Officials Look For Answer To City Of Tulsa's Green Waste Problem

Tuesday, August 27th 2013, 7:03 pm
By: Emory Bryan

The City of Tulsa is trying to decide what to do about green waste, and one likely scenario is another cart at the curb.

The big problem with green waste is how to contain it so it can be easily picked up.

It's actually easier to get rid of the big stuff from the windstorm than the small stuff that people put out in bags, even though many Tulsa streets are still lined with limbs from the windstorm.

The city is making progress, but pick-up will easily continue through mid-September.

"Close to 65 percent or more, so we're starting to move into the hardest hit areas, and we're on overtime now, trying to get through the city faster," said city spokesperson Michele Allen.

After that problem is solved, the city will still have regular green waste: the leaves and sticks that people put by the curb.

8/13/2013 Related Story: City Staff Says They Knew Tulsa's Green Waste Program Wouldn't Work

The city expected people to pay extra for an Earth-friendly solution, but most people put it in with the trash. The city's trash hauler figures about a third of every truck load is green waste, not trash.

"We're able to sustain what we're doing a little while longer, and try to get to a better way to handle the green waste," said Jason Kannady, of New Solutions.

Even though the green waste and regular trash both go to the same place for now - the burn plant - the city still requires people to use clear bags if it's outside the cart.

But at least through January, people don't have to use the stickers that cost extra.

"The green waste still needs to go into clear bags, because that's how our people know to pick it up and how New Solutions crews know not to pick it up," said Tulsa City Manager Jim Twombly.

None of what's in bags at the curb is being turned into mulch, while the city tries to figure out a long term solution.

City staff has told the trash board, if green waste is handled separately, it's better to offer an optional third cart that would eliminate the trouble of plastic bags.

The city says at least half of Tulsa's green waste goes into the trash. The trash hauler believes it's almost all of it. Since they're already hauling it, they want to be paid for it, too.