Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Businesses Recycle, But Look to City for More

By Craig Reck

The future of Athens' businesses could be much greener with the help of Athens City Council. Most of the bars and restaurants uptown frequented by Ohio University students produce heaps of waste daily. However, much of the waste is glass bottles and cardboard boxes that can be easily recycled.

Athens Uptown Business Association Chairman Thomas explains the uptown problem

Uptown Recycling
Andrew Shooker of the Ohio Enviornmental Protection Agency says that 22 million pounds of waste go to landfills a year, and half of it comes from homes and businesses. Approximately 60% of that half is recyclable material. With that fact in mind, the Athens Uptown Business Association wants to better the recycling outlets for stores around Court Street. Currently, they leave their recyclables on the curb.

This method may seem sufficient, but Josh Thomas, Chairman of the Athens Uptown Business Association, says there could be a better way. "Almost all the members of our business association would like to see the trash and recycling system get better, in one way or another," says Thomas.

City Council Help
For the past three years, the AUBA's approximately 40 members have been working with Athens City Council to find a better recycling method uptown.

AUBA Chairman Josh Thomas explains uptown's biggest concern

Councilmember Elahu Gosney says that curbside pickups can be difficult uptown. "There are things we can do better. We could do things to expand what we collect and how we collect it; long term change," says Gosney. Earlier this year, City Council proposed a centralized recycling center for Court Street Businesses. This would help businesses like Casa Nueva that leave large amounts of recyclables on the curb over night.


Chairman Thomas says that he is optimistic about the progress that is being made, but he realizes that a change this large will not happen over night. Until a plan is finalized, both Thomas and Councilmember Gosney say that the best way to improve recycling uptown is through education awareness.

AUBA Chairman says that improvements will take time

Recycling Tips
To help with uptown's recycling problem, the city of Athens' offers tips for recyclers. To find the various recyling centers for everything from batteries to furniture in your area, use the EPA's database.

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