Glass recycling hasn't been on New Orleans' radar for a couple of years — first, municipal recycling pickup didn't return to the city following Hurricane Katrina, then the national economic fallout forced private recycling companies like Phoenix Recycling to stop picking up glass because recycling processors no longer were buying. Recycling drop-off sites, like the Green Project, also stopped accepting glass. Instead, the city's glass discards have headed straight to the landfill.
But earlier this year, Target started accepting recyclables, including glass, at its big box outlets. And now NOLA Glass (258 Pine St.), a New Orleans nonprofit organization, plans to process recycled glass into sand for coastal restoration projects.
"We hope that using our glass waste for projects in coastal restoration, one of the most important issues our community faces, will keep these projects fresh in the minds of residents, business and community leaders and visitors to our area," NOLA Glass' Stephen O'Connor said in a news release. It'll target restaurants and bars — businesses dealing with plenty of glass — for a majority of its collection efforts. NOLA Glass also plans to partner with schools to create campus-wide recycling programs and recycling education programs.
"Our program will ... foster the idea that reducing waste and the reuse and repurposing of materials is the norm in a sustainable society," O'Connor said.
The organization also hopes a glass recycling facility in the city will motivate city government to reinstate municipal recycling, a hope echoed in Mayor Mitch Landrieu's announcement last week of a city-sponsored drop-off site and in the City Council. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org. — Alex Woodward