bye chemicals!

I hope that you were able to bring your chemicals to Cajun Field last week, but if not, I hope you're preparing for the spring collection!

We saw tons of cars in line, waiting to drop off their paint and other household chemicals. LCG Environmental Quality Manager Mark Pope says that the household collection day has been going on for about 22 years now. This year, he says he saw 700 cars come through the line, more than on previous collection days.

All workers are properly trained in chemical disposal, to ensure that no spills or accidents happen.

About 28.5 tons of waste were collected, free of charge to residents. As much of the waste as possible is recycled or repurposed in various ways, so it can be spared from landfills. "For example, latex paint that is still potent is collected and goes to cement manufacturers to be used as a stabilizer in concrete mix," says Pope. "Mercury is recycled. And chemicals that have a “BTU value” (i.e., British Thermal Unit, meaning they contain energy potential) are sent to be stabilized and properly mixed (“fuel blending”) to be sold as an energy source for things such as cement kilns."

The next household chemical collection day will be held next spring at Cajun Field.


This past Saturday was a big day for Lafayette. Over 3,000 students and volunteers came together under the organization of United Way of Acadiana for a Day of Action, also known as the UL Big Event. One of the many volunteer projects was Community Releaf, where 200 trees will be planted at parks around the city.

Another project was a massive litter cleanup and visual display. 1,000 students worked in teams of 25 to pick up litter around the city, and it was collected and brought to the grassy field across from Cajun Field. There, eight-foot tall chicken-coop letters spelling #YARDWORK were on display, and all the collected litter filled up the letters. It is incredible to see.

Each letter was made up of specific types of trash. The # and Y were composed of trash from the Vermilion River. If only I could convey to you how fragrant it was out in that open, sunny field in front of those letters. Every so often, the wind would blow a little and the smell would fill our noses.

Also of note, our river is not the place for you to dump a CPAP machine. JUST SAYIN'.

The A, R, R and K were all filled with miscellaneous litter.

The D was dedicated to water bottles and other plastic bottles.

The W ended up holding trashed auto parts. Nothing like wrecked bumpers left on our roadways.

The O was full of illegal road signs. These are one of the biggest eyesores in the city, so it's nice to see them get cleaned up. If you insist on using yard signs, make sure to follow local sign ordinances first (page 26, you're welcome.)

I pitched in by taking a walk around my neighborhood Saturday morning and collected a bag full of trash - mainly drink bottles and cigarette butts. My boyfriend and I hopped on our bikes to head to the litter letters, me with a basket full of trash. I also couldn't help myself from picking up some litter on our bike ride. Thank you, whoever left half a cardboard box that used to hold maxipads. It's now in the R.

I've never felt so eco-nerdy as I did when riding my bicycle with a basket full of trash. It was like Treehugger ET Phone Home. I kept waiting for my bike to levitate, but it never did.

If you haven't checked out the giant #YARDWORK yet, make your way past Cajun Field soon, where the letters will remain at least through Homecoming on Saturday. (And if that doesn't inspire you to recycle while tailgating, then I'm just going to have to go stronger on the persuasion!)

Awesome job to everyone who spent their Saturday (and even Friday) hard at work and elbow-deep in trash!

The Litter Letter Project created this awesome time lapse video of the letters getting filled up. This was seriously all trash in our waterways and on our roads - our front yard. CLEAN. IT. UP.


Green Travel | Boston, MA

I place a lot of Eco Cajun's focus on a green life at home, because that’s simply where each of us can make the biggest impact on our footprint. But it’s important to look beyond home sometimes. Anytime I travel, I inevitably take notes on what other cities or areas are doing in terms of recycling, conservation, alternative transportation and public outreach.


I am really not cool enough to win awards

As part of a series of Project Front Yard events this month, Lafayette Consolidated Government held the first annual Project Front Yard awards this week. The ceremony was held at IBERIABANK, and opening remarks were made by Acadiana IBERIABANK President Jerry Vascou. He recalled the time when he and his wife first moved to Lafayette, and his first impression of the city was not a positive one. The city's gateways were not presentable or indicative of the kind of city Lafayette is. He's since changed his tune, and has become dedicated to beautification initiatives, such as Project Front Yard.


Gather All Your Chemicals! It's Time for Disposal!

If you've got a garage full of hazardous waste, it's time to clean out, because this Saturday is Household Chemical Day at Cajun Field!


Introducing Project Front Yard!

I tend to write about ways you can go greener as an individual, because action always starts with one person. But it feels empowering when larger initiatives come about that echo your own mission. Then you feel a little less like a small fish in a very large pond.

I'm so thrilled and inspired by the formation of Project Front Yard, Lafayette's newest beautification initiative. Projects under the iniative include the revitalization of gateways into the area, improved streetscapes, litter removal and prevention, public art and Vermilion River cleanup. The goal is to clean up and beautify all these aspects, as they are Lafayette's collective "front yard." We have a great community, and now we are cleaning up the physical curb appeal to match our personality!

It's important for us to take a little pride in our community and keep things tidy, for both ourselves and for visitors. You remember how you always had to clean up the house before visitors came, so they wouldn't see the little bits of mess here and there...this is practically the same thing! We always have visitors, so it's important to keep Lafayette clean all the time.


local midweek farmer's market

Farmer's markets are a great way to get fresh produce and support local farms, but if you are like me, you find there's just one problem: 8:00 on a Saturday morning is too early!

Getting up and out the door for a 9:00 gym class is usually about the earliest I can manage, if I'm not just sleeping in. And of course most of the good stuff is gone by 10:00. So what am I, and the other lazy people, to do?

Ohhh snap! Wednesday afternoons - the farmer's market for us non-morning people! Every Wednesday in October and November, head on out to the Horse Farm and check out the offerings from local vendors.

It's a festivus for the rest of -- oh, wait, that doesn't quite work.

So, grab your cloth bags and stop by the Horse Farm on Wednesday afternoons in November and December, and pick you up some great local produce! And on Saturday mornings, I won't tell anyone how late you sleep.

gettin' crafty with it

It's been a minute since I've completed a good eco-friendly craft project. Between multitasking on five different things at any given time, my track record of craft execution and just not needing to make anything, my project roster has suffered.

But! I've made a few things over the past couple years that I'm pretty proud of, so let's recap my Eco Cajun craft history, shall we?


celebrating jolie's louisiana bistro's moment of fame

One of my favorite things about Lafayette is the sheer number of local restaurants serving regional dishes. And it's become a little something we are known for, having been named one of the 2013 Top 10 Foodie Cities and the 2012 Southern Living Tastiest Town. Let's just say, we live to eat.

The Cooking Channel's Chuck's Eat the Street recently joined in the epicurean recognition and filmed an episode highlighting four of Pinhook Road's unique restaurants, Jolie's Louisiana Bistro, Bread & Circus Provisions, Cafe Vermilionville and Krazy Klaws.

Jolie's held a small viewing party for the episode premiere, and treated us to a sample of some of their dishes.


the essential arsenal of green items

Going green starts with making a few small changes here and there. I always tend to tell people that it doesn't require you to immediate stop shaving your pits and quit washing your hair. I mean, you can choose to do that if you want...but don't point the finger at me when people might ask why!

So, what if you're starting your green journey? Where do you begin? It can be a little confusing to figure out what to do or have, so I'm doing a series of posts on just how to start! First up was Recycling 101. Now, we'll move on to which items to pack in your green arsenal!

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