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Tulsans Not Responding to New Recycling Program

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Tulsa's new curbside recycling program is off to a less-than-promising start. Sixty-two per cent of Tulsans previously said they were interested in a curbside program. Now that the program is underway, less than two per cent have signed up. However, city leaders say that's a promising beginning.

Workers went door-to-door handing out details about the city’s new curbside recycling program to those who were already onboard. Twice a month, the city's trash service will pick up newspapers, aluminum cans, plastics and glass. For this convenience, Tulsans will pay two dollars more on their water bill.

John Payne says he’s made his last trip to the M-E-T recycling center. He says it's about time the city comes to his house. "Other cities I have lived in had recycling,” he said. “I think this is really great." Payne is one of almost 2,000 people who are participating so far. Tulsa's goal is to have 18,000 voluntary recyclers by next year.

Bill Duffy thinks people are confused, because he says the media has focused on city councilor Anna Falling's controversial private program. "It's turned into a negative slant on the whole recycling thing," said Duffy. City volunteer Cheryl Cohenour is the chair of Tulsa's Recycling Committee. She says any talk of recycling is good. She also says 2,000 people participating in the program is hopeful. "It's had almost no publicity,” she said. “We had to wait until the city council passed a resolution about two weeks ago. We've just now started."

Ten per cent of Tulsa's trash including recyclables such as newspapers goes to the landfill. So where does the other 90 per cent go? It goes to Tulsa’s trash to energy plant. City leaders say if there is less waste, landfill will be saved and Tulsa’s trash bills could drop. “Those are potential options and that the city is evaluating right now,” said Cohenour.

Studies show that more than half of Tulsans want to recycle. City leaders say they hope an upcoming campaign will convince them to actually do it. The officials say they will promote the program at community meetings and by using outdoor advertising. If you would like to sign up for the curbside recycling program, just call Tulsa City Hall. Your trash service will pick up the first recyclables on Wednesday.

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