Bars and restaurants would be required to set up recycling plans under a proposal being considered by South Carolina lawmakers.The bill that came up before a Senate panel this week would require bars and restaurants to come up with recycling plans when they apply for or renew alcohol licenses. The bill that came up before a Senate panel this week would require bars and restaurants to come up with recycling plans when they apply for or renew alcohol licenses.
Camden state Sen. Vincent Sheheen says the plans can be as simple as taking a bin to a recycling center once a week.
The owner of Captain Dave's Dockside in Murrells Inlet says he's in favor of recycling, as long as it works. In fact, he and a couple of neighboring restaurant owners tried a recycling program for their bottles and cans last summer.
They ended it after only three months. "It increased my trash cost or my hauling debris cost by 40 percent. So, it did not save me money," said David Owens.
Owens says he already spends $20,000 a year for trash disposal. He couldn't afford another government mandate to recycle, on top of this year's increase in unemployment taxes. "You couple that with rising cost in food, fuel cost, labor cost, it's just breaking our backs."
Owens says there just isn't a good market now for glass recycling in South Carolina.
But the coordinator of Coastal Carolina University's sustainability program says there would be a market, if the state required bars and restaurants to recycle.
Jennifer Sellers says, they should look at recycling as a way to improve their business through corporate responsibility. "It would look good for their business but also if they ask around for their customers or for the residents in the area it might be one of those things where they get a lot of support for doing the green thing."
Sellers says recycling in South Carolina is decreasing. The state recycles only 22 percent of its solid waste. The goal is 35 percent.
She says it's true right now, recycling in the state is not cost effective. "I think with the right systems and infrastructure in place, it can be. And recycling does provide jobs for people."
North Carolina currently is the only state law requiring bar and restaurant recycling plans. Tom Sponseller said recycling programs for bars and restaurants in that state can cost anywhere from $800 to $4,000 per location.
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