Recycling Gaining Curbside Appeal

Wednesday, April 16th 2008, 6:28 pm
By: News On 6

There is a rising interest in recycling in Tulsa.  Oklahomans still recycle less often than people in most other states, but interest is growing, especially in curbside recycling.

The News On 6's Emory Bryan reports it's just one of the ways that Tulsans can easily recycle what they're now throwing away.

Michael Patton is Tulsa's guru of recycling and lately, he's noticed attitudes changing about throwing away so much trash.

"This has really been a good year, a lot of people have started recycling," said Patton of Metropolitan Environmental Trust.

But even with the increase, Patton says only 20% of Tulsans recycle.  Elsewhere in the country, far more families recycle.

There's plenty in Tulsa's trash that could be recycled because there's a market for about half of what people throw away.

"Things are more valuable than trash, you shouldn't throw them away," said Patton.

Tulsa has a curbside recycling program that costs two dollars a month.  The items don't have to be sorted or bagged, so it's relatively easy.

For the city government, it saves money otherwise paid to dump trash at the landfill.

"What we're saving money on is the cost of taking that to the landfill and paying the landfill to take the stuff," said Laureen Gilroy of the City of Tulsa.

Tulsa's businesses are also going green and much of what they recycle ends up at a processing center in Sand Springs, where Midland Recycling sorts it out and sells it to manufacturers.

"We have had a huge increase in the number of businesses contact us in the last three months due to the green initiatives in their organization," said Ande Reed of Midland Recycling.

The Metropolitan Environmental Trust, which sponsored an environmental expo downtown to showcase green products, estimates that about 30,000 people recycle.

They believe far more people are interested, but just have never started or don't know how to make it easy.

And using a drop off bin is one way to make it easy.  The MET also has several drop-off spots for all sorts of products, and the city operates the curbside program which is part of the trash service.