B-List serves drinks, saves garbage for art

In less than five minutes, Ben Haggerty can explain all the eco-friendly happenings at the B-List, his bar in Bellevue, Kentucky. It has the attention of artists, home brewers and lamp makers.

Haggerty, 40, married and father of two, lives in Mount Auburn. He and co-owner Kevin Feldman opened the B-List eight years ago, and Haggerty has been at the helm of its green projects. Between bar duties, he manages Green Streets, a storm water mitigation company. (Soapbox recently profiled the Sustainability Partnership of Cincinnati, with which Green Streets is affiliated. Read that story here.)

Behind the bar at least twice a week, Haggerty finds re-uses for what some might consider garbage. Peanuts are free here, he says, and patrons are allowed to throw shells on the floor. It's for a good cause.

"The peanut oils help keep dust down on the floor," he says. "We sweep up the shells, box them up and take them to the neighborhood compost. Peanut shells make absolutely wonderful compost."

Really, his garbage is gold for others.

"For instance, our beer boxes go to a Dayton (Kentucky) pantry for food deliveries," he says. "I was throwing out thousands of pounds of cardboard and glass, but now we look for any way we can to find homes for that stuff."

Haggerty doesn't stop there. "We donate all of our liquor bottles to a company that makes oil lamps," he says. "We probably donate 15-20 cases every month or two months."

He doesn't ask for names. "This is all very grassroots."

Beer bottles are difficult to recycle because they're made of low-quality glass, Haggerty says. "The only folks that have stepped up are folks looking to make home brew. They take pop-top bottles."

And those bottle caps aren't wasted.

"All of our bottle caps are saved for metal recycling, or we save them for artists," he says. "We give them boxes upon boxes."

Haggerty says an occasional visitor named Bridget (that's all he knows) ships bottle cap-loaded boxes back to the New York for "some massive art project … I know she's been working on it for a few years."

In less mysterious but perhaps equally creative terms, local jewelry designer Abbie Turner is making bottle cap earrings, affectionately called "beerings."

"I plan to sell all of these in my Etsy shop and to the lovely locals," she says. "Also thought they may be cool as part of the uniform for the girls at local bars."

By Rich Shivener
Signup for Email Alerts