New Orleans suspends glass collection after one year

Dive Brief:

  • New Orleans will no longer offer curbside collection for glass after Jan. 12 due to low participation rates. The program was costing the city about $60,000 per year, as reported by The New Orleans Advocate.
  • While basic recycling collection was reestablished in 2011, after it was suspended following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, glass collection didn't come back until 2015. The service was only offered in two neighborhoods, the French Quarter and Central Business District, and at one point it was reported that only 1% of customers were participating.
  • The city's recycling drop-off center will now accept up to 20 pounds of glass per person during limited hours on the second Saturday of each month.

Dive Insight:

This is the latest change to waste and recycling services in New Orleans as the city continues to readjust from major interruptions after Katrina. The city recently awarded two seven-year collection contracts that include new living wage requirements and are expected to save at least $4 million per year. Though a report from the city's inspector general found that as much as $7 million in sanitation fees may have gone uncollected in 2014 showing that financial issues remain.

Suspending glass collection is seen as a way to save money, and while adding the drop-off option technically expands glass recycling access to all residents, the same low participation rate could still continue. Some residents may not have the ability to bring their glass to this location once a month and others may have fallen out of the habit after more than a decade of not recycling the material.

Other cities such as Houston have also turned to drop-off centers over curbside collection as glass continues to have a low value in many parts of the country. Some companies have found ways to make glass profitable, and recyclers continue to offer new ideas, but curbside services have been cut back in multiple areas. Knoxville recently suspended its curbside program and Waste Connections announced that it has also done the same in other Tennessee municipalities.

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Filed Under: Collections & Transfer Recycling
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