Recycling Options for Apartment Renters

With Lafayette Parish's recycling contract with the Recycling Foundation (turned Progressive Waste) coming up for renewal soon, the Department of Public Works looked at proposals from other companies and is looking at a contract renewal vote before the end of the year.

This is the perfect time to look at the recycling services currently provided within the city and parish: curbside residential pickup (which all residents pay for whether they have a cart or not; check out my Recycling 101 blog post), paid business recycling (which is optional), and a public collection site for all residents to use.

A large group of residents who miss out are apartment renters. They make up a concentrated portion of the city, but the majority are not going to haul their recyclables to the public collection site, whether it's because of inconvenience or indifference.

Over the years, service to accommodate renters has changed. When I first moved to an apartment in 2009, every fire station in Lafayette had a group of bins for recycling collection. I could easily drive down the street to my nearest fire station and drop off a trash can full of my recyclables.

Within a year or so, the fire stations eliminated their collection sites, leaving me with the choice to drive across town to the public collection site. Orrrrr I could just bring it to my parents' house and mooch off their curbside cart.

Even with being a recycling-loving treehugger, driving across town was inconvenient, and I would let the recyclables pile up inside the apartment until it was ridiculous.

I knew then that if I didn't want to make the drive, other residents certainly would not want to either.

When I moved to another apartment a few years later, I was closer to the public collection site, but still not dedicated to making the trip often with a trunk full of recyclables.

Imagine my excitement when my complex added a few recycling dumpsters from Waste Management next to the trash dumpsters. Now all I had to do was stop on my way out of the parking lot and empty my recycling bin. Much more convenient!

See how easy it is to recycle at this apartment complex? Trash on the left, recyclables on the right!

Although I've been out of my apartment for almost two years, I know that the number of apartment complexes in Lafayette with recycling service is still limited. With a high concentration of residents, it would make a huge impact for all complexes to offer recycling, whether it's required by a contract or not. The volume of recycled materials could grow tremendously if the service is made available to renters. Just think of all the cardboard boxes on moving day! Which always felt like every day while living in an apartment.

The Daily Advertiser asks, will a new contract cover apartments? It's too soon to say, but we can hope!

What can I do in the meantime?

If you live in in the city of Lafayette, and you live in an apartment or other rental that does not have a recycling bin, you can still collect your cans, bottles, paper and cardboard and bring it to the Recycling Foundation off IG Lane.  

An important note: Glass is NOT accepted at the collection facility!

If you're interested in having recycling pickup, talk to your apartment complex and ask if they'll consider getting the service, and find out what it would take for them to get it. You can even give them provider information so they can inquire about services:
Progressive Waste Solutions (dumpsters)
310 Lexington Road, Rayne, LA

Waste Management (dumpsters)
111 Wilfred Road, Lafayette, LA

Recycling Foundation (bins or dumpsters)
(337) 234-0066

Additionally, you can contact the Acadiana Apartment Association for possible assistance in getting your complex to recycle.

A few months back, I met with the board of a condo complex in town. They were interested in starting a recycling program, but didn't know where to start. They were also concerned about getting the condo residents on board with the program and recycling properly. I gave them a list of reasons why residents should recycle, tips on how to make it easier within the home and a list of accepted/unaccepted materials, all of which they could incorporate into their monthly newsletters. The issue of getting residents to recycle correctly is another battle to face. #NoFoodIntheRecyclingBin

If enough people are interested and talk to their apartment complexes about getting recycling services, Lafayette renters could see more recycling options, whether it's covered by a new city contract or not.

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