May 2008
Green initiative unveils recycle bin in downtown Bethesda
Bethesda got a little greener last week with the installation of the downtown's first public recycle bin.

by Stephanie Siegel | Staff Writer

The bin, at the corner of Bethesda and Woodmont avenues, across the street from the Barnes and Noble, is the first of what officials hope will eventually be about 25 to 30 bins around downtown Bethesda. It's part of a pilot recycling project spearheaded by Bethesda Green, an initiative that aims to make the business district more environmentally friendly.
''We want to bring the community together to work together to make the community a better place, and green is the focus," said David Feldman, Bethesda Green implementation director.
The recycling bins cost about $1,000 each, plus another $1,000 for maintenance for one year, according to Bethesda Green. The organization is looking for community co-sponsors who will pitch in $1,000 to sponsor a bin. Sponsors will get a plaque with their names on it on their bin.
''This is how it happens. You don't just wake up one day and say we've got a green community," said Seth Goldman, president of Bethesda beverage company Honest Tea, which donated $20,000 to Bethesda Green initiatives. ''It happens bottle by bottle and bin by bin and by everyone participating."
In addition to the donation from Honest Tea, The Coca-Cola Company also contributed $20,000 specifically for the purchase of recycling bins.
So far, 10 individuals, groups and businesses have committed to co-sponsor bins, Goldman said. The next wave of bins will be installed in Bethesda later this summer.
''I think it shows there's a need for this," Feldman said. ''I think it's a way for people to get involved and get some recognition."
A Bethesda-Chevy Chase resident, Stephen Greenhouse, co-sponsored the first bin in his family's name, Feldman said.
Bethesda Green is partnering with the county Division of Solid Waste and Bethesda Urban Partnership, a nonprofit that maintains and promotes downtown Bethesda, for the project.
BUP, which already removes litter from the business district, will also collect the recyclables and deliver them to the Montgomery County Recycling Center in Derwood.
While the pilot program will focus on placing bins near the Bethesda Metro Center, Bethesda Row and Woodmont Triangle, the program has potential to grow outside of the downtown, Feldman said.
A partnership with Bethesda Big Train Baseball and Shirley Povich Field in Cabin John Park could be in the near future to get a recycling program going at the baseball games, he said.
''This would not happen if it were entirely left up to the county," Goldman said. ''This is an example that with private and public interests working together, we can make this happen."