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Greenwaste Collected By City Of Tulsa Now Being Burned Instead Of Recycled

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Right now, the greenwaste facility at 56th Street North is packed full of people bringing in tree debris from last month's storm. Right now, the greenwaste facility at 56th Street North is packed full of people bringing in tree debris from last month's storm.
"What are we charging for - Stickers? - when it ends up in the same place?" said Randy Sullivan. "What are we charging for - Stickers? - when it ends up in the same place?" said Randy Sullivan.
"That material is still being re-purposed, as it was intended to," said city spokesperson Liz Hunt. "That material is still being re-purposed, as it was intended to," said city spokesperson Liz Hunt.
TULSA, Oklahoma -

Where is your green waste going?

When Tulsa overhauled its trash service last October, the plan was to take yard waste from private homes to a recycling center. But that plan hit a snag, and now that waste is being burned.

Some residents have been paying a dollar every month, plus 50 cents per bag, to have their greenwaste hauled off by the city. City officials say it's going to the Covanta plant, which is where it was going before the trash overhaul.

"What are we charging for - Stickers? - when it ends up in the same place?" said Randy Sullivan.

The trash board chair, Sullivan, said he didn't originally agree with the city's interim solution to dispose of greenwaste.

8/6/2013 Related Story: City Of Tulsa Expands Tree Debris Collection To Saturdays

"The more I thought about it, the more I thought there is a cost to remove branches, there is a cost to greenwaste," he said.

At the beginning of the new service, lawn clippings, tree limbs and plants were taken to the greenwaste facility in Tulsa, as planned. But for the last six months, they've been incinerated at the Covanta Waste to Energy Plant.

"I don't think the citizens of Tulsa have been hurt by this, there's just some issues," Sullivan said.

Right now, the greenwaste facility at 56th Street North is packed full of people bringing in tree debris from last month's storm. The city says the original plan was to have residential yard waste come there, too, but they ran into an issue when the machine that separates that yard waste from the clean plastic bags wasn't working properly, so that's why they started taking it to the Covanta Plant.

"That material is still being re-purposed, as it was intended to," said city spokesperson Liz Hunt.

Hunt said the city tried different solutions to keep using the greenwaste facility that didn't work. She said the waste is still being recycled, but instead of mulch, it's now being turned into power for the Holly Refinery and PSO.

"The integrity of the program has not changed in the fact that we still have a dedicated collection stream for greenwaste," she said.

Using Covanta, Hunt said, is more cost effective for the city, but the price for residents will remain the same.

"That material still needs to be collected at the curb," Hunt said. "And there's still a cost for service and collection and also a cost to convert that material to energy."

The city chose the greenwaste facility in hopes of getting an estimate on how much greenwaste is thrown out, and for the possibility of bringing in revenue for the city.

The trash board has moved up its meeting to discuss plans moving forward, one of which is staying at the Covanta plant.

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