Complaints about missed trash collections rise, then fall
BY BRIAN BARBER World Staff Writer
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
10/24/12 at 7:49 AM
Read about Tulsa’s trash service changes.
Complaints about trash not being collected spiked and then decreased since Tulsa's new trash system was launched at the start of the month.
Solid Waste Manager Eric Lee told the city's trash board Tuesday that there were 1,423 calls for missed refuse service in week one, 1,636 in week two and 1,371 in week three.
That's an average of about 1.3 percent of the 116,451 households in the system each week.
"We are making headway, although maybe not as much as some people would like to see," Lee said during the Tulsa Authority for the Recovery of Energy's planning committee meeting.
But the number of missed recycling collections is on the rise, he said, with 745 in week one, 947 in week two and 951 in week three.
Many of the complaints for skipped trash and recycling pick-up were from customers who pay extra for backyard service.
The curbs by those customers' houses are being marked with paint dots so the haulers don't accidentally pass them by, Lee said.
Also, the city is providing haulers with lists of customers who call to report that they are frequently missed.
"The longer they are on these routes, the more familiar they will be with who has backyard service and who doesn't," he said. "It's a learning process."
Meanwhile, the amount of recycling materials collected appears to be going down, while the amount of refuse collected is increasing.
In the first week, 347.52 tons of recyclables and 1,543.31 tons of trash were collected, which amounts to an 18.4 percent rate of diversion of recyclables from trash.
For the second week, 343.92 tons of recyclables were collected, compared to 1,576.38 tons of trash, for a 17.9 percent diversion rate.
And for the third week, 335.17 tons of recycling were collected, compared to 1,656.65 tons of trash, which is a 16.8 percent diversion rate.
Officials had informally predicted that Tulsa households would generate 20,000 tons of recycling annually. Based on the average of the first three weeks, the number will be closer to 17,700 tons.
But Lee said it will take a longer time for people's disposal and recycling habits to stabilize under the new system. The city's new system, in which each household was issued a recycling and a trash cart, began Oct. 1. The base service is once-a-week collection, with twice-a-week service available for an extra fee.
Whatever doesn't fit into the carts must be placed in bags that must have special 50-cent stickers to be collected, essentially eliminating the unlimited throwaway service residents enjoyed before.
Original Print Headline: Trash complaints rise, fall
Brian Barber 918-581-8322