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City of New Orleans Awarded Federal Grant for Expansion of Residential Recycling Services and Education

NEW ORLEANS — The City of New Orleans today announced that it has been awarded $3,982,000 from the Solid Waste Infrastructure for Recycling for Communities (SWIFR) program from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to expand its residential recycling program, continue recycling outreach and education and develop a Solid Waste Master Plan (SWMP) to guide the City’s future waste diversion efforts.

“New Orleans continues to promote and accelerate an ambitious, equitable and environmentally friendly climate agenda that will build a healthier and more resilient city,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell. “This major award from the EPA will make recycling more accessible to all our residents and set our city on a path to greatly achieve our ambitious waste diversion goals from our Climate Action Plan. Thank you to our federal partners, as well as The Recycling Partnership, for helping make this initiative a reality. This continued spirit of collaboration and support moving forward will help us build a better, cleaner, greener and brighter future for New Orleans.”

Organic waste in the city’s trash and sewage is the source of about six percent of the community-wide greenhouse gas emissions. Currently, the City estimates that under five percent of recyclable materials are recycled and diverted from residential and commercial waste streams. The City’s latest Climate Action Plan calls for significant investment in both infrastructure and public education to increase our waste diversion rate, with a goal of reaching a 25 percent recycling rate by 2030. The funded project has three goals to work towards the Climate Action Plan.

  • To purchase and deliver residential recycling carts to all eligible households that have not already opted into the service
    • This will ensure universal and equitable access to curbside recycling and is anticipated to provide recycling access to about 73,000 new households and replace another 10,000 older and damaged recycling carts
  • To create a 10-year Solid Waste Master Plan (SWMP) that will develop a comprehensive waste diversion strategy and roadmap for the city
    • The SWMP will, at a minimum, include an evaluation of regional recycling processing infrastructure and capacity, explore opportunities to allow for organics diversion, including food waste, and explore infrastructure and policy options to ensure waste diversion is happening in multifamily and commercial operations
  • To educate residents on the benefits of recycling and what can be recycled in their residential carts

It is estimated that this project will initially recycle about 19,000 tons per year of readily usable recyclable materials that are currently being landfilled in the city and up to 30,000 tons annually in future years as the program matures.

Partnering with the City of New Orleans on the project is The Recycling Partnership, a mission-driven non-governmental organization advancing the circular economy by building a better recycling system in the U.S. communities and states. The Recycling Partnership has committed $1.4 million in grant funds to supplement funding from the EPA award to purchase additional residential recycling carts, as well as help the City develop and deploy a community-wide education and outreach campaign to support the rollout of expanded recycling services, increase residential recycling rates and decrease recycling contamination.

“I’m excited to celebrate this funding for the SWIFR Program, which is an investment in the future of New Orleans. By expanding recycling access, developing a comprehensive Solid Waste Master Plan and educating Louisianans, we are taking meaningful steps toward a greener, more sustainable city. I’m committed to building a cleaner, healthier and more vibrant New Orleans and Louisiana for generations to come,” said Congressman Troy A. Carter, Sr. (LA-02).

“The Recycling Partnership was thrilled to learn that New Orleans would be receiving an EPA SWIFR grant,” said Charlotte Pitt, Director of Grant Development at The Recycling Partnership. “Having worked with the city on recent recycling improvement initiatives, we know how committed they are to ensuring all residents can recycle and being able to provide recycling access and education to every single-family residential home is a great step towards that goal.”

The SWIFR program provides grants to implement the National Recycling Strategy to improve post-consumer materials management and infrastructure, support improvements to local post-consumer materials management and recycling programs and assist local waste management authorities in making improvements to local waste management systems. The award for the City of New Orleans was one of 25 awards and part of approximately $73 million in SWIFR awards for communities made nationwide. More information can be found here.

Mayor Cantrell’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) Task Force crafted the City’s proposal. The City created the multi-departmental IIJA Task Force in January 2022 to analyze infrastructure needs within the City and secure funding from the new federal infrastructure law.


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