Glass Bottle Reduction Program

beer can and draftBars and restaurants in Athens-Clarke County can switch from bottles to cans and/or draft and save up to 50% on their beer license.

The Problem

  • Glass bottles from bars were identified as a hazard in the 2017 Downtown Health and Safety study
  • Piles of bagged glass pose a trip-fall hazard to patrons and emergency responders during emergency exits, and to pedestrians during non-emergencies
  • Cut bags lead to foul-smelling liquid leaking onto sidewalks and inside businesses
  • Fragments of glass litter sidewalks and roadways, posing a cut hazard to pedestrians and pets
  • Last two Solid Waste injuries downtown were due to glass
  • Glass devalues the recycling stream, increasing Solid Waste operational costsTrash on sidewalks
  • A full glass beverage bottle outweighs aluminum nearly 2:1

The Solution

Reduce glass in Commercial Business District (CBD) and around Athens

How to participate

  • Voluntary participation by bars and restaurants reduces their annual beer license
  • Only available to bars and restaurants who are compliant with the Commercial Recycling Ordinance
  • Program targets High Volume Domestic Brands (HVDBs) of beer in glass bottles


  • Participating bars and restaurants will receive a discount on their beer license renewal
  • Bars and restaurants demonstrating a 100% conversion of HVDBs from glass bottles to aluminum cans (or draft) receive a 50% reduction in next years’ license fee
  • 50-99% conversion  - 25% reduction
  • Participating bars and restaurants must complete the Glass Bottle Reduction Program form and submit invoices from beverage distributors showing the glass reduction
  • Spot-checks will be performed by Solid Waste staff and the Fire Marshal’s office
  • Bar owners and distributors agree that the cost difference between glass and aluminum is negligible
  • Some bars have already switched to aluminum cans for their HVDBs

For more information or questions, contact the Commercial Recycling Specialist at 706-613-3501, ext. 7870 or email

Print the Glass Bottle Reduction Program form here.