Thursday, February 13, 2014


Are you recycling cartons and juice boxes? Rumpke opened a brand new state-of-the-art recycling facility (Material Recovery Facilty/MRF) in November and the community was invited to go for a tour. Since I consider myself the resident recycling guru in Amberley, and as chair of the Health, Education, & Welfare committee of council that reviews our trash and recycling contracts annually, I didn't want to miss the opportunity. Fellow councilperson Peg Conway and I went together.

Our community is doing a great job of reducing the trash we send to the landfill. Last year, we received approximately $13,000 from Hamilton County Solid Waste and Recycling as a reward for the amount of waste we kept out of the landfill. The items that are acceptable for recycling are dependent upon there being either a buyer or an end-use for the material being recycled. Practically anything is recyclable, as long as there is someone to buy it and we have the facility to separate and bale it. Rumpke's new facility is now capable of separating and baling the cartons we used to have to throw in the trash. This includes milk cartons and juice boxes that have a waxy coating on them.

A couple of take away tips from the tour: 1) DON'T THROW AWAY PLASTIC BAGS! Rumpke's MRF is manned by workers whose job it is to sort out non-recyclable trash from a fast-moving conveyor. One plastic bag stuck in the conveyor can shut down the entire facility! Throw your papers straight into the recycling can or bin, or else put them in a paper grocery bag. Plastic grocery bags can be recycled by taking them back to the grocery store and putting them in the recycle bin at the front of the store. 2) RINSE AND REMOVE THE LIDS FROM CARTONS. Plastic lids may be recycled along with plastic bottles as long as they are attached to the bottle.

Remember, our solid waste output can also be dramatically reduced by composting. Composting is fun, easy, and can be done all year long. Michele Balz of Hamilton County Solid Waste & Recycling writes a humorous blog about composting with lots of composting tips called Confessions of a Composter. Finally, it's time to start stockpiling those old electronics and papers for shredding. Amberley's Environmental Stewardship Committee will once again be hosting "One Stop Drop" and Cohen Recycling will be collecting electronics to recycle.

If you ever wondered what happens to the materials we recycle after they are picked up at the curb, Rumpke has some great videos on its YouTube channel: Rumpke Clean & Green. You can also schedule a tour for your own group by visiting their website Scouts will love this tour, because as you can see from my photo, visitors are required to wear protective clothing, including a hardhat.

If you haven't yet done so, be sure to join our neighborhood network on Nextdoor and subscribe to Amberley news and email at 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

The J-Cafe

Two years ago, I wrote about the J-Cafe -- the cafe at the Mayerson JCC, which happens to be the only restaurant in Amberley. At the time, I mused  "where do we go in Amberley when we want to relax and chat with our neighbors -- about our community, our families, our lives...? A gathering place is a central part of a community. To see our neighbors and elected officials in a relaxed setting in the community can ease suspicion and strengthen our ties to the community."

Since that time, I have seen the J-Cafe go through several changes -- not all of them good. But this week, I realized that I had eaten lunch at the J-Cafe four times. It is really a restaurant now, and one that we should all be supporting. The hours have been extended from 7:30AM-6:00PM Monday-Thursday, 7:30 - 2:30 on Friday, and 9:30 - 4:00PM on Sunday. Closed on Saturdays for the Jewish Sabbath. 

Food choices have been broadened and you can now get fresh smoothies, soft-serve yogurt with toppings, cappucino and lattes. I highly recommend the tuna and avocado melt as well as the vegetable soup, which is the best I've had anywhere!
 Something else that's new is the "Take & Bake" menu. I haven't tried it yet, but I intend to. On Fridays, the J-Cafe offers full dinners for pick up that serve 4-16 people. Five entrees are offered and can be picked up by as late as 6:15 on Friday evening.

On Friday mornings, the chef offers a full omelet bar, and CEO Marc Fisher says that we can look forward to Pancake Sundays coming in February. 

You don't have to be a member of the JCC to enjoy the convenience of eating at the J-Cafe. I'm so pleased that I can say that we really do have a place to eat and see our neighbors within our own community.