By Karen Gadbois, The Lens staff writer |

As you clean up from the first weekend of Jazz Fest, you may be tempted to toss the empty glass bottles into the recycling bin, along with the newspapers and plastics.

You need to fight that temptation.

Glass is not accepted in the city’s recycling program that starts this week.

The literature from the city isn’t explicit about what’s not accepted, though it does spell out in great detail what they’re taking, including different kinds of cardboard, plastic numbered 1 through 7 and all manner of printed material.

Though glass isn’t allowed, the two trash contractors offering the service are taking far more than was allowed before Katrina. Previously, junk mail wasn’t eligible, nor were plastics beyond those numbered 1 or 2.

But for the environmentally conscious who have been contracting with Phoenix Recycling recently, it’s not a change at all.

“There are no markets in the area for glass recycling,” explained Phoenix’s David McDonough.

Dar Wolnik, a Fortin Street resident, plans to participate in the new curbside program but hopes that city “would also encourage the state to enact a bottle bill to encourage manufactures to recycle glass rather than seeing it added to the program.”

She said the amount of room glass takes up “makes it important to practice reuse and reduce before attempting recycling.”

With much fanfare, the city rolled out a recycling program that included registering for a black 64-gallon cart. Some neighborhoods voiced concerns that the carts would be too large, and the administration decided to let residents use their old blue recycling bins.

Recycling is being offered by Metro Disposal and Richard’s Disposal, who serve most of the city. SDT Waste & Debris, which serves the French Quarter and the Central Business District, is not providing recycling.

More than four days’ worth of registration information was lost because of computer problems, and residents are encouraged to ensure that they’ve registered.

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...