Lauren 'Rainbow Girl' Lumsford separates recycle items into various bins at her home in Tulsa. JAMES GIBBARD/Tulsa World
Tulsa's trash board voted Tuesday to give at least $15,000 to the Metropolitan Environmental Trust to extend the hours of its city recycling drop-off sites during July and possibly longer.
The action is in response to the suspension of the city's curbside recycling program, which has about 16,000 subscribers, starting at the first of the month.
An emergency trash program was recently announced for July 2 to Sept. 30 since the city's hauler, Tulsa Refuse Inc., decided at the last minute that it can't continue beyond its June 30 contract expiration due to equipment and staffing problems.
The city's new hauler, NeWSolutions, is starting work three months early with an abbreviated service that for former TRI customers involves once-a-week service, different service days and a lower monthly rate of $10.52.
Also, recycling pickup is temporarily halted - but not for long. As households begin receiving their new trash and recycling carts for the new system that launches Oct. 1, residents can resume setting out recyclables for collection.
Cart deliveries start July 16 at a rate of up to 15,000 homes per week. The process is expected to take until mid-September; some households will be without recycling collection for only a couple of weeks, while others will be affected two months or so.
MET Executive Director Michael Patton asked the board for $15,000 to extend the hours at Tulsa's five recycling drop-off sites during at least July and to leave the option of continuing the funding in August and September.
If extra money is generated through recyclables sales, Patton said, he'll share that with the trash board - formally known as the Tulsa Authority for the Recovery of Energy.
Patton said the 16,000 households that participate in the curbside program translate to about 50,000 Tulsans who are used to recycling.
"What would happen?" he asked. "Would they continue saving their recyclables until their carts arrive? Some would, but some would just quit. We've been getting a lot of calls about what to do. Coming to the MET sites is an option for them to stay active."
The five Tulsa sites, which operate seven days a week, usually close in the mid-afternoon but will stay open until 7:30 p.m. in July.
The sites accept plastic bottles, glass bottles, newspapers, magazines, aluminum cans, phone books, batteries, eyeglasses, cooking oil, motor oil.
The MET, established in 1993, employs more than 120 people with disabilities to work 13 sites in the metro region, and the added hours will mean more jobs, Patton said.
The MET's total recycling budget is $806,401 for the upcoming fiscal year, with $300,000 coming from the city through the trash board.
Other MET members, including Tulsa County and nine suburbs, pay $179,000 total. Donations and grants usually total more than $50,000.
The balance is offset by the sale of recyclables.
Tulsa MET Recycling Centers
Effective in July, closed on the Fourth of July
North Tulsa Center, 3720 E. Admiral Place:
8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. daily
East Tulsa Center, 12466 E. 21st St.:
8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Saturday, noon to 7:30 p.m. Sunday
Central Tulsa Center, 3495 S. Sheridan Road:
9:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. daily
South Tulsa Center, 2019 E. 81st St.:
9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday and Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and Sunday
West Tulsa Center, 1502 W. 51st St.:
9:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Mon. through Saturday, 12:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Sunday
Brian Barber 918-581-8322
Original Print Headline: MET offers extended hours for recycling
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