Local bars, restaurants deal with costs of recycling

Some campus-area bars choose not to recycle due to higher costs and less convenience.

by Joy Petersen

While campus-area bars go through hundreds of recyclable bottles of alcohol each weekend night, the final destination of those empty bottles isn’t always a recycling plant.

Allied Waste, a large waste-management company, provides trash- and recycling-removal service for many campus-area restaurants and bars, including Stub & Herb’s and The Dinkytowner.

Rich Hirstein, the municipal service manager at Allied Waste, said the company provides recycling removal for restaurants and bars. Businesses put recyclables in one bin and Allied Waste sorts them at Minneapolis’ recyclery.

“We don’t sort the waste, we just sort the recyclables,” he said. “Nobody does that.”

Businesses benefit from using recycling services because there are fewer fees associated with handling recycling, Hirstein said.

“The taxes in the state of Minnesota are applied to trash service, but not to recycling service,” he said, “so there’s a further incentive for companies to do more recycling versus just trash (and) not recycling.”

Stub & Herb’s co-owner Josh Zavadil said the bar recycles through Allied Waste.

Although it’s a little more expensive, Zavadil said the cost is worth it since it is important for a business to recycle.

“It’s worth it because it would take our staff a lot of time to separate it,” he said.

Patrons of the business are likely unaware of its waste management practices, he said.

“If they were watching they would think we would just throw it all away,” Zavadil said, because everything is thrown into bins next to the garbage bins.

In Dinkytown, The Dinkytowner owner Kyle McCarty said patrons aren’t concerned with the bar’s recycling habits.

“As a whole, college kids just like cheap drinks,” McCarty said.

McCarty said the business, which goes through 300 to 400 bottles a weekend night, recycled in the past but doesn’t anymore.

He also said it hasn’t been something he’s been asked about recently.

Many bars and restaurants have differing practices for handling recyclables.

Blarney Pub and Grill manager Adam Lanoue said the bar doesn’t recycle because its garbage company was charging too much.

He also said it wouldn’t provide a larger container for recycling pickup; recycling that little wouldn’t be the economical choice, he said.

Blarney shares its trash pickup with other businesses in the area, including its neighbor, The Dinkytowner.

Mark Habben, owner of the West Bank’s Sgt. Preston’s, purchased the bar three weeks ago and said since then, he hasn’t really had time to think about recycling practices.

“The employees have their practices set in place,” he said.

The business shares recycling bins with others on the block, and Habben said it makes an effort to recycle.

Steph Bakkum, a retail merchandising senior, said she knows students recycle but hadn’t thought about the bars she patronizes.

If bars would have separate bins for recyclables, she said it would be easier for them to recycle.

“I care, personally,” Bakkum said, “but I wouldn’t choose to go somewhere over another place if I knew about it.”