Green Spot

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I qualify for a rebate?

Depending on your tax or municipal district you may qualify for one $50 rebate on one of the following: rain barrel, compost bin, native plants and trees, or soil test. In select participating communities only, you may qualify for a $100 reimbursement on the purchase of native trees only. (This offer is a special offer funded by the City of Columbus, New Albany and Plain Township for residents of these communities. Not all participants will qualify for the $100 rebate offer.)

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.
Once you participate, we will verify your eligibility through the Franklin County Auditor and send you a "voucher" listing eligible rebate items. 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 available one per year per eligible Franklin County address. Rebates are only available while funds last for each community.

What items are eligible for a rebate?

Eligibility for rebates are dependent on your primary tax district and your eligible rebate items will be listed on your voucher. If the item is listed on your voucher, fits the specifications listed below for each item, and is purchased from a licensed retailer, it will be approved for reimbursement.  

1. Rain Barrels: 
Any enclosed 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). Click here to find out how to rodent proof your compost bin & tips on keeping rats out.

3. Native Plants & Trees: 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 and will always be reimbursed. We will NOT reimburse any cultivar/variety of an invasive plant species (such as purple loosestrife or Japanese barberry), annuals, or vegetables. Click here for our non-native, invasive species list for purchases we will not reimburse. See our Resource Guide for more information on native plants. 

4. Soil Tests: We are now reimbursing residents for completing a soil test on your property to help promote proper lawn care in Franklin County. Soil Tests can be purchased from any company or lab and will be reimbursed with proper receipt and copy of completed test.

Where can I purchase eligible rebate items?

There are two different ways to receive a rebate on an eligible item: Receive an immediate discount form a local participating retailer or purchase an approved item from a licensed online or larger retailer and submit your purchase for reimbursement.

To help get your started, visit our retailer guide which lists our participating local retailers and some of last years go-to larger retailers that sell eligible items. You are not required to purchase an item from a local participating retailer, you may purchase an eligible item from ANY licensed retailer of your choosing as long as it fits the criteria for an approved eligible item.

Please note:
We cannot reimburse you for DIY project costs, items purchased from craiglist, items listed on a hand written receipt or exchanged privately between two parties. Only items purchased from a licensed retailers with receipts that contain retailers name, location, date, receipt number, name of items and purchase amount will be accepted. 

Is there a list of approved native plants and trees?

There are many species and cultivars of native plants, shrubs, and trees at local nurseries; because of this, it's hard to create a list of all the approved plant species.  And while we strongly encourage participants to only plant native plants, shrubs, and trees, the vast majority of exotic plants- including some of our garden favorites-arent invasive. So as long as your purchase is not listed on our Non-Native, Invasive Species List (aka DO-NOT-PLANT list!), your purchase will be reimbursed.

The City of Columbus does have a preferred list of Native Trees that are eligible for the $100 rebate. If you are eligible for the $100 tree and plan on purchasing trees, please select a tree from their recommended native tree list. You can find more information, like where to plant a tree, on the city's Branch Out website.

Please Note: We will NOT reimburse any invasive species, annuals or vegetables.

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

Can I submit a reimbursement for an item I purchased in a previous year?

No, because the program is open to yearly participation, we cannot reimburse you for items purchased prior to the current year of participation.

Does my voucher expire?

Yes, vouchers do have an expiration date after 60 days. The reason vouchers expire is to give other residents an opportunity to participate in the program throughout the year. Without expiration dates, the program would hit our max numbers for each community very early on. The expiration dates encourage residents to install a conservation practice and take advantage of the rebate program sooner rather than later.

Because we offer yearly participation, vouchers will not roll over from year to year and unused vouchers may not be used the following year but all residents are able to participate in the program again to receive a new voucher for the year.