With Shreveport's City Council about to debate the idea of a another recycling plan, one council member is sounding a warning - again - about city's next move.

Councilman John Nickelson, who along with District D rep Grayson Boucher, had expressed concern that any new recycling deal...should really recycle.

This weekend, Nickelson had this to say about the latest proposed deal:

The agreement we make with the company or companies that provide our recycling services should require their best efforts to recycle as much material as possible and regular reporting to verify the volume of recyclable material collected, the types and quantities of materials actually recycled, and the revenues generated by the sale of those materials. The agreement that expired last fall only required the company with which the city partnered to collect the contents of the blue recycling cans we all have at our homes. It did not require reporting to verify what was actually recycled – and in fact, it did not require the company that collected the contents of the blue cans to recycle anything.

In other words, the agreement between the city and former recycler Republic Services didn't mandate actual recycling, just the removal of materials separated by residents.

Nickelson goes on to say that among the problems with the 5-year, almost $10 million deal with C. Edwards Concepts to be considered by the council, is basically the same, i.e., absent of proof of actual recycling.

The proposed agreement between the city and C. Edwards Concepts has the exact same problem - it requires only that the contractor collect the contents of our blue bins, and requires no backend reporting to ensure that the recyclable materials collected are actually recycled. Shreveport can do better, and there are plenty of examples of cities that have.

In closing, Councilman Nickelson underlines the point that before the council weighs the pros and cons of any new deal, especially the one to be considered, guarantees of services to be delivered must be in place. In other words, why should should Shreveport citizens pay a fee for recycling, if all those recyclables are being trucked out of town and buried in some other city's landfill?

The City Council has a duty to spend taxpayers' money prudently. Whether we approve or reject a $10 million dollar contract with holes big enough to drive a truck through will be a telling litmus test of whether we have the collective capacity to do so.

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