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River Market goes green

Waste Management's new recycling program is only a few months old, but already the reduction of trash going to the landfill is noticeable.
Waste Management's new recycling program is only a few months old, but already the reduction of trash going to the landfill is noticeable.

The program is now growing from homes to businesses. The River Market is launching its expanded recycling initiative in partnership with several local businesses.

Recycling dumpsters will accept cardboard and glass. This is just the next step in a long range vision of reducing waste.

The curbside recycling program launched by Waste Management in April has exceeded expectations. 85% percent of people are pitching in, up from 30% percent before the program started.

Waste Management District Manager David Steinmetz says they have more than doubled the amount of recycling materials collected at residences.

The next step is getting more businesses on board. The River Market is now partnering with several district restaurants and bars to expand recycling from strictly cardboard to include glass.

Right now Waste Management has 90,000 participants in its curbside recycling program in Little Rock, North Little Rock and Sherwood.

Steinmetz says the program is really taking off. "People are really getting behind what we're doing."

Last May, Waste Management collected 700 tons of recycling. This May, 1450 tons were taken off the streets and kept out of the landfill.

The River Market District expansion is just the beginning. Waste Management hopes to include Hillcrest and the Argenta District soon. "The sustainability project is supported by the city, supported by Waste Management, and that's where everyone wants to go, so that's where we're moving."

There are currently three recycling dumpsters in the ally behind the River Market participating businesses. A four one will be placed at the Pavilion in July.

After Waste Management picks up the recyclables, the glass goes to a company out of Kansas City, Missouri to make insulation for home construction. 6, 12 oz. beer bottles can make enough insulation to fill a standard wall cavity.

Participating restaurants include Big Whiskey's, WT Bubba's, the Flying Fish, Flying Saucer, Rumba, Stickyz, Gusano's Chicago-Style Pizzeria, and late night hot spot, Ernie Biggs.

The Flying Saucer will host a "Glass Night" in conjunction with Boulevard Beer on Wednesday, June 13. Patrons may purchase a commemorative pint glass with benefits going to Keep Little Rock Beautiful's School Recycling Program.
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