lafayette recycling 101

I was speaking with my friend Liz recently, and she asked me for some pointers about setting up curbside recycling for and her husband's and her home in the city of Lafayette. Her biggest issue was that she wasn't sure just where to start. She also felt the Lafayette recycling website was unclear about costs and pickup.

It got me thinking, what if you've just moved to town? What if you've never had a recycling bin before? How do you go about getting started? It's easy to talk about ways to go green, but sometimes I really just need to step back and start at the beginning!

"I want to help with the recycling process because I care about the environment and how we leave it for future generations," Liz said.

If you're in the same situation as Liz, needing to establish curbside recycling, or you're in another city but still have questions on where to start, sit down and take notes on Recycling 101, Eco Cajun style!


Who in Lafayette is eligible for curbside recycling? Residents in the city of Lafayette, as well in the cities of Carencro and Youngsville, who live in a house, a duplex or triplex, and have the Total Environmental Charge on their Lafayette Utilities System (LUS) monthly bill. The recycling fee is $2.37 per month.


Eligible? Call the Recycling Foundation at 337-234-0066 to get a recycling cart delivered to your home. Lafayette uses a 64-gallon SmartCart system now, eliminating the need for you to sort your recyclables into paper, plastic, aluminum and glass. Just throw it all into one bin! Liz says, "I am sure that between just my husband and myself that we would use a full trash can of recyclables." My boyfriend and I fill up our recycling bin between pickup most of the time, but sometimes we don't have enough in the bin to put it out every week.


Now that you have your bin, make sure you know what's acceptable in the bin. Currently, the city of Lafayette has the following recycling rules (your city may differ, so check first).


  • Plastic containers numbered 1-7 inside the recycling symbol. Rinse all plastics, and remove tops and lids. (Example: food and drink containers, bleach and detergent bottles, shampoo bottles, soft drink and water bottles)
  • Newspaper and magazines (but tear your name and address off first!)
  • Catalogs, phone books
  • Mixed paper
  • Cereal and soft drink boxes
  • Cardboard (flatten any box!)
  • Shredded paper (this is only recyclable item that should be bagged)
  • Aluminum cans (rinse cans first!)
  • Steel/tin cans
  • Aluminum foil and pie pans (make sure it is clean and free of food debris) 
  • Glass food and beverage bottles and jars, all colors. Rinse them first and throw away the lids. (Examples: beer bottles, wine bottles [UM HELLO, LIKE ALL OF MY RECYCLING], pickles jars, jelly jars, baby food jars)


  • No plastic bags (even if they have the recycling symbol), no styrofoam, plastic packaging or saran wrap, six-pack rings or petroleum product bottles (motor oil, brake fluid, etc.)  
  • No plastic newspaper delivery bag
  • No wet or soiled paper
  • No pizza or burger boxes
  • No photos or carbon paper
  • No take-out food containers (which are most commonly styrofoam anyway - see bullet 1!)
  • No hardcover books (take 'em to the library!)
  • No lids from aluminum cans (you just gon' have to throw them away!)
  • No light bulbs
  • No drinking glasses
  • No window panes
  • No ceramics
Follow dem rules! It's important to keep the recycling stream free of contaminated or unacceptable materials.

The easiest way to keep your recyclable items together is to have a dedicated bin in your house, next to your trashcan. That way, you have the same amount of work to throw away as you do to recycle.

Lid: trash, Jar (rinsed!): recycling 

Household chemicals, paint and other hazardous materials are picked up once or twice a year (usually April and October) at Cajun Field. In the meantime, collect your materials for pickup and DON'T dump them in the ditch.



Now that your bin is full, when are you supposed to put it out for collection? It depends on where you live! Lafayette Consolidated Government has a GIS map that allows you to enter your address, and it will inform you which day is collection. Be sure to give it a minute to load!


The last step is to put your bin out the night before your pickup day! Then you can sit back and be satisfied that you're successfully reducing the amount of trash in your household.

The Lafayette Consolidated Government Environmental Quality Division Recycling Section oversees the curbside recycling contract with the Recycling Foundation. If you have problems with your recycling service or if you have recycling questions, please call the Recycling Foundation at 234-0066 or the Environmental Quality Division at 291-8529.

Do you have questions on recycling or other sustainable practices? Email or Facebook 'em to me and I may feature you in a future How Do I post!

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