Tulsa projects recycling could reach 400 tons per week
BY BRIAN BARBER World Staff Writer
Friday, October 05, 2012
10/05/12 at 6:59 AM
Read about Tulsa’s trash service changes.
Tulsans are on track to recycle about 400 tons per week under the new citywide system compared with about 200 tons per month under the old subscription program, officials said Thursday.
Since the new service began this week, Solid Waste Manager Eric Lee said during an update to the City Council, about 82 tons of recyclables were collected Monday, 87 tons on Tuesday and 40 tons on Wednesday.
The lower number Wednesday could be because the northwest quadrant of the city, which has its trash collection that day, did not get their new recycling and trash carts until last week, Lee said.
"We could hit 400 tons this week," he said, noting that after people settle into patterns over a few weeks or so, the number should stabilize.
Of the city's 116,000 households, only about 6,000 have refused the new service's recycling carts.
Under the former fee-based program, about 16,000 households recycled. It generated about 200 tons per month.
If the 400 tons per week tonnage holds up, Lee said, it will meet expectations of having 20,000 tons recycled per year.
Council Chairman G.T. Bynum said his recycling habits have certainly changed with the new program.
"I don't know about anybody else, but since I've gotten my cart, I'm recycling more than I'm putting in my garbage cart," he said.
Leading up to the launch of the new system, trash and recycling carts were delivered to city households between July and September.
Residents could start using the carts as soon as they received them, Lee said. During those three months, 850 tons of recycling were collected.
The proceeds from selling the recyclable materials will be used to keep Tulsa's customer rates stable.
Some complaints have been received this week from residents who thought their recycling collection was missed, Lee said.
But, he said, trash and recycling pickups are done by separate crews with different trucks.
One crew might come early in the day, Lee said, while the other might not come until the afternoon.
Meanwhile, Councilor Phil Lakin asked that the city's trash hotline workers stop instructing people that trash inside carts needs to be bagged.
The council had approved an ordinance stating residents must do that for the summer months, but it expired at the end of September.
Although city staff intends to bring a renewal of the ordinance back to councilors for consideration, that hasn't happened yet. Lakin has questioned the need for bagging in a closed container.
Original Print Headline: Recycling may reach 400 tons per week
Brian Barber 918-581-8322
Lisa Buteau looks in her new recycling cart after depositing paper goods inside. MICHAEL WYKE/Tulsa World file