Trash board considers prizes for recycling
BY BRIAN BARBER World Staff Writer
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
11/28/12 at 7:36 AM
Read more about Tulsa’s new trash and recycling program.
Tulsa's trash board might consider paying residents some green for being green.
Metropolitan Environmental Trust Executive Director Michael Patton suggested Tuesday that the board establish a lottery in which a household's address would be drawn each recycling-collection day.
If that household had set out recyclables that day, verified by an inspector, the residents would win $100 or so.
Such a program would be relatively inexpensive, Patton said, and would motivate people to participate beyond saving the planet.
"It would be a fun and easy thing to do," he said.
Solid Waste Services Manager Eric Lee said other municipalities have offered cash prizes for recycling and that the city's Legal Department is exploring what would be permissible for Tulsa to do.
Several board members indicated that they like the idea, which will be discussed further at a future board meeting.
Roughly 110,000 of Tulsa's 116,500 households have accepted the city's recycling carts to participate in the program.
Since the full service began Oct. 1, the city has gone from recycling less than 2 percent of its trash to 17.8 percent.
Help wanted: The city is in the process of hiring more employees to conduct the new collection programs for green waste and bulky waste. Of the 42 positions, 23 are vacant, Lee said.
Green waste and bulky waste previously was collected by the city's contracted trash hauler, but it is now being handled by in-house city crews.
The positions require no special skills, but applicants must be willing to get a commercial driver's license during their first year of employment so they can drive large trucks.
The current half-staffed crew has been putting in long hours to get all of its work done, Lee said.
"They are stretched to the max right now," he said. "We've done things like limit vacations. But they are an operational group and understand the transition from the old system (to) the new system is taking some time."
Job seekers can call the Customer Care Center at 918-596-2100.
Dog houses: The trash board voted unanimously Tuesday to donate more old trash carts to "Digs for Dogs," a program championed by board member and City Councilor David Patrick.
After attention from the Tulsa World and other media outlets, all of the carts that already have been converted to dog shelters are spoken for, Patrick said.
The board previously donated 40 carts that were formerly used in the city's northwest quadrant.
Patrick and volunteers scrubbed them, removed their hardware, screwed down the lids and cut holes in them for entrances and exits. As a final touch, each was outfitted with a bundle of straw to be used as a soft place for a dog to lie down.
The carts-turned-shelters became available this week at Tulsa Animal Welfare free of charge to city residents.
City personnel indicated that 100 or more additional old carts probably could be used for the program.
Original Print Headline: Rewards for recyclers eyed
Brian Barber 918-581-8322
Michael Patton: The Metropolitan Environmental Trust's leader said his idea for a lottery would be relatively inexpensive yet motivating