Nearly three dozen N. High Street bars and restaurants have been participating since the start of the year in a glass-recycling program that state and city officials hope to expand. The pilot program, which stretches from Lane Avenue to Broad Street, is collecting 3 to 4 tons of glass for recycling each week.
June 11, 2014
Nearly three dozen N. High Street bars and restaurants have been participating since the start of the year in a glass-recycling program that state and city officials hope to expand.
The pilot program, which stretches from Lane Avenue to Broad Street, is collecting 3 to 4 tons of glass for recycling each week.
Organizers hope the effort sets an example for other local businesses.
"Part of it's just getting the bar and restaurant owners to realize it's not a burden on them, that it's not a real pain to separate the materials inside and take them out to the curb," said Craig Butler, Ohio EPA director. "Show them it's easy, show them they can do it without spending a bunch of money, and then they kind of start knocking on your door."
Experts said the need is obvious. Of the glass used by Ohioans, about 90 percent ends up in a landfill, which means the state produces 27,000 tons of glass waste a year, making up 2.7 percent of all landfill content.
Some of the High Street businesses participating in "Recycling on High" are Barley's Brewing Co., Bodega, Short North Tavern, Whit's Frozen Custard, Newport Music Hall and the Donatos near the Ohio State University campus.
The program is funded through a one-year Ohio Environmental Protection Agency grant of $37,000 for the city of Columbus, part of a $1 million statewide grant.
The grants help cities offset the cost of implementing the program, Ohio EPA spokesman Chris Abbruzzese said.
In Columbus, money has been used to purchase black recycling carts for participating businesses, stickers to advertise participation and other similar items, said Leslie Strader, environmental-policy adviser for the city of Columbus.
The items for recycling are picked up by Rumpke, which takes the glass to a plant on Fields Avenue, where it is sorted by size and color and broken into smaller pieces by machine. The glass is then sent to a Rumpke plant in Dayton that distributes the glass to companies that use it to make products such as bottles or fiberglass insulation, company spokesman Jonathan Kissell said.
The city doesn't pay Rumpke for its part in the program because it was worked into Columbus' contract with the company, which is only making a few extra stops along an established route, Strader said.
The N. High Street area was chosen because there were already pedestrian recycling containers and trash cans set up there, said Terrie TerMeer, an administrator with the Ohio EPA.
Other areas of Ohio are getting involved, including a large program in Hamilton County. Locally, Dublin businesses will be next in line to be offered the program, TerMeer said.
Of all of the glass being recycled by Rumpke statewide, 90 percent is coming from residential customers.
"We need to change that," said Steve Sargent, director of recycling for Rumpke, of the need to get business customers involved with glass recycling.