Only 35 to 40 eligible households and small businesses in New Orleans’s French Quarter and Downtown Development District — out of 4,062 — are recycling glass, despite a voluntary program encouraging them to do so. The low rate translates to monthly costs of $123 per participant for the service provided by Empire Janitorial Sales & Services, who also picks up the area’s trash and recycling. Bars, hotels, restaurants, and multi-family buildings with more than four units are excluded from the program, as are business with more than 35 gallons of garbage per pickup.
The city's contract with Empire rose from a $2.27 monthly recycling charge per unit to $3.50 per unit when glass was added to the stream for a total of $170,604 per month for all recycling collections.
Cynthia Sylvain-Lear, the city's sanitation director, is considering implementing a citywide campaign with the Young Leadership Council to raise awareness for recycling in general, motivated by the fact that the recycling program saved the city nearly $1 million in landfill tipping fees last year.