftover materials if it's not expired. You can donate to someone you know or community organizations.
  • To dispose of via municipal trash, you must dry out the latex paint by thickening it with cat litter, sand, dry dirt, or a commercial paint hardener. Leave the paint lid OFF so trash collectors will know that it is solid. Many haulers will NOT take it if it's still liquid.
National Prescription Drug Take Back Day - April 22
Saturday April 22 is National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. If you have unused or expired medications to dispose of, please dispose of them via a drug take-back location. Do not flush them or throw them in the trash. Proper disposal protects ourselves, our communities, and our environment. Find pop-up and permanent drug take-back locations here.
Franklin Soil and Water's Tree & Plant Sale
Last day to order is March 26!
Last call - the Tree & Plant Sale is almost over. The last day to order is March 26. We are running low or are sold out on most of our trees and shrubs, but we still have native perennial plant kits available.

Each native perennial kit contains 50 plant plugs (10 species x 5 each). The cost is $160 which includes direct shipping to your residence that are estimated to ship around June 5. Each kit can cover about 100 square feet. Please note, substitutions may be made by the vendor based on current availability. We have the following plant kits available this year:
  • Prairie Grass
  • Prairie Wildflower
  • Rain Garden
  • Shade Garden

For a detailed list of species and more information, please read the Native Plant Kit flyer here.

Any trees and shrubs MUST be picked up during the pickup event on Friday April 14 and Saturday April 15. Trees and shrubs cannot and will not be shipped. However, if you order a native plant kit, it will ship directly to you. Plant kits will not be available for pickup. To place an order, click the button below!
Question of the Month
Does your spring cleaning include disposing of household hazardous waste?
I don't know
Get the Scoop from Nature Scoop

Want to learn more about backyard conservation, pollinators, and more? Read the latest edition of the monthly newsletter Nature Scoop by Toni Stahl, National Wildlife Federation Habitat Ambassador.

Nature Scoop March 2023 - Tips to Save Birds, Bees & Butterflies In Our Yards & Gardens & More!

Learn more at and on Twitter @NatureScoopOhio.
Mikaela Mohr
Outreach Program Specialist
Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District
1404 Goodale Blvd. Suite 100, Columbus, OH 43212 
p: 614-486-9613 | e:
Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District | (614) 486-9613 |