Bars and restaurants located in the urban core of Columbus are being asked to join a one-year pilot recycling program.
July 1, Columbus City Council approved Recycling on High, which seeks participation from 40 bars and restaurants along High Street from Broad Street to Lane Avenue.
The initiative, made possible by a $37,500 grant through the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, will seek to determine whether there is sufficient interest in the service.
Over the next couple of weeks, the city and the OEPA both must sign off on contracts to allow the process to move forward.
The city will roll out the program in August, when it installs new pedestrian recycling containers in the pilot area.
Participating businesses will be given as many 64-gallon recycling carts, as well as "slim jim" containers for behind the bar, as they need.
Collections will be made along High Street three times a week. There is no cost to join the pilot, said Erin Miller, environmental steward for Columbus.
The program, which is being launched this year in many Ohio cities, essentially seeks to collect glass, although aluminum beer cans and plastic bottles will be accepted.
Miller said city officials estimate that 40 bars in the service area are generating about 150 tons of glass per week.
Collin Castore, owner of Bodega in the Short North, said he's joining the pilot program.
He said Rumpke, the local recycling hauler, charges Bodega about $150 a month to take away 500 to 600 wine and beer bottles on a weekly basis. That price includes seven recycling containers.
Castore likes the idea of more frequent collection and fewer receptacles. "That's going to save so much space," he said.
The state's major glass manufacturers are experiencing a glass shortage, said Chet Chaney, grants administrator for the OEPA.
"There's a shortage for a number of reasons," Chaney said. "One is the infrastructure to collect and process the material in Ohio has not been developed to the point that it meets the demand."
So, the agency has invested $500,000 in improvements to a glass-processing unit at Rumpke's Dayton plant and is working with waste haulers to better equip their facilities to take glass out of the waste stream, Chaney said.
Three companies will benefit from the improved recycling endeavor: Owens Illinois, which makes glass food containers, and Owens Corning and Johns Manville, both of which make insulation, Chaney said.
The companies are donating resources, too, Chaney said.
For example, Owens Illinois has provided engineering staff and time to ensure the equipment is being properly installed at the Dayton facility, he said.
The hope is to begin a citywide program for bars and restaurants, which will be charged a fee, Miller said.
"We are hoping that after the pilot program they will see the value and continue and eventually pay for the collection in the future," she said.