Current Projects and Resources Leadership Service Members Partners and Sponsors

Rural Action’s Zero Waste program promotes the development of a zero-waste economy. In a zero-waste economy, product development prioritizes conservation of natural resources, product design incorporates ways to facilitate and encourage post-consumer reuse, repair, recycling, or composting, and all discards become assets that benefit the people, the planet, and the local economy. We support this ideal through general education about waste reduction & recycling, waste assessments of facilities, schools and organizations, zero waste events, social entrepreneurship, and the implementation of the Athens-Hocking Zero Waste Action Plan.

Whether you’re planning a family reunion or a major business meeting, Rural Action’s Zero Waste program is here to support and educate you. Reuse. Recycle. Compost. Repair. Let us help you minimize your impact on the planet.

Current Projects

Zero Waste Events & Guide

Everyone is talking about Zero Waste. Here’s your chance to do something about it. This event guide is a resource for organizations or individuals planning any event: from a small family gathering to a festival or conference. The goal of this guide is to help you reduce environmental impact, increase cost-effectiveness, and raise awareness about waste reduction. See our other resources like our reusable dishware and clearstream rentals to help you bring your zero waste event to the next level!

Zero Waste Pledge

The Zero Waste Pledge helps businesses, schools, and organizations achieve their zero waste goals by working one-on-one with them to identify waste production and ways to reduce it. Taking the Pledge shows that you’re committed to using resources wisely, increasing environmental consciousness, and supporting the local economy through waste reduction, reuse, recycling, and composting.

The Zero Waste Action Plan for Athens and Hocking Counties aims to provide a unified vision and path for a robust waste management system that will enable Athens and Hocking counties to work towards becoming a zero-waste economy.

Mobile Hard-to-Recycle Material Collection Events

Do you have items that you want to recycle but are not accepted at drop off locations or curbside recycling? Bring it to one of our mobile hard to recycle events! These events happen throughout the year across the region. We collect hard-to-recycle items such as electronic waste, books, clothes, mattresses and box springs, rechargeable batteries, medical equipment, and scrap metal. Accepted items may depend on your county guidelines. Have something you aren’t sure what to do with? Give us a call or email!

Medical Donation Program

Reusing and repurposing items and materials is one of the cornerstones of a Zero Waste economy. Medical supplies and equipment stand out in this regard as there are hundreds of possible recipients who could benefit greatly from the medical equipment that is donated through our program, while the medical and insurance systems produce excess medical waste.

Recycling Ambassador Program

Rural Action’s Zero Waste Program offers a 6 week course this year in Athens, Ohio beginning on March 4, 2024 to provide education on waste prevention, waste management, recycling, reusing, and composting topics. Along with this free educational course is a chance to volunteer with Zero Waste Program to earn the certification of Recycling Ambassador.


DIY Composting Webinar

Did you miss our compositing webinar? Never fear! We recorded it so you can view this free class on the benefits, effectiveness, and joy of backyard composting! Learn how to easily turn your refuse into a resource through backyard composting or curbside compost pick-up. Your home’s garden and flower beds will thank you in the spring!

Reusable Dishware

In an effort to help reduce waste, Rural Action will loan organizations and individuals plastic, reusable plates, bowls, and cups, a full set of cutlery and three washtub bins. This service is free with a refundable deposit. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation in making sure that all items borrowed are returned clean, sanitized, and in perfect working condition.

Medical Supplies Request Form

The team at Rural Action Zero Waste cares about our community and wants to help by providing free essential medical supplies. We have a variety of items available, including used medical equipment like wheel chairs, walkers, and crutches, as well as sealed items like bandages and incontinence underwear. All items are offered ‘as is’.

Can This Be Recycled?

How many times have you stood over the recycling bin wondering if something is recyclable? Check out our list of materials with details on if and how they can be recycled with Athens-Hocking Recycling Centers. Outside the Athens-Hocking Recycling Centers’ service area? Contact your local solid waste district or recycling hauler with questions about what is able to be recycled in your area!


Clearstream Bin Reservation

Interested in making your events a little more green? Now, you can! By reserving our Clearstream bins for your event, you can easily help your guests make environmentally conscious decisions with their waste during the event with easy-to-set-up waste, compost, and recycling bins. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation in making sure that all items borrowed are returned clean, sanitized, and in perfect working condition.


Zero Waste Event Productions
Zero Waste Event Productions began as an initiative in the Zero Waste program and now is a standalone social enterprise that helped 40 festivals in 11 states divert more than 58 tons of material diverted from landfills in 2019. And they’re just getting started!

Reuse Corridor
The reuse corridor is a coalition of businesses, individual stakeholders and communities throughout central Appalachia who are building a market around reuse, upcycling and recycling.

The Athens County Land Bank
The partnership between the Zero Waste program and the Athens County Land Bank is a prime example of local organizations working together toward a better future for our county and our region. The Athens County Land Bank was established in 2018 to address the issue of blight and dilapidation in communities throughout Athens County. By seeking ownership and redevelopment of vacant, tax delinquent, and blighted properties, the Land Bank has the potential to serve as one significant tool in the economic development toolbox available to county and regional leaders.

Appalachian Ohio Zero Waste Initiative
The partnership created between Rural Action and the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Service has allowed for the creation of the Appalachian Ohio Zero Waste Initiative. By partnering together, AOZWI helps create zero-waste infrastructure, supports local businesses, and seeks to make a zero waste economy a reality.


Aaron Dye

Aaron Dye

Land Bank Manager, Athens County Land Bank


National Service Members

Each year, Rural Action mobilizes more than 35 energetic and passionate people across the region to help small communities do big things through our Leadership Development and Service program. Our National Service members serve in communities through a yearlong commitment as part of our Appalachian Ohio Restore Corps, an AmeriCorps State/National program administered by Rural Action, or our through our AmeriCorps VISTA program, Rural Renewal. See members who are currently serving with Rural Action here or learn more about how we are growing local leaders here.

Partners and Sponsors

Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs
Athens-Hocking Recycling Centers
Athens County Foundation
The Sugar Bush Foundation
USDA – Rural Utilities Service
ReUse Cooridor

Whether you’re planning a family reunion or a major business meeting, Rural Action’s Zero Waste program is here to support and educate you. Reuse. Recycle. Compost. Repair. Let us help you minimize your impact on the planet.