Bars and restaurants are an everyday part of city life. They have a high public profile making them a great forum for increasing public awareness about the importance of recycling. Serving food and beverages all day everyday results in the continual production of waste and recyclable materials. Like venues of all sizes within a city, there is potential for an effective recycling plan to help reduce waste disposal costs for bars and restaurants. This reduction in business costs, along with potentially generating revenue through recycling, can help increase profit margins; an essential component of a successful local business.
Local-level ordinances requiring all businesses within a city to recycle can be very effective. Under such ordinances, all businesses must submit a recycling plan to the administering city agency as part of their operations. Cities can also provide a host of useful services to aid restaurants and bars in implementing recycling plans. Businesses should be made aware of the various waste and recycling hauling options that are available to them. Bars and restaurants can take their recycling to municipal drop-off centers, use a curbside pickup (sometimes for a fee and sometimes free of charge depending on local ordinances and resources), or hire a private recycling hauler. Information sharing is another key role for cities in this relationship. City websites providing extensive info regarding local recycling resources and guidelines can be very helpful. Local-level governments can also create a city-level green businesses certification process to encourage the implementation of such environmentally positive practices as recycling.
Partnerships that involve other stakeholders along with local governments and local businesses are essential for implementing successful recycling plans for local businesses. It is important to involve county and state departments focused on conservation and the environment in local projects and to utilize federal level legislation to shape project characteristics and outcomes. State grants can be a strong source of funding for project components including basic logistical needs such as indoor recycling bins and larger outdoor containers. There are also many environmental non-profits and professional recycling consultants that can share best practices with local-level governments. Private companies can also be useful partners in recycling plan implementation. Broad Ripple Village, a commercial district in Indianapolis has implemented a glass recycling program where bars and restaurants are being provided with indoor bins paid for by grant money from the Coca-Cola Co./National Recycling Coalition Recycling Bin Grant Program.
Considering that a public focus on environmental awareness and carbon footprint reduction continues to grow rapidly, it is important that bars and restaurants illustrate a connection to these concerns through implementing comprehensive recycling plans. Positive public perception and satisfaction is central to their businesses’ success. An effective recycling plan will utilize both customers and employees in waste reduction. Bars and restaurants must properly label their receptacles and draw attention to bins for both customers in the dining room or lounge area and employees in the kitchen or behind the bar. It is also important to clearly distinguish indoor containers from trash cans through traits like color and design. Making recycling guidelines a part of employee training helps reinforce the business’ recycling plan. If a bar or restaurant is starting a new recycling plan, they should check with their waste hauler to see if the hauler provides recycling services and potentially renegotiate their contract. When it comes to storage of recyclable material, smaller restaurants or bars can share resources like an outside recycling container. Make sure that there are open lines of communication between local businesses and waste or recycling haulers about appropriate recyclable materials guidelines.