Green Spot

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I qualify for a rebate?

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. Each individual municipality decides what rebates their residents are eligible for and how many rebates are available each year. We have no control over it. When a city, municipality or village has combined boundaries, the primary tax district takes precedence. 

What you are eligible for based on your home's tax district: 

Tax District

Rain Barrel

Native Trees & Shrubs

Native Perennials

Compost Bin*

Columbus

$50 Rebate

$50 Rebate

$25 Rebate

Purchase a special SWACO On-the-Ground Compost Bin for $30 (value $100+)

Bexley, Canal Winchester, Dublin, 

Gahanna, Grandview, 

Grove City, Hilliard, 

Reynoldsburg, Upper Arlington, Westerville, Worthington, and Franklin County Townships 

$50 Rebate

$50 Rebate 

$25 Rebate

Purchase a special SWACO On-the-Ground Compost Bin for $30 (value $100+) 


- OR - 


$50 Rebate 

Obetz

$50 Rebate

$50 Rebate

$50 Rebate

Purchase a special SWACO On-the-Ground Compost Bin for $30 (value $100+) 

- OR - 

$50 Rebate 

New Albany

$50 Rebate

$50 Rebate Shrubs - OR -

$100 Rebate Trees 

$50 Rebate

Purchase a special SWACO On-the-Ground Compost Bin for $30 (value $100+) 

- OR - 

$50 Rebate 


What items are eligible for a rebate?

What you are eligible for based on your home's tax district: 

Tax District

Rain Barrel

Native Trees & Shrubs

Native Perennials

Compost Bin*

Columbus

$50 Rebate

$50 Rebate

$25 Rebate

Purchase a special SWACO On-the-Ground Compost Bin for $30 (value $100+)

Bexley, Canal Winchester, Dublin, 

Gahanna, Grandview, 

Grove City, Hilliard, 

Reynoldsburg, Upper Arlington, Westerville, Worthington, and Franklin County Townships 

$50 Rebate

$50 Rebate 

$25 Rebate

Purchase a special SWACO On-the-Ground Compost Bin for $30 (value $100+) 


- OR - 


$50 Rebate 

Obetz

$50 Rebate

$50 Rebate

$50 Rebate

Purchase a special SWACO On-the-Ground Compost Bin for $30 (value $100+) 

- OR - 

$50 Rebate 

New Albany

$50 Rebate

$50 Rebate Shrubs - OR -

$100 Rebate Trees 

$50 Rebate

Purchase a special SWACO On-the-Ground Compost Bin for $30 (value $100+) 

- OR - 

$50 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 installed (purchased separately or as part of unit) will be considered for reimbursement. Find out what a diverter system is through Earth Minded. We will NOT reimburse any models with a cut downspout or an open lid. 

 2. Compost Bins*: Only compost bins that are a "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, kitchen compost bins, or home-composting services such as Compost Columbus. If your unit does not come with a bottom, you can purchase one separately or can rodent proof it yourself. Click here to find out how to rodent proof your compost bin and tips on how to keep rodents out. If you purchase the SWACO compost bin, it is an automatic rebate because the bin meets all the requirements! 

  • *City of Columbus Residents - you are only eligible for the discounted SWACO compost bin this year. Quantity is limited and subject to availability. 
  • As of 9/9/2022, we are SOLD OUT of the SWACO Compost Bins for the rest of the year. We will likely have more next year in 2023. Sorry! To receive notifications for when the program opens next year, please sign up for othe Community Backyards email list.

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 or 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:

  1. Receive an immediate discount from a local participating retailer. 
  2. Or purchase an approved item from a licensed online or larger retailer and submit for reimbursement. 

To help get you 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, legitimate retailer of your choosing as long as it fits the criteria for an eligible item and the receipt is itemized. 

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 so 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. We strongly encourage participants to only plant Ohio native plants, shrubs, and trees for their amazing root systems and ecological benefits to native pollinators and wildlife. However, many non-native 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. Some nurseries sepcialize in native plants. All you have to do is ask! 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 calendar year of participation. 

 Resource Guide

We will be updating this page this coming winter. Stay tuned for more resources and updates!

Native Plants & Trees



Native plants are incredibly beneficial at providing food and shelter for wildlife and at capturing rainwater. They are very adaptable and resilient once established. Many of the following websites have resources on native plants. 
  • Native, YES List: Franklin Soil & Water has a short (not comprehensive) list of native plant suggestions that we commonly see for sale in local nurseries. It is not comprehensive and just gets you started with shopping for native plants. Any of these plants listd on the Native, YES List will automatically be approved for a rebate.
  • PlantNative: PlantNative is dedicated to moving native plants and naturescaping into mainstream landscaping practices. This list includes Ohio native trees, shrubs, perennials, and ferns, their sun and soil conditions, size, and a brief description. 
  • Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center: Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center has a great search and filter tool that you can use to find Ohio native plants based on your yard's conditions, desired sizes, colors, bloom times, and more. 
  • Midwest Native Plant Society: The Midwest Native Plant Society has resources about native plants that promote wildlife and biodiversity. They also have a pledge and sign program where you can take a pledge and purchase a native plant sign to educate your neighbors about your native plant gardening! 
  • Plant Your Trees Right: You have found your next native tree. Now let's make sure you plant it right so it has the best chance of survival. Check out these tips from Franklin Soil and Water on how to plant your trees right. 

Invasive Species


May be an image of text that says 'Instead of... Japanese Barberry Plant... Sweet SweetShrub Shrub'

We do not support or recommend any invasive species. Invasive species are non-native plants that outcompete native plants. They cause harm to the environment, economy, and/or human health. They can easily take over an area, subsequently taking away food and habitat from native wildlife. They can even promote non-native or invasive pests and insects. They can also hurt our crop and food production. Because of this, we will NOT REIMBURSE any invasive species or their cultivars. We encourage residents to do their research before purchasing and planting any and all plants to ensure they are not invasive or potentially invasive. Many non-native plants for sale are intentionally or unintentionally named to be confusing or misleading. Always check the common name AND the botanical/Latin name before purchasing. Just because it hasn't taken over your yard does NOT mean it will not escape and potentially take over a natural area. 
  • Invasive, Do-Not-Pant List: We will NOT provide reimbursement for any of the invasive species listed on our Invasive, Do-Not-Plant List, including cultivars of those listed (i.e. Butterfly Bush and any cultviars like 'Miss Molly'). This is a list we created using multiple resources and consulting experts. These are plants that are known to be invasive or potentially concerning in Ohio and surrounding states. We reserve the right to deny any reimbursements submitted for any plants or cultivars of plants listed on the Invasive, Do-Not-Plant List! 
  • Ohio Invasive Plants Council: The Ohio Invasive Plants Council is a coalition of agencies, organizations, and individuals throughout Ohio concerned about the introduction, spread, and control of invasive, non-native plants in Ohio's natural habitats. They have resources, working groups, and events working to combat invasive species. 
  • OAC 901:5-30-01 Invasive Plant Species: The Ohio Administrative Code (OAC) designates 38 species as invasive. These listed species are illegal to sell or propogate or distribute in the state of Ohio. One of the newest editions to this list is Callery Pear aka Bradford Pear. 

We refer to the Ohio Invasive Plants Council (OIPC), the Ohio Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), and the Midwest Invasive Plants Council (MIPC) for plants not eligible for reimbursement.

Composting