Green Spot

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I Qualify for a Rebate?

Depending on your tax or municipal district you may qualify for a rebate on one of the following: rain barrel, compost bin or native plants and trees. Rain barrel rebates are available to all Franklin County residents.  Only City of Columbus, select participating communities and unincorporated Franklin County Township residents will be eligible for rebates on all other eligible items. Rebate eligibility is based on your primary  tax district.  If you live in a city, municipality or village that has combined boundaries, your primary tax district takes precedence and if not listed as a participating community, you would only be eligible for a rebate on the purchase of a rain barrel.

We will verify your information before we send out a "Voucher" for your rebate but if you want to make sure you are eligible before you participate call (614) 486-9613 to confirm or visit our participation page to find out more.

*Restrictions apply & rebates are only available while supplies last.

What items are eligible for a Rebate?

1. Rain Barrels: Any rain barrel with a diverter system (purchased separately or as part of unit) will be considered for reimbursement. Find out what a diverter system is through Earth Minded.

 2. Compost Bins: Only compost bins that are "closed bin", pre-fabricated units meant for outdoor use will be reimbursed. This will typically include tumblers and on-ground units. Reimbursements will not be applied to indoor composting units (vermicomposting or bokashi), homemade bins, or home-composting services such as Compost Columbus. If your unit does not come with a bottom, you may purchase one separately, or can rodent proof it yourself (DIY rodent proof bottoms are not eligible for part of the reimbursement cost):
 Rodent-Proof construction:

  • Construct out of ½” inch hardware cloth or welded wire
  • Cover vents with ¼” to ½” wire mesh
  • Use secure, tight-fitting lid
  • Prevent rats from burrowing under the compost. Suggestions:¼” to ½” wire mesh over a wooden pallet; dig out the soil and lay 3 to 4 inches of coarse gravel and ¼” to ½” galvanized hardware cloth; solid foundation of concrete or patio stones

3. Native Plants: Native perennials (plants that go dormant at the end of the growing season, but grow back every year), shrubs, grasses, and trees are highly recommended and preferred. We will NOT reimburse any cultivar/variety of an invasive plant species (such as purple loosestrife or Japanese barberry), annuals, or vegetables. See our Resource Guide for more information. 

4. Can I purchase an item from a friend or Craigslist? No, unfortunately we cannot reimburse you for items exchanged privately, items listed on a hand written receipt (unless purchased from a local company and proof of purchase can be verified) , or items purchased prior to the current year.

Is there a list of approved native plants and trees?

Native Trees: The City of Columbus does have a list of approved native trees that are eligible for the $100 rebate. You can find more information on the city's Branch Out program through their website.

Native Plants: There are many species and cultivars of native plants; because of this, it's hard to create a list of all the approved plant species. The easiest answer is this-We will NOT reimburse any invasive species, annuals or vegetables. While we do not have a list of all the approved native plants, we can offer a list of invasive species to avoid.

Many local nurseries carry native plants, grasses, shrubs and trees. All you have to do is ask for them!

Mosquito Alert!

Mosquitoes need standing water to breed and can breed in as little as 7 to 10 days. Rain barrels not properly installed or with open lids, can provide the perfect environment for them. Recommendations for reducing breeding sites include eliminating or emptying artificial water collection containers described as prime breeding spots for the mosquito species.

Be sure that you are not breeding mosquitos in your rain barrel by following these suggestions:

  • Install rain barrels with a professional rain barrel diverter kit, which will keep the openings between the lid and the barrel sealed and keep your rain barrel from overflowing.
  • Empty barrels on a regular basis after and/or before a rainfall to control mosquito breeding cycles.
  • Use Mosquito larvicide tablets such as Mosquito Dunks ® inside barrels as needed to assure the control of breeding and development.
  • Clean all gutters and downspouts. Leaves, twigs, seeds, and other organic matter will create a water dam in which mosquito larvae can grow.
  • Perform regular inspections of your system to make sure that there are no cracks or leaks, and that all fittings and seals around the valves are intact.
By taking these precautions, your properly protected rain barrels can actually help prevent unwanted mosquito breeding by eliminating the standing water which results from a heavy rainfall.

Have a mosquito problem? Request service from Franklin County Public Health by calling (614) 525-BITE (leave a message) or complete an online request.

Resource Guide

Other questions can be answered by Franklin Soil and Water staff by calling or emailing us below: