Reduce & Reuse
10/24/2017 10:55AM ● Published by Robert Frey
Iberia Recycling Enthusiasts Strive to Keep Momentum
By Sherise Henry
Recycling enthusiasts in Iberia Parish received a bit of a setback in August when Iberia Parish government officials made the decision to scale back costs and stop the curbside pickup for recycling items. Iberia Parish President Larry Richard recently told the media that the decision would only affect about 10 percent of the population who took advantage of the service and would save the parish $30,000.
Although their numbers may be few, those in the community who support the recycling efforts made in the parish say that every contributor counts. Some residents who use the service such as a New Iberia resident Michelle Broussard say the inconvenience of having to use one of the five drop off locations does put a strain on her efforts.
“Curbside recycling is actually one of the things I was most excited for when I bought my house,” Broussard explains. “I could easily fill up my recycling bin every two weeks when they would pass. That amount of recycling would fill up the back seat of my car and then some. Between two jobs and the amount that I recycle, I’m worried about the feasibility of the drop off locations.”
Caitlin Russo, recycling enthusiast and blogger for Ecocajun.com agrees on the fact that convenience does encourage participation. “I think that regionally, recycling is not top-of-mind, or the default action of many people. I think the easier it is for the majority of the public, the more interest and participation there will be. If it’s easier to throw something away than to recycle it, unfortunately, many people will choose the easier option.”
Phanat Xanamane is the president of an Iberia Parish nonprofit organization titled Envision Da Berry. Their mission is to create partnerships that advance a brighter vision for Iberia Parish. Xanamane says it’s in the parish’s best interest to support the recycling community because that community’s support, although small in number, can affect potential income for the parish.
“It shows whenever there is trash lying around the community or when people are improperly disposing of waste. It leaves an impression on potential business owners who pay attention to the beautification of a community in their selection process,” Xanamane says. He also states that advocacy and education in recycling is needed in efforts to help the parish and the numbers of recyclers grow in the area. Envision Da Berry recently received a grant to help out in that area. The funding helped the organization in creating short videos now available on YouTube that help explain the importance of recycling in three vital areas.
“Keep Louisiana Beautiful gave us a grant of $1,000 to produce a video series. We wanted to specify in the video requirements for Iberia Parish because each municipality is different. We have three videos available that address 1) recycling, 2) bulk waste removal, 3) composting.”
Russo agrees that it’s important for those participating to follow the accepted item rules for efforts to be effective. “I know that in Lafayette Parish there have been problems with non-recyclable items being placed in recycling carts, and it causes a lot of problems at the facility with the machines and with sorting. Dropping off only the accepted recyclables helps to ensure a smooth recycling process,” Russo says.
Both Xanamane and Russo agree keeping momentum going around recycling efforts is a must. They both encourage those who have become concerned with the issue to continue the progress. “Keeping the participation level up is important for the continued possibility of having recycling. If participation is lowered with the drop off locations, it could possibly lead to recycling programs being cut altogether,” Russo says.
“It hurts when the recycling program is not at full capacity. Any steps that can be taken to gain community interest are needed. We can gain a lot of economic interest.” Xanamane adds.
Anyone interested in the informative recycling videos Envision Da Berry has produced. You can visit Youtube.com and type in Envision Da Berry to access them. The following is a list of drop off locations for recycled items around the parish. The recycle bins are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Sugarena-713 Northwest Bypass, New Iberia
Rynella-704 Rynella Road, New Iberia
Ward 8 Recreation Center- 803 Hubertville Road, Jeanerette
Sewer District-103 Boutte Road, Loreauville
Delcambre Boat Landing- 702 Wilfred Landry Street, Delcambre
The city of New Iberia will continue its recycling program within city limits.