Green Spot

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I qualify for a rebate?

Most Franklin County, Ohio residents can receive a rebate after taking our short online backyard conservation quiz or attending an in-person class. Purchases must meet eligibility requirements, and we must receive a valid receipt and photo of installation. Where you live determines what you qualify for. Our program allows one $50 rebate per household on one of the following: rain barrel, compost bin, or native trees/shrubs, or $25 on native perennials. 

Rain barrel and compost bin rebates are available to all Franklin County residents. Only the City of Columbus, additional participating cities, and unincorporated Franklin County township residents receive rebates on native plants and trees. When a city, municipality or village has combined boundaries, the primary tax district takes precedence. 

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. Vermicomposting indoor units will now also be approved. Reimbursements will not be applied to DIY homemade bins, bokashi, 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 and 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, Japanese Barberry, and Butterfly Bush), annuals, vegetables, herbs, aquatics or seeds. Click here for our non-native, Invasive Species, Do-Not-Plant list for purchases we will NOT reimburse. See our Resource Guide for more information on native plants. 

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 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 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 legitimate retailer 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?

Short Answer: All plant purchases will be approved as long as it's not: an annual, vegetable, herb, aquatic plant, or seed purchase, and most importantly, is NOT listed on our DO-NOT-PLANT Non-Native, Invasive Species List!

Long Answer: 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. While we strongly encourage participants to only plant Ohio native plants, shrubs, and trees, the vast majority of exotic plants, including some garden favorites, aren't invasive. As long as your purchase is not listed on our Non-Native, Invasive Species List (aka DO-NOT-PLANT list!), or an annual, vegetable, herb, aquatic, or seed, your purchase will be reimbursed.

Many local nurseries carry native perennials, grasses, shrubs and trees. All you have to do is ask for them! Unfortunately, we do not have any control over the type of plants nurseries carry, so make sure to double check your purchase is not listed on our Non-Native, Invasive Species List (aka DO-NOT-PLANT list) before you buy!

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

No, we cannot reimburse you for items purchased prior to the current year of participation. All Items must be purchased within the same year of participation in order to receive reimbursement.

Does my voucher expire?

Yes, vouchers expire after 30 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. Unused vouchers may not be used the following year. Participation would be required again to receive a new voucher for the current year.