Recycling in Lafayette Parish Schools

If you live within Lafayette Parish, and especially if you have school-age children, now is your chance to make your voice heard to adopt recycling in every school. The Lafayette Parish School System will be reviewing proposals this week and making a selection for a new solid waste contract. However, the Request for Proposals only contains an option for recycling services, not a requirement.

Proposals are due this coming Wednesday, June 29, and the selection committee will be reviewing and ranking the proposals on Thursday, June 30, before making their recommendation to the school board on Wednesday, July 6.

Please take a moment this week to email your school board representative and let them know you want to see recycling services in all Lafayette Parish schools as part of the new solid waste contract.

Much of this push for parishwide recycling services comes from two dedicated Woodvale Elementary teachers, Amanda Waddle and Catherine Schoeffler Comeaux. For the past year, they collected recyclables throughout school and personally hauled them home to place in their curbside bins. And in true teacher fashion, they compiled their collection data throughout the year and prepared a thorough report of the how much they recycled and the impact on the environment. It's a valiant effort, but they can't do it alone.

Although I don't have children of my own, I want to see this happen, because in school is where I began to learn about recycling and environmentalism. As I stated in my own letter to the school board member:

When I was in middle school, I had a teacher read us lessons from the book 50 Simple Things Kids Can Do to Save the World. Even in 1996, we learned about ways to be more earth-friendly, from cutting plastic six-pack rings to what materials are recyclable, to turning off the light when we're not in a room. 

Those classroom lessons, combined with my parents participating in Lafayette's curbside recycling, got me in the habit of thinking green and started my passion for environmentalism. Over the years, I have remained dedicated to recycling and reducing my impact on the environment, and now I regularly publish blog posts on my website, Eco Cajun, to share ways that others in our community can live greener.

I think practicing recycling sets an important precedent for students, and allows for instruction and educational opportunities to teach why it's important to protect the earth and its natural resources. One of the most important aspects to changing habits, especially for recycling, is learning to do so at a younger age. Wouldn't it be great for Lafayette Parish students to supplement what they learn by practicing recycling every day?  

Project Front Yard has worked with schools for the past two years to conduct a plastic bag roundup, with students collecting thousands of plastic bags that were then sent off to a company that makes recycled plastic park benches. This has served as a valuable project and teaching tool.

I don't yet have children, but so many of my friends do, and it's extremely important for them to know why we should protect our environment and reduce our trash impact as much as possible. If children are our future, then it's up to us to set them on the path to sustainability and responsibility early in life.

As Gretchen from the UL Lafayette Office of Sustainability says, "Lafayette Parish has had curbside collection for decades. UL has had a full scale system for many years, including at Ragin' Cajun Athletic events. Our wonderful festivals and Downtown Alive have recycling. It is time for our K-12 students to have the same access in their learning environment."

(Don't know who your school board member is?)
  • Superintendent - Dr. Donald W. Aguillard:
  • Director of Planning and Facilities - Mr. Kyle Bordelon:
  • Chief Academic Officer - Annette Samac:
  • Chief Administrative Officer - Joe Craig:
  • District 1 - Mary Morrison
  • District 2 - Tommy Angelle (President)
  • District 3 - Elroy Broussard
  • District 4 - Dr. Tehmi Chassion
  • District 5 - Mr. Britt Latiolais
  • District 6 - Justin Centanni -
  • District 7 - Dawn L Morris (Vice-President)
  • District 8 - Erick Knezek
  • District 9 - Jeremy Hidalgo

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