Government & Politics

Don’t plan on recycling bottles from New Year’s Eve bash

By Karen Gadbois, The Lens staff writer

The much-touted recycling program for most of the city, announced as a sweetener in the recent contract negotiations with Metro Disposal and Richard’s Disposal, will not start with the new year, an attorney for the companies said, and it’s unclear just how soon residents will be putting out their paper, plastic and glass.

An attorney for the two companies said there’s no way either company will be able to offer the services by Jan. 1. That’s because the companies have to work out the logistics, order and distribute the bins, and run an education campaign, among other things, attorney Dan Davillier said.

Not the least of those other things is finalizing the contracts. The amended Metro contract, announced last month, is still being drafted and technical issues regarding recycling are “the primary holdup,”  Davillier said.

The city was vague when asked when the contract will be done and when the widely anticipated recycling will start.

“The completed contract amendment and recycling start date will be worked out in the coming weeks,” said Ryan Berni, spokesman for Mayor Mitch Landrieu.

The two companies provide all trash pickup outside of the French Quarter and Central Business District. That area is covered by SDT Waste and Debris Services, which did not offer recycling in its recent contract renegotiations.

David McDonough, owner and operator of Phoenix Recycling, has been providing recycling services for a fee to Orleans Parish residents since October 2007. The services to Orleans Parish make up 70 percent of the company’s’ revenues, he said.

McDonough expressed enthusiasm for a widespread recycling program but was disappointed that his company was unable to bid when the city insisted that trash collection and recycling be done by the same company. He said the city might have gotten a better deal if it had bid the recycling separately.

With the fate of 21 full-time employees in the balance, McDonough is  anxious to learn when his services will no longer be needed.

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About Karen Gadbois

Karen Gadbois co-founded The Lens. She now covers New Orleans government issues and writes about land use. With television reporter Lee Zurik she exposed widespread misuse of city recovery funds and led to guilty pleas in federal court. Her work attracted some of journalism's highest honors, including a Peabody Award, an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Award and a gold medal from Investigative Reporters and Editors. She can be reached at (504) 606-6013.

  • Beth

    What’s going to happen to Phoenix in this new deal? I’m happy with the service they provide, and the cost, but I don’t see how they can keep it up with the city raising rates now.

  • Beth

    Damn; I skipped that part. Sorry for the redundant question.

  • Ricardo

    Is Mitch pulling an Obama on us?

  • debi

    right now, my service for garbage pick up is with Richards. I pay 24 per month because I have two units.
    when this goes into effect, my pick up will be almost $50 per month! Now, it does include recycling (or atleast they say it will..who will monitor WHERE the recycling goes?), but I an angry that David didn’t get a shot at the recycling for the entire city…he is the one that brought it back to us and he DESERVED that shot. When my garbage/recycle pick up goes up to $50 I will not be able to afford David’s services too. In this time of job scarcity, there will be potentially 21 more people unemployed…I don’t want recycling from the city. Why can’t they offer a price (hike) with and without recycling? I want to support Phoenix.