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Ohio EPA grant helps city with Recycling on High

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The city of Columbus is celebrating the success of its Recycling on High initiative.

And it's getting some help.

The Ohio EPA has given the city a $37,400 grant to implement the program, which is designed to increase glass collection at restaurants and bars on High Street between Broad Street and Lane Avenue.

"We wanted to raise awareness, especially because people are out and about more," said Heather Lauer, of the Ohio EPA. "On High Street there are more events."

Launched in January, the city has collected more than 87 million tons of glass -- 12 million more tons than the 75 million originally estimated, said Erin Miller, environmental steward for the city of Columbus.

The grant underwrote the entire cost of setting up the program, Miller said. It paid for containers, promotional items and collection of material, she said.

As of the middle of June, 31 bars and taverns were participating in the effort.

"It's going really well," Miller said. "We still have some containers left if more restaurants and bars would like to participate.

"We've heard very positive responses from the ones who are participating," she said.

Initially the participants were concerned they wouldn't be able to do it because of storage and staffing concerns.

"Once the program started, I think they were surprised how easy it was," Miller said.

Other bar and restaurant owners who want to participate may call 614-645-7671.

"We're very appreciative of (the) Ohio EPA's support and partnership," Miller said.

Lauer said the state has $1 million total to spend on glass recycling programs such as Recycling on High.

"The glass itself has value, but this helps the bars to put in the infrastructure," Lauer said. "Every community is a little bit different."

Because glass is so heavy, it is expensive to transport. So some communities can use the grant money to buy trucks to haul the glass to private companies that use the material in things such as fiberglass, Lauer said.

The Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio estimates glass accounts for 2 percent of waste in the Franklin County landfill, Lauer said.

"We'll do anything we can to take (glass) out of that stream if they (bars and restaurants) can get that to where it needs to be," she said.

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