Bars’ recycling efforts unknown, managers decline to comment
Published: Monday, October 15, 2012
Updated: Monday, April 22, 2013 19:04
LaTonalteca manager Luis Juarez said the restaurant gives many bottled drinks to their customers, but they do not go through as many as other Main Street bars and restaurants in a given weekend.
“We only go through around 24 to 36 bottles on a typical night, but that’s because we are mostly a restaurant,” Juarez said.
La Tonalteca declined to comment on whether they recycle their bottles, however. Grotto Pizza, Kildare’s Irish Pub, Catherine Rooney’s and Klondike Kate’s Restaurant and Bar also declined to comment on the issue.
Jim Short, a representative from the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, said the state of Delaware’s recycling rates historically lags behind other states. He said the state used to give monetary incentives, but, even then, restaurants minimally recycled.
Consumers of glass bottles and aluminum cans in Delaware could return their used products for a 5-cent deposit, Short said. However, the state government ended the legislation in 2010.
“Even with the old 5-cent bottle deposit refund, there weren’t big gains in recycling,” Short said. “It was mainly just to keep trash off the streets. There was still no mandate for the retailer to recycle the bottles after they were returned, and they often got thrown out anyway.”
According to Short, when the bottle deposit bill ended, the government passed new legislation to create statewide curbside recycling programs, which distributors and retailers funded by paying a new 4-cent tax on glass bottles. He said this removed the incentive for retailers, such as local bars, to recycle, but he hoped to increase the amount of residents who recycle at home.
Karen Steele, manager of Timothy’s of Newark, said they recycle food scraps and cardboard, however, she finds it is difficult to recycle other materials.
“We recycle all food, paper,” Steele said. “We recycle everything except for glass and plastic.”
Even though customers use plastic and glass in the restaurant, Steele said they do not recycle because her waste provider, Suburban Waste, does not provide a dumpster for collecting those materials.
Eric Garwood, daytime manager of Homegrown Café, said the restaurant recycles everything from glass and aluminum to food scraps left on plates. He said their commitment to the environment is part of the reason people come to their establishment.
“We do a lot of local and sustainable things,” Garwood said. “That image we create does probably make people come in.”
He said he is responsible for ensuring his employees recycle properly to benefit the environment.
“We do produce a lot of waste in this industry,” Garwood said. “It just makes more sense to recycle it then to put it all into a landfill.”
Garwood said in order to effectively recycle, he and his employees separate materials into different containers and track how much is being thrown away. Afterward, they place all of it into their recycling dumpster that the city provides and empties.
He said the process is not costly but can confuse his employees at times. Initially, workers thought recycling was cumbersome, but now they see it as just another part of the job, he said.