Columbia to provide recycling option to businesses

The new service will be similar to the city’s blue bag residential program.
Monday, November 17, 2003 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 2:41 p.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008

This story originally contained the incorrect phone number for more information. The number has been corrected in the online version since its original posting.

Local businesses have a new option to preserve Columbia’s environment. The city’s Solid Waste Division is now offering a commercial recycling service for businesses that is similar to the residential blue bag and fiber pickup.

“Between Civic Recycling and our new program, we should have Columbia’s recycling needs well-covered,” said Richard Wieman, Solid Waste Utility manager. The new program is part of an evolving process designed to meet Columbia’s changing recycling needs. This week, the Solid Waste Utility will begin operating a new sorting line for fiber. The line will be located in the material recovery facility that was erected by the city in fall of 2002. Much of the equipment inside the recovery facility, including the new sorting line, was provided by grants.

“We should be able to process all of our current recyclables in-house now,” Wieman said.

The Solid Waste Division collected and processed 6,661.92 tons of recyclable material from Oct. 1, 2002, through September 30.

The division will operate the new service with its current equipment, but if the response is strong, the division will consider additional trucks and equipment, Wieman said.

Carrie Gartner, executive director of Downtown Columbia Associations, said the new program will make it easier to recycle bottles because businesses won’t have to haul waste to a communal spot like the one in the parking lot at the intersection of Tenth and Elm streets.

“We recycle already, but we would absolutely take advantage of the new program if it is affordable,” said Johnny Finn, manager of The Music Café.

Lakota Coffee Co. recycles paper, plastic, glass and cardboard through one of its loyal customers, Kat Burns, who picks it up every week.

“A lot of people downtown have been asking for this for a long time,” said Danielle Safford, Lakota Coffee Co. manager. “I think it is an excellent idea.”

Katie Essing, group marketing manager for Columbia Mall, said the mall would definitely be interested in looking into the program, but it would have to work out the details with its collection contractor.

“We would especially be interested in a paper recycling program for the food court because we currently don’t recycle there,” Essing said.

Interested businesses should call 874-6291 to ask about a free rate estimate or establishing service.

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