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City, EPA and High Street Partner Up to Recycle Glass

Jesse Bethea Jesse Bethea City, EPA and High Street Partner Up to Recycle GlassRumpke Recycling Facility — Photo by Walker Evans.
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High Street has recycled more than 87 tons of glass since the beginning of 2014, thanks to a new Ohio EPA program.

Recycling on High, paid for in part by a grant from Ohio’s Environmental Protection Agency, encourages businesses along High Street to recycle glass bottles for future use in the glassmaking process. Ohio EPA estimates that the state discards about 517,000 tons of glass every year, the vast majority of which ends up in landfills.

The purpose of programs like Recycling on High is to save discarded glass from the landfills to be used as cullet. Cullet is the name given to small pieces of recycled glass added to the glassmaking process in order to lower the melting point of the newly manufactured glass and ease the process along. Adding cullet reduces the energy required to manufacture new glass, lowering costs and minimizing environmental impact.

“In 2013, Ohio EPA committed to spend up to $1 million to recover more recycled glass and implement a voluntary bar and restaurant recycling program statewide,” said Carol Hester, of the Ohio EPA Public Interest Center, in an email.

The City of Columbus is taking advantage of the grant by partnering with the Rumpke waste disposal company and 34 businesses including Surly Girl Saloon, Rigsby’s Kitchen, Whit’s Frozen Custard and Newport Music Hall. Because the bars and restaurants of High Street generally discard large amounts of glass in the form of bottles and jars, they provide a great opportunity for recycling.

According to Hester, the participating businesses “have the satisfaction of knowing they’ve ‘greened up’ their venue,” and the EPA has provided procedure guide for High Street businesses to follow if they are taking part in the program.

“The High Street participants have been very enthusiastic,” said Hester. “We’d like to see more join the program, not just on High Street but in cities all over Ohio.”

For more information, visit www.recyclecolumbus.org.

For ongoing discussion on recycling in Columbus, CLICK HERE to visit our Messageboard.

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