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Recycling Options Increase

March 12, 2010 10:30 AM
Brandon Meginley newwave@tulane.edu

The City of New Orleans discontinued curbside recycling after Hurricane Katrina. Since then, however, the Tulane Office of Environmental Affairs has been on a mission to let residents know how and where they can recycle their trash.


Students participate in a Recyclemania weigh-in of collected materials each Friday on the uptown campus. Recycling options change each year with increased local capacity to handle different materials. (Photo by Paula Burch-Celentano)

As part of that effort, the office recently released "Recycle New Orleans!," a comprehensive guide that lists options for reusing and recycling different materials, including locations of drop-off sites for everything from batteries and computers to Christmas trees and medical equipment.

"The major change is that you now have private services and drop-offs available for basic, household recyclables," says Liz Davey, environmental coordinator in the Office of Environmental Affairs. Phoenix Recycling and the Poohbah Group are two private companies that provide pick-up services. They charge a monthly fee to collect plastics, paper and aluminum.

In addition to the companies offering to pick up recyclables, there also has been an increase in the number of drop-off sites such as the Republic Services/Allied Waste plant on Jefferson Highway, which accepts material on the first Saturday of every month.

The Allied Waste facility is equipped to sort recycled materials that are collected in a single stream. Single-stream recycling essentially makes the collection process shorter by allowing residents to mix cardboard, paper, plastic and aluminum in one bin. Davey says single-stream recycling saves time and gas for recyclers and increases the number of clients that companies can service each day.

"Recyle New Orleans!" is the fourth directory of its kind to be released since May 2006. Most of the updates have been done by students in service-learning courses. This year's guide was completed by junior Rachel Petrey, an environmental studies major, as part of a public-service internship.

Each new edition, says Davey, has documented the unpredictability of recycling options in the Crescent City.

"It has been confusing to people because it has changed almost every year as the local capacity to handle different materials has gradually come back," she says.

Brandon Meginley is a senior majoring in journalism at Tulane University.