Thousands of Lafayette residents might be wondering why they now have a recycling cart in their driveway.
Every home in Lafayette has either received or is scheduled to soon receive a new 96-gallon recycling cart as the city switches over to a new contractor effective Monday.
The new contract also brings other changes: Glass will no longer be accepted, and recycling pickup will be on the same day as regular trash service.
Under the old contract, recycling carts were given out by request, and only half of the roughly 38,100 eligible households had carts, even though all eligible households pay for the service.
The former contractor, Progressive Waste Solutions, is in the process of picking up the old brown 64-gallon recycling carts, and the new contractor, Republic Services, is delivering blue 96-gallon carts to every household in the city, including the roughly 19,000 homes that have not been participating in the recycling program.
All the new carts are scheduled to be delivered by Sunday.
City-Parish Environmental Quality Manager Mark Pope said delivering a cart to every household should encourage more residents to participate and boost recycling rates above the current level of about 50 percent.
“I’m hoping we reach 60-plus percent right off the bat and continue improving it from there,” Pope said.
Republic Services already has the contract for trash service in Lafayette, and the new 96-gallon recycling carts look similar to Republic’s trash carts but have a light-blue lid imprinted with the word “recyclables.”
Pope said residents are asked to recycle only No. 1 and No. 2 plastics and to stop recycling glass starting Monday.
Several cities have stopped recycling glass because there is a limited market for it.
“No recycling processors will take the glass. We have nowhere to send it,” Pope said.
The glass collected for recycling in Lafayette has been sent to the landfill for about five years, he said.
Rural residents can still bring recycling to a drop-off center under the new contract, but that center will move next week from I-G Lane in Lafayette to the Republic Services office, 201 Mire Road, in Scott.
The drop-off site will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday.
Unlike the old drop-off site, the new one will be staffed, and workers will be checking identification to verify parish residency.
There was talk last year of expanding recycling pickup beyond the city limits, but the city-parish administration decided against the expansion, citing costs.
The monthly recycling fee will remain at $2.40 per household until November 2017, when it could go up based on inflation using a formula tied the Consumer Price Index.
Annual rate increases would be capped at 8 percent.