Recycling in bars, restaurants makes big impact in first year

CINCINNATI — “Tom+Chee co-owner Corey Ward was baffled last year when a Rumpke representative told him they couldn’t supply recycling services to his grilled cheese and tomato soup shop on East Court Street.

‘Every beverage we serve comes in plastic or glass,’ Ward said. ‘We had customers asking if we recycled. We’d have to say ‘Sorry, we don’t.’

His team considered driving the reusable garbage to a public recycling drop-off near the Main Library. Then they learned about the Bar & Restaurant Recycling Program through the Hamilton County Recycling and Solid Waste District.

‘Rumpke does offer recycling,’ said Michelle Balz, community outreach coordinator who runs the waste district project. ‘But sometimes there’s a communication breakdown.’

So she walked Tom+Chee through the process of setting up recycling, and today the shop that started in a tent on Fountain Square (and found fame in the form of bacon grilled cheese sandwiches topped with BBQ chips and grilled cheese donuts) recycles enough plastic, glass and cardboard to fill a standard-sized six-person hot tub once a month.”

— Carrie Whitaker, Cincinnati Enquirer

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