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New Recycling Technique Brings Jobs To Tulsa Recycle Center

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The MET has figured out a way to take something as simple as a milk jug and make it three times as valuable as it used to be. The MET has figured out a way to take something as simple as a milk jug and make it three times as valuable as it used to be.
The added value of the recyclables supports seven new jobs - for people who normally have a hard time finding work. The added value of the recyclables supports seven new jobs - for people who normally have a hard time finding work.
TULSA, Oklahoma -

For almost 20 years in Tulsa, the Metropolitan Environmental Trust has helped collect recyclables with the idea of saving the Earth.

Now they're expanding on that mission by creating things - jobs specifically - in handling what's dropped off at recycling centers.

The MET has figured out a way to take something as simple as a milk jug and make it three times as valuable as it used to be.

When plastic jugs and bottle are sold for recycling, they're worth about a third of a cent each. But when those same bottles are squeezed into a bale and wrapped, they're worth a penny each.

When you're dealing with more than 100 trailer loads of bottles a month - those pennies add up.

"The price we get for a water bottle has tripled in baled form versus loose. So while you can sell your individual water bottle, when we bale them, and get a whole truck load of them, we can make enough money to pay the salaries of the people who work in the baling center," said Michael Patton of Metropolitan Environmental Trust.

That's why the MET opened a baling center to get more for what they sell. The George Kaiser Family Foundation bought the critical piece of equipment - the $30,000 baling machine that makes anything recyclable worth a whole lot more.

The added value of the recyclables supports seven new jobs - for people who normally have a hard time finding work.

Every one of the employees is fresh out of prison, usually on parole, and in this job, training to do something else.

"We know when people have jobs they're less likely to go back and we also know the barriers to work for people with felony convictions is incredibly high. So we're trying to help those who want to work reduce those barriers so they can work and avoid going back to prison," said Kelly Doyle of Creating Employment Opportunities.

It's worked for 35 people who have graduated into full time, regular jobs elsewhere.

"When you recycle, you make jobs for Oklahoma. This is another example of jobs you can create," Patton said.

Patton believes recycling creates jobs throughout the economy - giving people another reason to avoid throwing their cans and bottles in the trash.

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