Tulsa City Council Ponders Trash Collection Changes

Tuesday, August 29th 2006, 10:08 am
By: News On 6

The Tulsa city council will be talking trash Thursday night. They are considering a pilot program for trash collection that could save money for the city and it's customers - while encouraging recycling at the same time.

News on 6 reporter Emory Bryan says the city is looking to north Tulsa as a model of efficient trash collection.

North Tulsa has once a week collection, with bigger cans that hold more trash. It's a trend the city wants the rest of Tulsa to try. Frank Irwin with the city of Tulsa Public Works: "We really want the people to want it before we implement it in their neighborhoods, certainly we don't want to start a conflict."

Just a small part of Tulsa has once a week trash service now, in the north and west corner of the city. For most people in Tulsa, the city provides twice a week trash pickup. The city plans to demo a new trash collection plan, with lower rates, starting in a neighborhood around Cooper Elementary near 21st and Garnett.

Tulsa sends most of its trash to an incinerator, which is the most expensive way to get rid of it. The overflow goes to a landfill and very little is recycled - though more recycling would help keep trash rates from rising.

Right now, customers with once a week service in northwest Tulsa pay the least - $11.73 a month. For the rest of the city - it' $14.53 a month. In the demonstration area - the charge will be $13.37 a month - and that will include once a week recycling pickup.

By including recycling in the basic charge, there's a chance more people will separate out their cans and glass and newspapers. That's about 20 percent of what is picked up in the trash in Tulsa. So if it's recycled, that's less trash to deal with.

The most savings comes by cutting service back to once a week - which is driving the city to try converting the rest of Tulsa.