Lafreniere Park in Jefferson Parish now has a recycling program. Starting this month, visitors can place empty plastic bottles, aluminum cans and other recyclables in 15 bright blue bins located in the park.
The program is the result of a two-year effort led by Patrons of Lafreniere Park board member Coleen Perilloux Landry with help from the Jefferson Parish Department of Environmental Affairs. It is supported in part by a matching grant from Keep America Beautiful, a Stamford, Conn.-based nonprofit with a mission to end littering, boost recycling and support community beautification efforts.
Landry, a retired Jefferson Parish law enforcement officer and dedicated environmentalist, said she had watched for years as park visitors attending youth soccer and baseball games, festivals and concerts had no choice but to throw away empty water bottles and soda cans. Jefferson Parish has a residential recycling program, but it does not include commercial or governmental properties like private businesses or parks.
Landry sees the Lafreniere program as a key step forward in educating the public and keeping hazardous waste — plastics, especially — out of local landfills and ponds, bayous and oceans, where it is hazardous to animals. One day, she hopes the plastic collected at the park can be recycled into benches and other amenities for visitors.
“We have got to get environmentally smart,” Landry said. “Recycling is the way to go.”
The Patrons of Lafreniere Park gave an initial $2,500 to cover five recycling bins. Jefferson Parish applied for and received a double matching grant through Keep America Beautiful, boosting funding to $7,500 total, enough to support 15 bins.