By Ohio Environmental Council
Published November 8, 2022
Colerain awareness building of a "green-kind" is taking place, and at the center of it is collaboration across its entire community.
This guest blog post from a partner organization or individual reflects the work and opinions of the author and does not reflect action taken by Green Umbrella staff or board.
Guest Blog Author: Dave Moravec, Colerain Chamber of Commerce
As a community, Colerain Township is oftentimes associated with its longstanding high school football program and the Rumpke waste facility on the north side of Interstate 275. While local residents refer to it as Mt. Rumpke, there is no skiing or sightseeing to be done on this “mountain”. However, it is essential for not just Colerain, but the entire Cincinnati region.
Colerain awareness building of a “green-kind” is taking place, and at the center of it is collaboration across its entire community. “The groundswell of support for our Team Up to Green Up Colerain initiative has been phenomenal in just the first year of its existence,” Dave Moravec, Colerain Chamber of Commerce President remarked recently. “There are so many opportunities to help with the movement, it is hard to see how any resident, business, or community leader could look the other way.”
Moravec moved from Illinois to Cincinnati to accept the leadership position with the Colerain Chamber of Commerce in March of 2020 just as COVID arrived on the scene. Helping energize the community, he was able to bring together 30 business owners and stakeholders across an area even greater than just Colerain in an initial Zoom call just over a year ago. The Team Up To Green Up Colerain website and its programs support the Colerain Township’s Clean, Green, Prosperous and Safe directive led Colerain Township administrator Geoff Milz who shared the early results with the American Planning Association at its statewide conference in late 2021 through the following: APA Conference Video Link on YouTube. Moravec added, “Our support from the likes of Green Umbrella and Hamilton County R3source bring invaluable expertise in the area of regional sustainability.“
The initial group was also able to garner the interest of Chambers Alliance for Innovation and Clean Energy involving Jessica Bergman, their Programs and Engagement Director who along with Moravec, Milz, Savannah Sullivan (Green Umbrella) and Dean Ferrier, Municipal/Public Sector Account Manager with Rumpke Waste & Recycling formed a leadership team willing to tackle the challenge of reining in the messaging. “We needed to have a focus,” said Ferrier, the group’s coordinating leader. “We worked through a brainstorming session that created an enormous list of topics which could have been disastrous. In the end we decided to initially focus on three essential things: 1) community litter challenges, 2) commercial recycling initiatives and 3) to support the existing street tree program already in place with Colerain Township.”
Armed with a website, and additional tools like light pole banners, decals for businesses to display, a QR code, and a one-page brochure telling the story, the group continues to grow due to stories that add to the incredible surge. Some examples include:
Colerain Community Association – Formed out of a need to pickup unwanted trash at Colerain’s most visible interchanges, this community group beautifies the community, not just through waste removal, but with landscaping and flower bed maintenance. For more information, visit the community website Colerain Community Association
Colerain Township Clean Up – This residential and grassroots effort allows for local residents to make a difference in their respective neighborhoods. Community groups like A Greater Northbrook and Groesbeck support semi-annual large scale recycling days that energize residents to do their part. If you would like to help, visit CleanUP Colerain. The Township has also committed to environmental goals through its 2022 Strategic Plan, check it out!
Large Retailers – Chamber of Commerce leaders like Meijer and Kroger encourage the recycling of single use grocery bags and even better promote bringing your own reusable bags which can be left in your vehicle for each time you go to the store. Big box hardware stores like Home Depot and Lowes have a variety of recycling options available for walk-in customers (batteries, light bulbs & bags depending on the store location). These large retailers along with larger users like Vinoklet and Pebble Creek Golf & Event Center have commercial programs in place as well.
LaRosa’s Pizzeria – In an effort to reduce waste, a campaign is underway asking customers to recycle their boxes properly. LaRosa’s uses wax paper to line the inside of the pizza box making it cleaner and easier to recycle at home. Stone Creek location owner Rob Jones has supported the group from the beginning and with the resources of corporate LaRosa’s, have made a difference one pizza at a time.Rumpke Recycling Center –
The Rumpke Recycling facility in St. Bernard has reopened tours of its facility for small groups. This type of education and other tools available from resources like Rumpke and Hamilton County R3sources continue to bring awareness to this ever-increasing challenge. Recycling brochures and small internal bins can be used to help make recycling in your business easier on a daily basis. Contact Anne Gray for more information about tours and resources available.
Every year in November, Dedicated Senior Medical Center (Colerain Chamber member and care facility for seniors, 6121 Colerain Ave.) closes for the afternoon so that their staff can spread some love across the community for what they call Serving & Giving Day. During this day of service, their centers across the country volunteer over 12,000 hours to local communities. Their Mt. Airy staff participated in a team effort to clean up both sides of Colerain Avenue from Byrneside Drive to Banning Road. Six bags of trash and a wooden paneled door were removed from the parkway and sidewalks! Their teambuilding picture was taken at the base of their large billboard sign on Colerain Avenue.Where do we grow from here?
As the effort across Colerain continues to grow both through volunteer efforts and corporate initiatives, the community will slowly appear different visually. When that happens, our community becomes an even better place to live, work and play. Potential businesses and business owners will look at our community with an appealing eye, and themselves making an investment in Colerain. That will not only benefit other businesses in the community, but also offer more diversified products and services to our residents. This in turn makes our community respected among our peers across the greater Cincinnati area.