City of Shreveport may part ways with its recycling partner

Published: Jul. 25, 2017 at 7:51 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 25, 2017 at 10:36 PM CDT
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SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - The City of Shreveport may part ways with a private recycling partner that has been collecting recyclables in the city for almost 10 years.

City officials claim an internal audit of their recycling services released to them in May shows not enough is being done to keep more waste out of the city's landfills.

According to the audit, the city and Pratt Paper signed a ten-year agreement back in 2007 for the launch of the city's "Just Curb It" recycling program. In it, the city would provide the recycling bins and charge a monthly $2.50 fee while Pratt would collect the recyclables every week and educate the community about recycling.

The city outlined its goal for the program to divert 20%-30% of its waste from its landfill.

"That goal was set in 2010 when the program was started and it's never been met, unfortunately," Shreveport Chief Administrative Officer Brian Crawford told KSLA during the city council's Audit and Finance Committee meeting last week.

The audit revealed how since 2010, the city has only recycled 8% of its waste.

"It appeared that the provisions reviewed were being complied with, for the most part, by the City and Pratt. However, we noted that although Pratt had produced public service announcements, particularly in the early phases of the recycling program; and, they offer tours of the recycling facilities to schools and the public, there is room for improvement to educate the public," the audit reads.

Auditors recommended to the city that they suggest other ways of continuously educating the public to Pratt including billboards and providing educational materials at schools, libraries, recreation centers and neighborhood/homeowner association meetings.

The auditors also suggested adding a link to the "Just Curb It" program on the Recycling Section of the city's website.

KSLA asked Shreveport residents how they believe their recycling services have been.

"It's pretty good. They come out on time and what not and recycle service is pretty good," 12-year resident Kenyatta Washington said.

However, Washington also said he would like more recycling space.

"We could have some bigger bins or what not. I have a lot of soda cans, a lot of milk cartons and gallon cans. A lot of stuff," he said.

One street over, carpenter Tyler Neeles has lived in Shreveport for three months and he said he's already doubting the program when all of his recyclables go into one truck every week.

"I think there should be a better organization system between glass and plastic and aluminum or tin or anything of that nature just so I feel more confident that my waste is getting recycled," said Neeles.

The audit reads in 2015, the City of Shreveport received nearly 3,983 complaints about Pratt missing pick-ups, 789 complains about damaged carts, 438 missed backdoor pick-up complaints, 415 complaints about needing a cart and 119 requests for knowing when the collection times were.

During their audit and finance committee meeting last week, city leaders told KSLA they will not be renewing their agreement with Pratt.

Even with 8% of their waste being recycled, the audit showed the city saved $185,205 and its leaders said they want to know how much more they could save by meeting their goal.

"It could potentially save hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars if everybody participated in the program but we've had some challenges with our vendor as well in not picking up recycling as it's scheduled to be picked up too and so a lot of those things will be talked about in the negotiations with a new vendor," Crawford said.

The agreement between the city and Pratt expires in October.

KSLA contacted the manager of Pratt's Shreveport plant for an interview but we have not heard back yet.

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