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Katie VanDeventer

Founder, YLC Recycles

Cheryl Gerber Photographs

New Orleanians love to party, but festivals, concerts and cookouts create massive amounts of waste. What becomes of this trash? If YLC Recycles can step in, recycling will become a major part of New Orleans culture.

While volunteering for Young Leadership Council’s popular concert series, Wednesday at the Square, Katie VanDeventer wanted to promote recycling at the event. The YLC helped her launch her own program, YLC Recycles, providing a budget and volunteers. With VanDeventer’s wealth of knowledge from her work at Progressive Waste Solutions, her program hit the ground running.

Soon, Wednesday at the Square featured a centrally located Recycling Station. Concertgoers bring recyclable items to the tent (such as paper, plastic, aluminum and cardboard) and receive a raffle ticket in exchange. Lucky ticket holders may win all sorts of raffle prizes, from $50 gift certificates to an iPad. With this approach, the program incentivizes people to recycle in an easy, stress-free way.
Because events are typically held at night or on weekends, when garbage and recycling companies don’t work, YLC Recycles has filled an important niche in the New Orleans community. In fact, YLC Recycles has branched out to serve a variety of events, such as Bayou Boogaloo and the 610 Stompers Ball Crawl, with great results. VanDeventer is quick to note that YLC Recycles serves any size event, large or small.

Managing the logistics of this new recycling program presents its own challenges. Getting bins to events and then servicing them can be tricky, and some recyclable materials, such as glass, are difficult to get processed in New Orleans.

VanDeventer is proud of her organization’s partnerships with YLC and the New Orleans Mission, which has a box truck and helps haul away the recyclables. Also, according to VanDeventer, YLC Recycles has the “hardest-working volunteers in the whole wide world.” She hopes her team’s enthusiasm influences New Orleans citizens as a point of pride. “We love our city, we love our wetlands, we love our Saints, and we love recycling!”

YLC Recycles needs volunteers who are passionate about recycling and the environment. Volunteers work four-hour shifts, and they often receive perks such as free T-shirts, food, drink and event entries. In addition, YLC Recycles needs organizations with box trucks (such as a U-haul) for trips to the recycling center. Donation bins are wanted as well. The organization also welcomes raffle prize donations.

Hosting an event?

Contact YLC Recycles; their team will help you form a plan to integrate recycling into your business or occasion.
For more information, call 728-8781, email YLC Recycles@gmail.com or visit YLCNola.org/display/ylc-recycles.


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