10 Ways to Reduce, Reuse & Recycle in NOLA

Residents of other cities are surprised to learn that recycling is so difficult for New Orleanians.  Considering our waning coastline and eroding wetlands, we should be the first to reduce our waste.  And perhaps we would, if it was easier to do.  After weeks of researching the internet and talking to anyone who would listen, I’ve found some ways to recycle locally.

  1. Sign up for curb-side service with Phoenix Recycling (504-322-7551).  For about $15 a month, this company will pick up every other week.  They accept plastics (1-6), aluminum, paper & cardboard.  The only downside is that they do not provide a recycling bin and mine got stolen within the first month. So find something ugly, write something embarrassing on it, and cross your fingers.
  2. Since Phoenix doesn’t take glass, and most of us have more glass (ahem, beer & wine bottles) than anything else, check out the new recycling program at Target (4500 Veteran’s Memorial).  Target estimates that they have collected about 6 million pounds of recycling so far this year in glass and plastic.  How can we not want to be a part of that?
  3. Quit buying bottled water and try a water filtration system.  Bottled water is the recycler’s archenemy.  Why pay for tap water wrapped in plastic?  Earth-loving aside, buying a travel mug and a filtration system can save your serious bucks, serious waste and some serious fridge room (a hot commodity around here).
  4. Since water filtration systems have a little plastic coated filter, I’ve been trying to find something to with it.  Whole Foods (3420 Veterans Memorial, 5600 Magazine St.) now has a program where they accept your filters and send them off for recycling!  If you bring it to the Conceirge Desk, they’ll be happy to take it off your hands.
  5. Resell your clothes, shoes and accessories.  Try Buffalo Exchange (3312 Magazine St.) and Funky Monky (3127 Magazine St.).  Or for baby and kid’s clothes, check out Kid to Kid (3501 Severn).  There is nothing better than getting a little cash for something you no longer need.
  6. If you can’t sell it, donate!  You can find someone who would love to reuse your stuff, just ring up The Salvation Army (504-835-7220), Vietnam Veterans of America (1-800-775-VETS) or drop off to the Bridge House (1160 Camp St.) or Goodwill (1000 S. Jeff Davis Pkwy).  Not only are you directly helping our community, you’re simplifying too.
  7. Don’t forget about the Green Project (2821 Marais St.) and how awesome they are.  We have the ability to donate all sorts of things: doors, windows, scraps, glass, pottery and much more.  Not only can you donate to them, but you can get great deals on their stuff too!
  8. Check out Zuka Baby (2124 Magazine St.), one of the few (if not only) natural parenting boutiques here in NOLA.  One of the easiest ways to make an environmental impact is to consider switching to cloth diapering.  Even if you can’t commit to CD full-time, it’s worth seeing how fun and easy it can be.  Zuka is the only shop in the city where you can touch and feel the many different diapering options for yourself.  The sales staff are very knowledgeable and can give some great tips.
  9. Hang a clothesline in your backyard.  It is so easy to hang a load of clothes a day, it reduces the amount of energy you are consuming and it even looks pretty hanging in your yard.  But beware, take down your clothes as soon as the sky gets gray or you’ll be using your dryer afterall!
  10. Get creative and make it yourself!  I’ll soon be posting some easy & foolproof DIY recipes for household cleaners & beauty products.  Not everything that comes in plastic packaging is better for you or your family.  Instead of using baby wipes, try a spray bottle filled with EVOO, baby shampoo and warm water.  You can reuse your washcloths hundreds of times & save the wipes for emergencies.  Or if you’re like me and always have a last serving of yogurt that you never want to eat, try smearing a little on your face with a cotton ball.  Yogurt is, hands down, the best face wash I’ve ever tried – and it feels great going on!  Get online and get creative!
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