Re­cy­clers will clink to that

Drink­ing With Ben­e­fits urges bars and restau­rants to keep glass bot­tles out of land­fills

The Dallas Morning News - - Sunday Startup - By SH­ERYL JEAN

A new non­profit group that ad­vo­cates re­cy­cling at Dal­las restau­rants and bars has a novel ap­proach: pro­mot­ing its cause through happy hours and par­ties at “green” venues.

Drink­ing With Ben­e­fits held its kick­off happy hour March 12 at the Lon­doner pub in Up­town. It plans a green party Tues­day at State & Allen Lounge .

The idea be­gan last sum­mer when Nar­isha John­son of Dal­las couldn’t find a re­cy­cling bin at a con­cert. She and three eco-friends launched Drink­ing With Ben­e­fits to en­cour­age busi­nesses to re­cy­cle.

“I wouldn’t call my­self a tree hug­ger … but I’m very much into re­cy­cling and en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues,” said John­son, a free­lance mar­keter and Web de­signer.

There are five mem­bers so far: Blue Col­lar Bar, the Lon­doner, State & Allen Lounge, Times Ten Cel­lars and Trin­ity Hall Ir­ish Pub. John­son said six bars and restau­rants are in a trial run, and she’s talk­ing to sev­eral oth­ers.

Long term, John­son wants to per­suade Dal­las of­fi­cials to of­fer re­cy­cling for busi­nesses. New York, San Diego and Seat­tle are among the cities with manda­tory re­cy­cling for busi­nesses.

Dal­las bars and clubs cre­ate tons of re­cy­clable glass and card­board, but most of it goes to land­fills, John­son said.

Na­tion­ally, a quar­ter of the 13.6 mil­lion tons of glass waste in 2007 was re­cy­cled. Beer, wine, liquor and soft drinks ac­count for most glass con­tain­ers.

“The big­gest is­sue I’ve heard is the cost of re­cy­cling,” John­son said. So Drink­ing With Ben­e­fits formed a co­op­er­a­tive to of­fer mem­bers re­cy­cling at lower prices, she said.

Re­cy­cle Revo­lu­tion charges the coop $10 per con­tainer per pickup, di­rec­tor Ed­die Lott said.

Drink­ing With Ben­e­fits’ mem­bers also get free mar­ket­ing — a green party, coast­ers, T-shirts and a re­cy­cling plaque. The group will post statis­tics of each mem­ber’s re­cy­cling ef­forts on its Web site, www.drinkwhere­its­green.org.

The Lon­doner’s page says it in­creased glass re­cy­cling eight­fold and be­gan re­cy­cling card­board in Jan­uary.

John­son, who in­vested about $2,000 in the group, wants to ex­pand else­where.

Drink­ing With Ben­e­fits co-founder Nar­isha John­son is re­cruit­ing restau­rants and bars, in­clud­ing the Lon­doner, for green happy hours and par­ties. The group has also formed a co-op for low-cost re­cy­cling for busi­nesses.

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