By Karen Gadbois, The Lens staff writer |

Anyone excited, frustrated or just plain interested in the city’s latest effort to reinstate curbside recycling by May will have plenty to listen to at tomorrow’s meeting of the City Council’s Sanitation Committee.

Most of the agenda is dedicated to the matter, from next week’s expected bid opening for the large recycling carts to the contracts with the haulers to the fact that residents will have to ask to be part of the program.

For those who can’t make the 11 a.m. meeting in the City Council chambers, or watch it on the city’s cable-access channel, The Lens will be tweeting from the meeting. You can follow our Twitter feed at the bottom of our home page, or track us through your favorite Twitter app at thelensnola.

The recycling program had a slight blip last week when the scheduled bid opening for 50,000 recycling carts was put off for another week; the bids will now be opened Friday. City spokesman Ryan Berni said some bidders had questions, and in fairness, the questions and answers were provided to all other potential bidders, and the bid period extended for them to digest for the answers.

Berni said the eight-day delay “should have no impact on the deadline to deliver curbside recycling to our residents.”

The bid documents said the goal was to begin recycling by May 2.

Recycling was in place before Hurricane Katrina, but it never resumed. Mayor Mitch Landrieu renegotiated two of the city’s three trash-hauling contracts, and the haulers – Richards Disposal and Metro Disposal – agreed to add recycling. The third contractor, SDT, has not added the service to its coverage area, primarily the French Quarter and the Central Business District.

Unlike the contractors’ large trash carts, which are mostly 96-gallon wheeled bins, the smaller 64-gallon recycling carts will be bought and owned by the city.

Until the bids are open Friday, it’s unclear how much they might cost, but the amount could run into the millions.

Thought the two haulers offering the service pick up trash at more than 120,000 residences, the city is ordering only 50,000 carts because residents have to opt in to the program, requesting a cart.

Berni said about 6,000 people have signed up for carts since the city started taking orders on Feb. 28. Residents can sign up for the program here.

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...