Trash board OKs smaller recycling carts, but there's a legal snag
BY BRIAN BARBER World Staff Writer
Thursday, September 27, 2012
9/27/12 at 8:09 AM
Read about Tulsa’s new trash and recycling system.
Tulsa's trash board has voted to allow all households to opt for a smaller recycling cart, but whether those carts actually become available will depend on a legal opinion.
The board, formally known as the Tulsa Authority for the Recovery of Energy, has requested the opinion from the City Attorney's Office to determine whether the new policy would violate the bid process that was used to select the city's new hauler, NeWSolutions.
The hauling company bid on collecting from the 96-gallon recycling carts, which have been distributed to residences in advance of Monday's new trash and recycling system launch. But as a result of public demand and pressure from city councilors, the board now wants to offer a 48-gallon version.
"We need to try to satisfy the customer," member Randy Sullivan said at a meeting this week.
City attorneys are expected to weigh in on the effect of the policy change to the bid process and NeWSolutions' contract in the coming weeks.
The board asked city Solid Waste Manager Eric Lee to try to determine how many of the smaller recycling carts would need to be ordered. It would take eight weeks to receive them from the manufacturer.
A total of 5,841 households out of 116,000 citywide have declined the large recycling carts.
An order for 720 smaller carts already will be placed for 11 identified condominium or townhome associations because of neighborhood covenants.
If city attorneys give the go-ahead to make the option available citywide, the board will have to put more money toward its communications budget since the $1.2 million budget for the transition has been exhausted.
Mailings about the recycling cart options - similar to what was sent out to customers giving them choices in trash cart sizes - would cost an estimated $140,000, Lee said.
A simpler postcard mailer would run at least $30,000.
Although the board approved the policy to offer smaller recycling carts, board member Paul White questioned the need to rush into the option.
"There may be a need to let everyone live with it (the new system) for a period of time," he said, noting that people's household habits are changing as they get accustomed to recycling.
Meanwhile, Tulsa residents will be required starting Monday to affix special stickers to any overflow trash and green-waste bags set outside their trash carts.
This is despite the fact that the ordinances outlining the sticker program have not yet been approved by the City Council.
They are expected to be presented to councilors in October.
Lee told the Tulsa World that the requirement will ensure compliance with the NeWSolutions' contract.
Haulers will not collect any bags set outside the carts that do not have the stickers applied.
The stickers - orange for overflow trash bags and green for green waste bags - are available at QuikTrip stores for 50 cents each.
Some condominium and townhome areas will be offered smaller recycling carts because of their covenants. They include:
Council Oak Townhomes at 18th Street and Carson Avenue
- Honey Creek at 81st Street and Memorial Drive
- Eagle Ridge Condos at 31st Street and 135th East Avenue
- 101 Village at 31st Street and Mingo Road
- Cedar Crest at 89th Street and Delaware Avenue
- College Park I at 93rd Street and College Avenue
- College Park II at 95th Street and College Avenue
- The Timbers at 84th Street and Delaware Avenue
- South Shores at 61st Street and Atlanta Avenue
- Madison Square Townhomes at 35th Street and Madison Avenue
- St. Louis Street Lofts at 14th Street and St. Louis Avenue
Original Print Headline: Smaller-cart option OK'd
Brian Barber 918-581-8322