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It's Raining Barrels!

It started with a call from Coca-Cola Syrup Plant Director Dan Schwyn to OhioBev asking if the association knew a better way to reuse old syrup barrels. Since the facility goes through thousands of these HDPE plastic barrels, Dan was very motivated to see them repurposed. Enter Keep Columbus Beautiful and Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther.

The city has an ambitious Green Plan and was looking for ways to provide rain barrels to homeowners, community gardens and other organizations to capture rainwater, prevent it from going into sewers and using it instead to water plants. Keep Columbus Beautiful Director Aryeh Alex saw Dan Schwyn’s old syrup barrels as great material for rain barrels.

OhioBev reached out to Coca-Cola Consolidated to help with conversion kits for the barrels and event support. Sustainability Director Todd Marty led a team of Consolidated volunteers, and the Columbus Rain Barrel Workshop Pilot Program was born. Additional partners joined including Columbus Greenspot, Sustainable Columbus and the Franklin County Soil and Water Conservation District.

On Saturday March 18, the pilot program kicked off with 100 barrels, conversion kits, lunch and expert instructions on how to turn the barrels into a backyard masterpiece. Columbus Mayor Ginther joined the fun, praising the idea of turning unwanted materials into an item that conserves water, feeds plants and keeps useful materials out of landfills.

Since the event, the Coca-Cola team, OhioBev and Keep Columbus Beautiful has begun planning for the Columbus Rain Barrel Program 2.0 since the pilot effort was a huge success.

Coca-Cola North America also supplied barrels for the Keep Hilliard Beautiful Earth Day Rain Barrel Initiative which included students from Hilliard City Schools, the Hilliard Arts Council and Franklin County Soil and Water Conservation District. This event unleashed students’ creativity as they decorated the newly repurposed syrup barrels.


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