FAQ

What Is #RaiseTheBarDallas (#RTBD)?

#RaiseTheBarDallas (#RTBD) is an online platform dedicated to fostering a culture of sustainable resource recovery practices (like recycling, composting, and reuse) in the Dallas service industry. We are:

  1. An educational and activist platform for environmentally-conscious consumers (including residents & visitors) in Dallas
  2. An online listing for environmentally-conscious service industry establishments (bars, restaurants, hotels, and catering companies) in Dallas
  3. An economic driver for responsible resource recovery services (including collection, consulting, processing, and more) in Dallas

What Does #RaiseTheBarDallas (#RTBD) Do?

#RaiseTheBarDallas (#RTBD) does several things for several entities. We:

  1. Provide Dallas consumers (residents & visitors) with:
    1. Information about the benefits of responsible resource recovery practices (like recycling, composting, and reuse)
    2. A listing of local bars, restaurants, hotels, and catering companies that engage in responsible recovery practices
    3. Simple, actionable tasks through which to encourage responsible recovery practices in their community
  2. Provide Dallas service industry establishments with:
    1. An opportunity to showcase and benefit from environmentally-friendly practices
    2. Online exposure via raisethebardallas.com, its app, and affiliated social media pages
    3. Assistance in locating responsible resource recovery service providers (such as local collection companies, processors, consultants, etc.)
  3. Provide Dallas green & recycling industry service providers with:
    1. New, unique opportunities to provide and benefit from responsible resource recovery services (including collection, processing, composting, consulting, and more) to the Dallas service industry
    2. Online exposure to environmentally-conscious service industry customers in Dallas

Who Started #RaiseTheBarDallas (#RTBD)?

#RTBD was created by Eddie Lott, the founder of Recycle Revolution. You can read our full story here.

When will #RTBD launch?

#RaiseTheBarDallas will "go live" on March 1, 2016.

We will be commemorating our launch with a glass recycling awareness campaign in Dallas from March 1, 2016 - April 1, 2016.

We will remain online permanently thereafter as a platform for fostering a culture of responsible resource recovery practices in the Dallas service industry by connecting environmentally-conscious consumers, businesses, and service providers.

Why will #RTBD focus on glass bottle recycling during its inaugural campaign?

From a resource recovery standpoint, we believe glass bottle recycling is the lowest-hanging fruit on the Tree of Neglected Environmentally-Responsible Practices in the Dallas service industry. While food waste, cardboard, plastic (bottles, wrap, and containers), and aluminum & tin can recycling all hang from that Tree as well, glass bottles present a number of unique characteristics that make them an ideal inaugural platform for #RTBD. 

  1. Glass bottles are a relatively easy material to identify from a service industry perspective (a glass bottle is a glass bottle - regardless of color, brand, or otherwise - unlike a plastic jar, for example, which could be made from PET, HDPE, LDPE, PP, PS, or any number of alternatives)
  2. Glass is a relatively easy material to understand from a recycling standpoint (unlike food waste, for example, or plastics, both of which have sub-categories and rules that need to be heeded in order to successfully and responsibly recycle)
  3. Glass bottles are relatively neglected as recyclables within the Dallas service industry (the bottle recycling rate among local bars & restaurants is estimated by #RTBD to be less than 1%; unlike cardboard, for example)
  4. Glass bottle recycling is relatively impactful on the local economy, environment, and community
  5. Glass bottles are iconic and well-representative of the service industry (the ubiquitous beer bottle, liquor bottle, etc.)

Why now?

Why not? There is a conflux of realities that make 2016 as great a time as any to make glass bottle recycling a commonplace practice in Dallas. Here (in no particular order) are a few of the practical reasons:

  1. The City of Dallas passed a Zero Waste Ordinance in 2013 and is rapidly approaching its "40% by 2020" milestone (fun fact: we're only half-way there)
  2. Dallasites are recycling more than ever before, showing their commitment to responsible resource recovery practices
  3. Everyone uses the internet (unlike 2008, believe it or not, when Recycle Revolution first started pushing glass bottle recycling in bars. The internet has NOT been used to find locate wdfwefwef forever!). More relevantly, most consumers ages 21+ use the internet at least SOMETIMES to scope out bars, restaurants, hotels, and/or catering companies. They can see pics, read menus, and ogle drink lists, but they couldn't (until now) find how responsible an establishment is. That's important.
  4. Public reaction to Recycle Revolution's memes about glass recycling in the service industry (from 2013-2015) verified that resource recovery practices (or lack thereof) in the local service industry is an issue that Dallas residents felt truly passionate about
  5. It took some time to create a multi-stage platform capable of benefiting local residents (who double as consumers), service industry establishments, the City of Dallas, and recycling industry actors (collectors, processors, transportation companies, etc.)
  6. We didn't have any seed money prior to 2015. (Thank you, Maria & Genie!) 

And then there's this: at our truest #heart, we're #activists. If we a) see an injustice; b) believe we have a solution; AND c) have the resources to make it happen, we feel some (awful!) sense of duty to correct it. Every day that resources are treated as trash, local jobs go uncreated, natural resources are further degraded, lives are adversely affected, etc. Now is definitely the best time.

Why is glass bottle recycling so important? I heard glass was just made of sand.

Recycling glass bottles (as opposed to landfilling them) is good for the local economy (job creation), environment (natural resource conservation, water source protection), and community (reduces air pollution, reduces adverse health affects associated with landfilling). For a more detailed rundown of the many benefits of recycling our glass bottles, please click here.

Why don't more bars recycle already?

We're working on an official survey for this as we speak, which we will report on following its completion. When complete, it will be the first survey of its kind that we are aware of, and a helpful tool for all Dallasites (including the City of Dallas) to better understand our city.

In fact, if you work in the service industry, we'd be most grateful if you took a few moments out of your day to fill one out for us right now!

In the absence of a comprehensive survey of attitudes & behaviors towards recycling practices in the local service industry, we can offer qualitative findings based on experience in the recycling and service industries, as well as similar polls/surveys conducted by the City of Dallas.

Recycle Revolution (RR), which began as a Dallas-based glass collection service for bars & restaurants in 2008 (and has since evolved into a full-scale recycling & compost collection service for residences & businesses, including bars & restaurants) reports the following factors as the deterrents most frequently cited by service industry decision-makers who choose not to recycle:

  1. Cost / Budgetary Issues
  2. Training & Employee Education (including the creation of in-house policies & procedures to enforce recycling)
  3. Space Requirements (including indoor and/or outdoor space limitations)

The latest (2016) Commercial Recycling Survey conducted by the City of Dallas reported similar results, albeit in a slightly different order. In that survey, which asks decision-makers of Apartments who choose not to recycle.......................

  1.  "Space" (33% of respondents)
  2. "Owners/managers have not requested it" (29% of respondents)
  3. "Residents have not requested it" (27% of respondents)
  4. "Equipment/education/staff too expensive" (25% of respondents)
  5. "Other" (14% of respondents)

It is worth noting that the.......................... methodology / voluntary survey / grain of salt / approximately 25% of those surveyed responded

We at #RTBD believe that each and all of the above concerns are ultimately attributable to a negative cost-benefit analysis on the part of the establishment choosing to not recycle. We created #RTBD in order to address that challenge, and to make recycling worthwhile for service industry establishments.

I own/work at a bar, restaurant, hotel, or catering company in Dallas. How can I get my bar on The LIST?

Thank you for asking! And for considering. Service industry establishments can join The LIST by pledging to responsibly recycle their glass bottles.

 

Following the pledge, establishments must complete a series of simple steps must be completed in order to verify that your establishment is responsibly recycling their bottles.this entails contracting with a collection company (be it a recycling collection service, waste company, or private hauler) that can transport the bottles to a local glass processing facility and produce certifiable proof of acceptance by the processor. Alternatively, establishments may haul their glass bottles directly to the processing facility. The key is that there is proof of acceptance from a processor, since glass bottles frequently ends up in local landfills (particularly, McCommas Bluff Landfill) due to fraudulent recycling practices & unacceptable levels of contamination.

Bars can sign the pledge to recycle their glass bottles here. Upon signing, their name will be placed on The List within 24 hours. They will then have one week to provide their first proof of acceptance from the processor, either via the contracted collection company's records or their own records (in the case of self-hauling).

Does #RTBD Charge a Fee for bars & restaurants to join The LIST?

No. #RTBD does not currently charge any fees to service industry establishments. In order to join The LIST, bars, restaurants, hotels, and catering companies in Dallas must pledge to responsibly divert their glass bottles from local landfills and demonstrate proof of recycling on a monthly basis thereafter.

How does #RTBD make money?

#RTBD, as currently constituted, is a Recycle Revolution (RR) initiative in line with RR's Mission Statement. As such, #RTBD does not currently charge or receive any money (outside of sponsorships). However, should a service industry establishment choose to contract with Recycle Revolution as a provider of responsible resource recovery services (to collect glass, for example), RR would be eligible to generate revenue from that contract.

Recycle Revolution is not the only #RTBD-approved service provider, and we welcome and highly encourage all entrepreneurs and existing businesses interested in providing responsible resource recovery services to bars, restaurants, hotels, and catering companies to apply as an #RTBD-approved service provider.

 

So... the end result is worse than a bottle bill?

Actually, we think it's better - if it works. A container take-back legislation ("bottle bill") would not only, it require a lot of businesses . In a very real sense, a takeback bill puts the onus on the consumer (in the form of increased ), whereas our campaign will make money for the bars & restaurants. In general, we think that when the market can achieve the desired results in the absence of legislation, it's preferable.

How can I get my favorite bar/restaurant to join #raisethebardallas?

I seriously cannot believe that my favorite bar/restaurant doesn't recycle!

We know. Welcome to the club. It's big. That's why we started this campaign. Click here to help us make change... one night at a time.

I know of a bar that I think is recycling their glass bottles, but they're not mentioned on The List.

Awesome!!! If you would like to vouch for the recycling practices of an establishment that is not currently on this list, please let us know & we will contact them to verify their status. Verfici

#raisethebar communicates directly with local glass processing facilities to verify who is/is not recycling their glass. This process ensures that only bars who engage in verfiable glass bottle recycling practices can be on The List. If they work with a waste (or recycling) company that claims to recycle, but cannot be verified (or recognized) by the facility that receives their bottles, they are ineligible for The List.

 

How is Dallas doing compared to other cities in Texas? In the United states?

According to the City of Dallas, our city's current landfill diversion rate is an estimated 9%. Glass bottles make up...

We were recently surprised to learn that there are several other major metropolitan areas (as well as many small towns) in the U.S. currently collecting - but then landfilling - their glass bottles, as well.

Is all glass recyclable?

Do bars have to separate glass by color?

No. Glass bottles do not need to be separated by color.

Does the City of Dallas provide recycling bins for glass?

Yes! BUT it comes with a caveat (or 2):

1. There's a charge. You'll need to call the Department of Sanitation to get a quote.

2. They may not accept glass... at least, not yet.

3. If it's a community drop-off location, the City's policy is that the dumpster/container must be placed in an area that must be accessible to the general public.

 

How much does service typically cost a bar?

Pricing for glass-only recycling containers vary by company. Recycle Revolution charges $25 per 95-gallon container per pick-up.

What's involved in bottle recycling by a bar? - Randy, dallas

Hey Randy, thanks for asking! The short answer to that is bars simply need to a) separate their glass bottles, and b) arrange to have them delivered to a glass processor. The longer answer involves creating a culture of recycling within their establishment (through education, program-creation, program monitoring, etc.), contracting a company to collect & deliver the bottles to the processor, and ensuring that certain mechanisms are in place (either internally or through their collection partner) to provide feedback on how their program is doing (is the glass clean? how much of it are they actually capturing? how can they make improvements?, etc.)

Who started #raisethebardallas and why?

#Raisethebardallas is a grassroots campaign led by a coalition of , including Recycle Revolution, a local resource recovery service & Community Drop-Off Center founded in 2008 specifically to increase glass recycling practices in North Texas.

Isn't reuse better than recycling?

Absolutely, positively, yes. Study after study have shown that reusing a given resource is a considerably better practice - for the economy, environment, and community - than recycling the same resource.

Unfortunately, there has not, to date, been any significant traction for the type of regional or state-wide legislation (i.e. "Bottle Bill)" that would foster a North Texas industry built upon resource reuse - although Recycle Revolution, for one, continues to explore & encourage local service opportunities for upcycling.

All of this said, recycling is considerably better than landfilling, and there is an existing - and underutilized - infrastructure of glass collectors, aggregators, processors, and manufacturers in place in North Texas. Baby steps.

Why don't more bars recycle right now?

Research performed by our Coalition and the City of Dallas suggests that a strong (and growing) majority of Dallasites - including the folks who own local businesses - care about recycling. We can see that in the increased demand for residential curbside recycling, for example. 

But bar & restaurant owners need recycling to make business sense, and a variety of factors have conspired to prevent that from happening to this point, namely:

  1. Persistently-low landfill costs (which might otherwise naturally discourage landfilling practices);
  2. Persistently-low commodity prices (which might otherwise naturally encourage recycling practices);
  3. A lack of awareness among service industry establishments about the availability of commercial recycling options; and
  4. Most importantly, from this campaign's perspective: a lack of public awareness about the benefits of recycling, the harms of landfilling, and the lack of responsible resource recovery practices in the local service industry

#RTBD seeks to directly address the latter two factors in order to make recycling a good business decision.

If glass recycling makes so much sense (pun intended), why doesn't the market take care of it?

Actually, the market is taking care of it - that's how this campaign came about: demand + innovation. A better question might be, "why didn't the market 'take care of this' prior to #RaiseTheBarDallas?"

And for a succinct response to that, we'll need to introduce some basic recycling economics.

Many commodities (like copper, cardboard, and most recently, electronic waste) come with their own economic "pull", wherein the materials themselves hold sufficient potential financial value as resources to drive business. Think of it this way: when a person discovers that he/she can retrieve a material Z for $X and sell it for $X+1, and that (+1) margin is viable, it is an example of "pull" proposal. If the economics of the "pull" were in place (as it is for copper, electronics, etc.) for glass, it's likely we'd see many more bars & restaurants recycling their bottles today.

As it were, the logistics of the local glass recycling process are economically unfavorable (RR grosses $12/ton for bottles, but pays approximately $35/ton to transport them, for example), resulting in a weak "pull" for responsible glass recycling practices. You know what other material has a weak "pull"? Styrofoam.

Why do you keep saying things like "responsible" glass recycling practices instead of just "glass recycling practices"? What does "responsible" mean and how do we know something is being recycled "repsonsibly"?

OMG thank you for asking this. "Responsible" means "verfiable". If a company claims to collect your resources for the purposes of recycling - but DOESN'T actually recycle them - are you, the customer, actually recycling?

 

Luckily, we can also "push" the economics. 

Therefore, a push is needed. By stimulating consumer demand (through education & awareness), #RTBD seeks to create a demand for responsible glass recycling. This is the "push" that the system requires in order to get going, but once in motion it will carry its momentum until consumers (who are also residents) stop caring about the local economic, social, and environmental benefits of recycling. 

 

The market is always being shaped by innovation and new information.

How come some states offer money back for bottles?

Sustainable practices ultimately affect all societal actors (folks, businesses, government, etc.), so we believe that Texas will eventually pass a bottle bill - even if it's the consequence of a federally-mandated resource recovery Bill. But it won't happen anytime soon without you taking action.

Will Texas ever pass a Bottle ('Buy-Back') Bill?

We, at Recycle Revolution, like to think that a bottle bill (in which.....) is an inevitability. Sustainable practices ultimately affect all societal actors (folks, businesses, government, etc.), so we do believe that Texas will eventually come around and pass a bottle bill - even if it's the consequence of a federally-mandated resource recovery Bill twenty (thirty?) years down the road. But the reality is it won't happen anytime soon without you taking action.