Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Glass Recycling is coming to French Quarter, CBD

A recycling can sits on the curb on Bourbon street in the French Quarter. Businesses in the French Quarter can now recycle glass. Photo credit: Andrew Callaghan

For more than two decades, there has been no public glass recycling system in New Orleans.

On Sept. 24, the city will begin recycling glass in New Orleans’ French Quarter and Downtown Development District. This comes as a result of a $3.9 million deal which City Hall signed last December with an independent Metairie sanitation company, Empire Janitorial Sales & Services.

Collection of glass will begin on Thursday of each week from properties eligible to receive sanitation services from the city.

Cynthia Sylvain-Lear, director of the City of New Orleans Sanitation Department, said in a press release that the city is pleased that Empire can now recycle glass in downtown New Orleans.

“We heard residents’ requests for glass recycling and are proud to deliver this service. Recycling benefits the environment and the City’s bottom line. The glass processor selected intends to recycle the product into highway and road aggregate material. The more residents recycle, the less we will have to pay in landfill costs,” Sylvain-Lear said in a press release.

Molly Ray, Office Depot sustainability director and national environmental activist, has done work with the city of New Orleans to reduce its carbon footprint and teach environmental sustainability to businesses in the French Quarter and CBD.

“Throwing a glass bottle into a trash can dooms a bottle into a millennium of existence. Glass bottles have a material life expectancy of 1,000 years,” Ray said.

Businesses in the French Quarter are looking forward to this new eco-friendly opportunity. Among those enthused is Lydon Yerro, front desk manager at hotel La Marais in the French Quarter, who said that she is open to the opportunity for the hotel to start recycling.

“I think this is a positive measure to prompt recycling, being that the French Quarter scene uses a lot of glassware. Its an opportunity for us as a hotel and bar to do our part for the environment and recycle,” Yerro said.

Robert Thomas, Loyola professor and chair of environmental communication, said he attributes higher levels of glass waste in the French Quarter to its alcohol intake.

“Glass in the French Quarter is burdensome, since so much bottled beer and wine is consumed in bars and restaurants,” Thomas said.

According to the 2010 census, the French Quarter and CBD’s residential population only makes up two percent of New Orleans’ population. Many tourists will get the opportunity to recycle glass and contribute to the new recycling program.

In 2012, a University of New Orleans study showed that New Orleans was visited by nine million tourists, nearly half of which were first-time visitors.

Thomas sees this recycling measure as an important step forward for New Orleans.

“Recycling glass is a significant step for the city. Since Owens-Illinois Glass Company left the city 25 years ago, there has not been any significant glass recycling. The result is that a large, undocumented space has been filled in our precious landfill capacity at tax-payer expense,” Thomas said.

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