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THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH | Special Advertising Section | FRIDAY, APRIL 18, 2014

earth day green living

in greater columbus

INSIDE: Earth Day Columbus 2014 Volunteering with gratitude Ohio Mulch Cleaner, greener, better Green Entertainment: Interactive kids’ shows incorporate recycled instruments



THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH | Special Advertising Section | fridAY, april 18, 2014


Earth Day Columbus has attitude of gratitude Gratitude is the theme for 2014 Earth Day Columbus festivities and service opportunities. Earth Day is celebrated on April 22 each year, but it will be celebrated throughout Columbus for an entire week. From April 19-26, volunteers can give a few hours of their time at more than 100 service sites across the area. Additionally, a grand Earth Day celebration will be held April 26 at Columbus Commons Downtown. Green Columbus is a nonprofit organization founded in 2007. It is dedicated to promoting sustainable living in central Ohio by providing forums, raising awareness and encouraging individuals and entities to take action. Along with community leaders, businesses and other nonprofits, Green Columbus puts on the largest Earth Day volunteer service project in the nation based on service hours, said Nicole Rasul, executive director of Green Columbus. “We’re calling this year’s event ‘Gratitude,’ as we’re grateful for all that the environment gives us, and it’s time to turn this notion into action,� Rasul said. Green Columbus, along with lead sponsor The Columbus Foundation, is asking central Ohioans to volunteer “with gratitude� in appreciation of planet Earth. Individuals are invited to volunteer their time at service sites — from tree plantings, to preparing community gardens, to picking up trash and more. Then, on Saturday, April

26 from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., a celebration to commemorate Earth Day will be held at Columbus Commons. The celebration will feature live bands, food trucks, green businesses, kids’ activities and more. This year, Earth Day volunteers will be thanked in many ways, including vouchers for Chipotle burritos, appetizers from Max & Erma’s, scoops from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, cookies from Pattycake Bakery, pizza from Mikey’s Late Night Slice, Clif Bars, car2go memberships and minutes, discounts from SBB and movie passes from Gateway Film Center. “Every year, to sweeten the deal, we line up a great package of rewards from some of our amazing sponsors to thank volunteers for their efforts,� Rasul said. Groups are encouraged to volunteer. The school (K-12), nonprofit and employer that sends out the most volunteers to participate in Earth Day activities will be rewarded with the NBBJ Challenge Cup prize at a special awards ceremony at the April 26 celebration.

Families, individuals and businesses can get involved in a variety of activities to celebrate Earth Day Columbus.

This will be the 8th annual Earth Day event organized by Green Columbus, and it remains the largest volunteer effort in the United States for Earth Day, according to the Earth Day Network. Over the past seven years, more than 55,000 hours of time planting trees, cleaning up neighborhoods and establishing community gardens has been invested by central Ohioans. Over the past four years, more than 16,000 trees have been planted through Earth Day Columbus initiatives. “Registration is easy, as is finding the right service opportunity,� Rasul said. For more information, visit

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THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH | Special Advertising Section | FRIDAY, APRIL 18, 2014



Landscape supplier applies its green philosophy to all aspects of business BY REBECCA WALTERS THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH Ohio Mulch adheres to a “cleaner, greener, better” philosophy — not just when it comes to manufacturing landscaping products — but doing business as a whole. It’s all about taking items that would go to waste and turning them into something usable again, said Ron Frost, retail district manager for the locally based landscape supply company that specializes in mulch, soil and stone. “We’re keeping things out of a landfill and turning them into products with an extended life,” Frost said. “Every year we have listened to our customers and try to improve upon the service we provide,” Frost said. That includes improving distribution at its retail locations by making the loading process easier as well as producing environmentally friendly mulches and soils. Some of the mulches are dye-free, such as the Red Oak and Black Cypress, and they also decompose and can be absorbed into the ground. As for soil, Frost said the product evolved from a quest to improve upon the product. “Ohio has a clay-based soil,” he said. “As such, we had to go elsewhere to get more nutrients. So we tried to figure out what we could do to produce a high-nutrient soil with zero additives.” To achieve that, the company started collecting food waste from national retailers like Wal-Mart and Kroger as well as restaurants to create a compost soil. “We have 20 types of products that are good for the environment,” he said. Several of Ohio Mulch’s soils and mulches are certified as top quality by the national Mulch and Soil Council. In addition to manufacturing environmentally sustainable products, Ohio Mulch takes its green-mindedness to heart by recycling whatever it can, whenever it can at its corporate offices, retail centers and processing facilities. It also tries to make recycling easier for consumers by accepting yard waste and computer parts at several of its retail locations. Located on the Columbus’ southeast side, Ohio Mulch this year is celebrating its 30th anniversary. Jim Weber II founded the company in


Ohio Mulch produces 20 types of products that are environmentally friendly.

1984 in Blacklick, and in 1991 started manufacturing his own hardwood mulches and developed a production line to bag the products. That’s also the year the company moved to a larger facility on Universal Road on Columbus’ southeast side, where the corporate offices are located. As the company grew residentially and commercially, Ohio Mulch gained national retail clients, such as Home Depot as well as landscaping companies and garden centers. At the same time, Ohio Mulch started opening its

own retail stores throughout central Ohio. Today, the company operates manufacturing facilities and more than 26 retail locations throughout Ohio, Kentucky and in southern Georgia. During peak seasons, the company employs as many as 500 people. Frost said many of the employees have been with the company for several years, because the company believes in promoting from within. Ohio Mulch also is active in giving back to the communities in which it does business in a variety of ways, including fundraisers for organizations and schools. The company also does its fair share of educating the community about environmental sustainability by hosting workshops at home and garden shows and to businesses. “As sustainability becomes more prevalent, awareness continues to grow,” Frost said. “We educate the communities we serve.”


THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH | Special Advertising Section | fridAY, april 18, 2014

Letter from the Mayor Dear Friends: Get Green Columbus has been a cornerstone of my administration since its inception in 2005. Momentum builds with each new endeavor, making a positive contribution to quality of life, the economy and, of course, the environment. Just last year, we proudly launched CoGo Bike Share, Car2Go car sharing and expanded our residential recycling program. We’re not doing this alone. There are more than 30 organizations advocating for various aspects of sustainability year-round.

More than 6,050 residents and nearly 800 businesses have committed through the GreenSpot program to take more than 67,500 actions to improve the environment. There are 190,000 households recycling with the blue cart RecyColumbus program. Last year, more than 16,000 volunteers donated 50,000 hours to plant trees, clean up litter, plant gardens and more. On Earth Day alone, more than 11,000 additional volunteer hours

were logged. Never feel as though the efforts you make each day are insignificant. Collectively, we are doing our part to protect our planet. If you haven’t already taken the pledge, join GreenSpot today at ColumbusGreenSpot. org. You can also visit to see our accomplishments to date. Thank you for joining me in this valuable endeavor. Sincerely, Michael B. Coleman Mayor, City of Columbus

In 2005, Mayor Michael Coleman issued a Green Memo outlining responsible, sustainable growth that includes addressing air quality and landfill issues, improving recycling efforts, promoting green businesses, constructing green buildings and establishing an alternative green building code. He also created the Office of Environmental Stewardship and brought together a group of advisors known as the Mayor’s Green Team. The timeline below is just a sampling of some of the green milestones the city has made over the past decade.

2006 • 10 local jurisdictions form the Big Darby Accord 2007 • Columbus holds its first citywide Earth Day celebration after a 10-plus-year hiatus • Mayor forms Central Ohio Green Pact 2008 • Columbus unveils Bicentennial Bikeways

Master Plan • City issues an Air Quality Alert Action plan • Mayor launches GreenSpot program 2009 • Government Fleet recognizes Columbus’ municipal fleet as one of the greenest • Mayor introduces the 10-Year Reform and Efficiency Action Plan

2010 • Mayor issues Green Memo 2, another 5-year plan for sustainability 2011 • The city breaks ground on its first compressed natural gas fueling station 2012 • RecyColumbus launch • Hosts International EcoSummit • Electric vehicle charging stations

2013 • CoGo Bike Share and Car2Go launch • Main St. Dam breach • Scioto Greenways restoration begins • Olentangy Water Trail 2014 • RecyColumbus expansion • Alum Creek Trail complete (22 miles)

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH | Special Advertising Section | FRIDAY, APRIL 18, 2014


I.H. Schlezinger Inc.

Scrap-metal company has been green for 100-plus years

BY REBECCA WALTERS THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH I.H. Schlezinger Inc. was green long before its time. In fact, the family-owned and operated company has been around for more than 100 years. Founded in 1905, the company specializes in recycling and processing scrap metal. The company accepts and purchases a variety of ferrous (containing iron) and nonferrous metals from the general public as well as from commercial and industrial companies. “Anybody can come in and bring in their recyclables,” said John Miller, vice president for I.H. Schlezinger Inc., who manages the two recycling facilities in Columbus. The company is in the

business of reducing, reusing and recycling all things metal, which reduces the amount of waste that goes to landfills, Miller said. All kinds of things end up at Schlezinger — demolition scrap, auto wrecker scrap, obsolete equipment, aluminum and cans, stainless steel, copper, brass — and the list goes on. The more items that Schlezinger takes in, processes, transports and/or resells to be recycled, the less these items end up in landfills. Where do items go once they reach Schlezinger? Depending on the type of material, Miller said, each is processed in one of three ways: torched, bailed or sheared. A scrap bulldozer, for example would be torch cut into 3-by-4-foot pieces. Tin


Aluminum and other light-gauge materials get bailed into squares. cans and thin-gauge steel scrap is baled, into 3-by3-foot cubes. Pipe, angle iron and beams are sheared by a 1,100-ton shear. All this material will be shipped to a steel mill to be melted down into useable new products.

Along the way, materials are sorted by grade, and nonmetal materials, such as glass and plastic, are further weeded out in a downstream sorter. While the company is in business to make a profit,

the business is good for the community. Customers can bring their items to either of Schlezinger’s two drive-thru recycling facilities to have their recycables weighed, graded and receive top dollar for their material.

JOYCE AVE LOCATION 1041 Joyce Avenue Columbus, OH 43219-2448 (614) 252-1188

PARSONS AVE LOCATION 2040 Parsons Avenue Columbus, OH 43207-2306 (614) 443-0909



THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH | Special Advertising Section | fridAY, april 18, 2014

Children’s entertainer spreads green message through music and crafts

“I come from in the ground so deep Down where the miners crawl and creep I’ve got lots of friends where I come from There’s copper, iron and aluminum You fill me up with pop one day You drink it down just to throw me away Our country could be litter free, if you would just recycle me.’’ At left, lyrics from “Our Country Could be Litter Free,’’ by Eric Ahlteen. Middle, a sistrum. At right, Ahlteen entertains children at last year’s Earth Day Columbus festivities. BY REBECCA WALTERS THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH Eric Ahlteen, better known as “Mr. Eric” to area children, could be called a green entertainer. Not because the local singer and songwriter is new to show business, but because his approach is a breath of fresh air as he tries to incorporate a bit of environmentally friendly messages into his songs. Ahlteen will be performing Saturday, April 26 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., in the children’s activity tent

in between major acts during the Earth Day Columbus celebration at Columbus Commons Downtown. As part of his act, he conducts an interactive kids show, which gets children in on the fun by singing and playing instruments they make out of recycled materials. A water bottle filled with rocks, twigs or other soon-to-be-discarded items, like old screws, makes for a great maraca when you attach it to a toilet paper roll using tape that acts as a handle. He also shows children how to

make a sistrum, a percussion instrument that looks like a rattle, using floral wire to attach bottle caps to a tree branch. “Kids can keep rhythm,” said Ahlteen, 57, who has been playing guitar since he was 14 years old. Ahlteen had been in corporate fundraising in chocolate sales for a good portion of his career. During school assemblies, he found he could keep children’s attention better if his presentations were more engaging. After that, he owned and operated

a coffee shop for about five years, and would put on an interactive children’s show. Although the coffee shop closed, Ahlteen kept on entertaining. He performed more than 100 children’s shows last year. For parents planning to bring children to the Earth Day Columbus festivities at the Commons, Ahlteen encourages them to bring something recycled that could be used to make an instrument — buttons, old screws, rocks, bottle caps, rice or similar materials.

Volunteers deeply rooted in tree planting BY REBECCA WALTERS THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH People give them fancy titles like, “queen of rain gardens” and “super volunteer.” But the individuals behind tree plantings said they are just doing their part in trying to make Columbus a greener and more beautiful city. One of those super volunteers is Julie Smiley, tree coordinator for Green Columbus, who this year is helping organize a planting of 2,000 trees as part of Earth Day Columbus. And that’s just at one site. To celebrate Earth Day Columbus on April 22, Green Columbus, a nonprofit that works with community leaders, businesses and other nonprofits to promote sustainable living, has planned a number of activities throughout the week — from planting trees to picking up trash to raising awareness and more. One activity entails hundreds of

volunteers digging in to plant 2,000 trees on the grounds of the Ohio School for the Deaf, where a 71-acre conservation easement is located. The land is part of Bill Moose Run Creek, named after the last known living Wyandot Indian, and contains a ravine that flows in the Olentangy River, said Kyle Wilson, conservation program manager for the Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District. “In Franklin County, there’s not a lot of upland wooded areas left,” Wilson said. “This contiguous corridor is one of the largest in an urban environment.” The project is a combined effort among Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed (FLOW), Battelle Rivers and Streams Team and Green Columbus to give it a chance of becoming a quality habitat once again, he added. Wilson described the effort as “habitat empowerment.” After a variety of invasive species have been removed from two sections of the

Masser Metals & Recycling

Dealers in Ferrous & Non-Ferrous Metals

Mark Masser President

614-471-3195 Cell: 614-206-4250 3103 Lamb Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43219

easement, seedlings and shrubs, including dogwood, black walnut, oak and sumac, will be planted. Each year for Earth Day, Green Columbus gives away thousands of free trees, all of which are native to Ohio, to groups who request them. “We offer only native Ohio trees because they tend to be more drought tolerant, more disease resistant, and local wildlife can recognize them as a food source,” Smiley said. The free trees help groups restore floodplains, create upland forests, reforest ravines and reforest parks. Free trees — that’s how Smiley first got involved. “I desperately needed trees for a restoration project I was working on in the Clinton-Como Park,” she said. At the time, Green Columbus didn’t have anyone in charge of the tree program, so Smiley offered to help.

And she’s been helping ever since. “I just go where I’m needed,” she said.

Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed Big Spring Tree Planting When: Saturday, April 26 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Where: Ohio School for the Deaf, 500 Morse Rd. Description: Will plant about 2,000 trees. Volunteers are encouraged to bring a shovel and gloves. To participate, email, or call (614) 267-3386 with the number of participants and shovels available to help.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH | Special Advertising Section | FRIDAY, APRIL 18, 2014


Habitat for Humanity–MidOhio ReStores

Your stuff, their dream, our mission

Greening the retail landscape helps Habitat for Humanity build more homes Habitat for HumanityMidOhio’s unique ReStore operation allows local residents to recycle and reuse items that would otherwise end up in landfills, and makes it affordable for more residents to maintain and improve their homes. With the opening of a second ReStore on Columbus’ West Side in 2012, Habitat MidOhio’s ReStores have parlayed more than 1,000 tons of donated goods into sales and diverted more than 2,700 tons of reusable materials from area landfills. The ReStores also remove and salvage materials from buildings being demolished. The Habitat for HumanityMidOhio ReStores sell donated building materials and home-improvement products to the general public. Each of the stores accepts donations of primarily used, and sometimes new, overstock, home-improvement

materials, appliances, household goods, antiques and other items, all of which are offered at discounted prices. The net proceeds from these sales offset nearly all of Habitat’s administrative expenses, thereby contributing a significant value to its overall mission. Donor contributions help build more homes and lift more families out of substandard housing. In addition, the ReStores benefit from hundreds of hours of volunteer assistance each year. This gives organizations, schools and businesses the opportunity to provide team-building and community-service experiences for its members, students and employees. Habitat MidOhio ReStores support the mission of the Habitat for HumanityMidOhio affiliate, inspiring hope, building homes, empowering families and

For locations, hours and a complete list of acceptable materials and items, visit or call the donation hotline at (614) 364-7028. developing communities in central Ohio. Individuals, stores, businesses, general contractors, home remodeling contractors and others regularly donate new and reusable materials from home remodeling projects, overstock inventory, samples, scratch-and-dent items, and much more.

More than ever, Restores need the community’s support to continue its efforts. The public’s donations of home goods, furniture, homeimprovement building materials and more, makes it possible to sell these goods to the public to generate funds that sustain the organization now as well as in the future.

The next time you have a fixer-upper project and have leftover materials, consider donating them to one of the ReStores, or shop there to find unique items for your own home.


THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH | Special Advertising Section | fridAY, april 18, 2014


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