Columbus To Launch Free Recycling For Some Short North Bar Owners

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A cold beer on a hot day may sound appealing, but when the bottle's empty, what's next?  

Starting next month in the Short North, the answer will be to recycle it.

The city of Columbus is about to launch a program that will help some bar and restaurant owners and keep tons of glass out of the landfill.

A young man backed a dolly loaded with three boxes of bottled liquor into the Bodega Café in the Short North.  

Bottles of many shapes and sizes covered the shelves behind the bar.  When the bottles are emptied, they go first into a container beneath the bar and then a large waste can out back.

"I know from my own experience, bars do generate a lot of bottle waste," said Collin Castore.

He started the bar eight years ago. He also pays a private company to recycle all the glass.

"It's probably a total of 500-700 bottles a week, and to recycle, it costs us about $200 a month," he said.

But starting next month, recycling won't cost him a cent.  

Castore is one of a dozen bar and restaurant owners who has signed up for pilot program started by Columbus City Council.  

Recycling on High will allow up to 40 bars and restaurants on High Street from Broad to Lane, to have glass and cans picked up for recycling three times a week.  

Councilwoman Eileen Paley says it's an extension of the residential recycling program, one promised to voters before they passed the last tax levy.

"This is our one-year anniversary and it's been really productive. So we want to expand that. And what better to do that than to go commercial with it?" Paley said.

The Recycling on High program will be paid for with a grant of $37,500 from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.  Paley said recycling helps the environment and keeps material out of the landfill, so the city can use it longer.

"I want it to be the cleanest city in the country.  And I want to save the landfill for the future," she said.

Castore said that he's talked to other bar owners, who also like the idea.

"I think it's going to be a big hit for the neighborhood," he added.

The Recycling on High program starts next month and runs through March.  The city is still signing up participants.

If the recycling program goes well, after next March, it may be expanded, Paley said.

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