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More Recycling Blues

As I’ve mentioned before, we are paying approximately $15/month to a private company to pick up recyclables. I’m not happy about the situation; in my opinion this should be a standard municipal service like trash collection. But we haven’t had it since the floods of ’05. So we’re contracting for it privately out of a vague sense that it’s the “right thing to do.”

We’ve been with Phoenix for over a year, and they’ve provided excellent service. One nice thing is they take even more materials than the city did pre-Katrina.

Until now. Over the last week, word came down that they’ll no longer be taking cardboard of any kind — or glass. I think it has something to do with the downturn in the national economy. The economics of recycling are a tricky business, and I understand Phoenix has to make these cuts to stay viable. Still, it’s a shame. I always liked the idea of recycling glass, because it’s so efficient. Melt it down and you get almost 100% reuse.

Already our kitchen garbage is noticeably heavier. We’ll be sending plenty more stuff to the landfill, looks like.

Update, November 17: They’re taking cardboard again.

Published inConsumerismNew Orleans


  1. Ever thought of heating your house with a wood stove? You could do it pretty easily in New Orleans.

    At least that way, you’d be able to make use of the scrap cardboard and paper as kindling. At least it wouldn’t be wasted.

    I remember when I was a kid, we had a camp out at Head of Island. Out there in what was the “country.” we just burned all our trash, and you usually could make pretty good use of the resulting bonfire.

    Of course, it usually wasn’t a very good idea to be roasting weenies if an aerosol can popped off in there. You could launch spray-can rockets to the moon, or you could sit around the fire and roast stuff. But not both.

    Some people tried, I would imagine, but they’re probably known now as “Lefty” or “One-Eye.”

  2. Sean Sean

    Yeah, I hear ya. I had my stuff all ready to go this week, and checked the email in the morning… no glass??? Now that sucks. Should I start drinking beer in a can? Meanwhile in City Council vs. Sanitation land the debate goes around in circles about a recycling contract. I can understand Phoenix’s situation though. The Green Party of Louisiana had a booth next to them at Earth Fest, and we got to chat a little bit. This is the sort of thing that needs more city support.

  3. Lee Lee

    That’s a shame man. You’ve been doing what you can by paying a premium to recycle and I commend you for that.

    Why did municipal recycling go out the door? Did the flood ruin the facilities? Just wondering.

    Are there any places nearby that accept cardboard or glass for recycling? If you save it for a while and load up the ol’ car with it, it would be worth it for the enviroment.

    Later man.

  4. Lynne Lynne

    We’re in the midst of a household discussion about whether the cost for recycling is worth it, since cardboard (not just corrugated, but also items like cereal boxes) and glass make up the bulk of our recycling and like most we’re trying to trim our budget.

    What is killing me is that I moved here from a place where not only does everyone recycle religiously, but you get paid to do it (bottle and can deposits, reductions in garbage fees depending on what % of town trash is recycled.

  5. Vicky Vicky

    You can load your glass in the trunk and take it to Whole Foods on Veterans on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I believe the hours are something like 10 AM to 7 PM. Take the driveway behind the store and you will find recycling dumpsters and large boxes to place your stuff in.

  6. Hadacol Hadacol

    I really wish that we would go to a bottle deposit law. It solves alot of this and, much like the guys that go around town picking up aluminum cans, the places that have bottle deposit laws tend to have much less garbage in the streets.

    I suppose that grocery stores hate it and that’s why we can’t get it done. I do remember being a kid and taking bottles back to the store for the deposit money. But, that was back when soda and beer was sold in reusuable bottles. Now it’s all plastic, or mostly plastic, as it’s cheaper and easier to package products in plastic.

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