Part III Going green. What will it take?

Revisiting recycling.



By revisiting recycling
Tulsans love their trash service. Just ask Michael Patton, executive director of the Metropolitan Environmental Trust (The M.e.t.). The relatively inexpensive (about $13 per month), twice-a-week curbside service in effect robs people of motivation to be more responsible about the amount of trash they generate.

“Twice-a-week trash service means it’s cheap to throw things away here,” Patton says. “We are one of the last cities in the country to offer twice-per-week collection and have no limits. The norm elsewhere is once-a-week service.”

The M.e.t. operates 11 recycling centers in the Tulsa metro area, which collect about 4 million pounds of material each year. It also employs more than 100 workers with disabilities. According to The M.e.t., the average Tulsa household generates 220 pounds of garbage per month, of which about 50 pounds would be recyclable. However, in spite of years of recycling efforts, only about 20 percent of Tulsans recycle with any regularity.
“Although we do have thousands of people who are recycling, obviously we still have a long way to go,” Patton says.

The mantra of reduce, reuse and recycle seems to fall on many deaf ears in Tulsa, in large part because Oklahoma has an abundance of cheap landfill space. But in other parts of the country, cities simply didn’t have the luxury of cheap landfill space and were forced to come up with “greener” alternatives years ago, Patton says.

“A landfill is my reminder of failure,” Patton notes. “It says, ‘We bought too much and didn’t reuse it and now we have an ugly, smelly landfill.’ We have too many landfills, and now there are people trucking their trash into Oklahoma from other states.”

Thanks to Mayor Taylor’s emphasis on creating a more sustainable city, Patton says he believes Tulsa will soon turn a corner on recycling. He’d like to see the twice-weekly trash service reduced to once-a-week with everybody also given a recycling container. Additionally, he’d like to see limits placed on the amount of garbage people can place at the curb.

“There are a lot of politics here,” he admits. “People are afraid to lose twice-a-week trash service and there are also contracts in place. It’s really a matter of political will.”

Patton suggested a “pay as you throw” fee, or a volume-based rate on trash.

Patton says he believes that by 2012, after hauling contracts expire and awareness grows, recycling will get a huge boost.

“I firmly believe the dream of a more sustainable city will come true,” he says. “We’re doing this for a better Tulsa and so that we do not sacrifice the quality of life for future generations.”

Currently, the city of Tulsa offers curbside recycling service on a voluntary basis, costing participating customers $2 extra a month. Laureen Gibson Gilroy, the city’s recycling coordinator, says the fee has remained the same over the decade since voluntary curbside recycling began. She says she is aware of criticism that the city is “punishing” people by levying the fee on those who choose to recycle. In 1999, when the program started, there wasn’t broad enough interest in recycling to justify a citywide, mandated recycling policy. Nevertheless, 2008 may have been a breakthrough year for the recycling program.

Demand for curbside recycling “has been going through the roof,” Gilroy says. In December 2007, there were 9,198 recycling customers. That number had grown to 11,934 by last December, nearly a 30 percent increase.

“The big story is that more people are more willing now to pay an extra $2 to do the right thing,” she says.

Gilroy speculates that as outsiders move to Tulsa from areas where recycling is the norm, they quickly sign on.

“They ask, ‘Where’s the recycling service? When is it going to be picked up?’” she says.

If the Tulsa Authority for the Recovery of Energy (TARE), often referred to as the trash board, follows the recommendations of a study it commissioned, then curbside recycling will be available citywide and everyone, whether they recycle or not, will pay an additional fee.

The study, conducted last year by Seattle-based firm R.W. Beck, also advises the city to go to once-a-week trash pickup with separate recycling containers provided. Lawn clippings and other yard waste would be disposed of in special paper bags.

And recycling makes a lot of sense. Gilroy notes that for every 15,000 tons of waste, nine jobs are created if that waste is recycled. By contrast, just one job is created if that waste is dumped in a landfill.

“I think recycling is crucial for sustainability,” Gilroy says. “It’s symbolic for not wasting resources, and looking forward, it benefits the economy by creating jobs.”

By protecting our urban forest
Sustainability, of course, is about more than public policy and creating jobs. It’s also about actual living things — things like trees — and how they impact our environment and quality of life. Tulsa’s urban forest, in fact, may be the best claim the city currently has to being green, at least in a literal sense.

In December 2007, Tulsa’s tree canopy suffered a major setback when an ice storm destroyed or damaged tens of thousands of trees citywide. Anna America, executive director of Up with Trees, says the sight of so much destruction brought her to tears.

“I thought, how are we ever going to recover from this?” she recalls.

Tulsa slowly but surely is recovering. Up with Trees partnered with the City of Tulsa in the ReGreen Tulsa program with the lofty goal of planting 20,000 new trees citywide by the end of 2010. Entirely privately funded, the program has planted more than 2,000 trees so far.

“Trees are an important part of sustainability in a real, elemental way,” she says. “They take the stuff we breathe out and give us stuff we breathe in. Not only do they help provide cleaner air and water, (but) they help reduce energy consumption around buildings by shading, they reduce the heat island effect in paved areas and lengthen the life of pavement. They just make any place nicer and more livable, which helps us retain our population and attract new people.”

Trees do a lot of things we don’t even think about, she adds.

“We need to take care of trees because they take care of us,” she says.

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July 2019

Sharklahoma is a collaboration between the Oklahoma Aquarium and the Jenks Chamber of Commerce to celebrate our community and its local businesses, while also raising awareness about the ecological...

Cost: Varies

Where:
Oklahoma Aquarium
, OK


Website »

More information

Featuring more than seventy works by French and European masters such as Degas, Manet, Monet, Rousseau and Van Gogh, this exhibition celebrates Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon’s extraordinary gift...

Cost: $15

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: (405) 236-3100
Website »

More information

"Yer Going to Need a Bigger Boat!" Join Pinot's Palette in the Shark View Room at the Oklahoma Aquarium to paint sharks surrounded by the sea. Part of the Oklahoma...

Cost: $39

Where:
Oklahoma Aquarium
300 Aquarium Dr
Jenks, OK  74037
View map »


Telephone: 918-528-1507

More information

Help DVIS and the Tulsa Drillers knock out violence! We are in our 16th year of raising funds for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Join us by pledging per home run or making a...

Cost: $1+

Where:
Tulsa, OK


Sponsor: DVIS
Telephone: 918-508-2709
Contact Name: Jenée Day
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The Please Touch the Art exhibit breaks the rules of traditional art exhibits and makes art accessible, especially for visitors who are visually impaired or blind. Guests are encouraged to touch...

Cost: free & open to the public

Where:
McKeon Center for Creativity
910 S. Boston Ave.
TCC Metro Campus
Tulsa, OK  74135
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Community College
Telephone: 918-595-7339
Contact Name: Cindy Armstrong

More information

Sharklahoma is a collaboration between the Oklahoma Aquarium and the Jenks Chamber of Commerce to celebrate our community and its local businesses, while also raising awareness about the ecological...

Cost: Varies

Where:
Oklahoma Aquarium
, OK


Website »

More information

Featuring more than seventy works by French and European masters such as Degas, Manet, Monet, Rousseau and Van Gogh, this exhibition celebrates Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon’s extraordinary gift...

Cost: $15

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: (405) 236-3100
Website »

More information

Please join us for our yearly summer music series as part of your Tulsa City-County Library's Summer Reading Program.  Vocalist Janet Rutland closes the season on July 22 with the music of the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Central Library
400 civic center
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa City-County Library
Contact Name: Rebecca H

More information

The purpose of Opioid Epidemic Response is to provide an educational community event that brings together patients, providers, community organizations, and elected and appointed officials to...

Cost: Free

Where:
Cherokee Community Building
908 S College Ave
Tahlequah, OK  74464
View map »


Sponsor: OSU Center for Wellness & Recovery
Telephone: 918-561-1883
Website »

More information

Magi 4 Christ Campers meet each Monday at 6:00 PM until 7:30 PM. At 4241 S. 37th W. Ave., Tulsa, OK. 74107.  We are a Christian group of camping enthusiasts. We are family friendly. Meeting...

Cost: Donations only

Where:
Hope House
4241 S. 37th W. Ave.
South Door Activity Center
Tulsa, OK  74107
View map »


Sponsor: Magi 4 Christ Campers
Telephone: 918-906-0564
Contact Name: Dorothy Brown

More information

Help DVIS and the Tulsa Drillers knock out violence! We are in our 16th year of raising funds for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Join us by pledging per home run or making a...

Cost: $1+

Where:
Tulsa, OK


Sponsor: DVIS
Telephone: 918-508-2709
Contact Name: Jenée Day
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Sharklahoma is a collaboration between the Oklahoma Aquarium and the Jenks Chamber of Commerce to celebrate our community and its local businesses, while also raising awareness about the ecological...

Cost: Varies

Where:
Oklahoma Aquarium
, OK


Website »

More information

The purpose of Opioid Epidemic Response is to provide an educational community event that brings together patients, providers, community organizations, and elected and appointed officials to...

Cost: Free

Where:
Cherokee Community Building
908 S College Ave
Tahlequah, OK  74464
View map »


Sponsor: OSU Center for Wellness & Recovery
Telephone: 918-561-1883
Website »

More information

This Magical event features: A Grand Entrance into our Showroom Greeted by Fairy Tale Princess Characters A Charming Breakfast Buffet (with paid...

Cost: Varies

Where:
Dave & Buster's
6812 S. 105th E. Ave.
Tulsa, OK  74014
View map »

More information

Featuring more than seventy works by French and European masters such as Degas, Manet, Monet, Rousseau and Van Gogh, this exhibition celebrates Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon’s extraordinary gift...

Cost: $15

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: (405) 236-3100
Website »

More information

The Please Touch the Art exhibit breaks the rules of traditional art exhibits and makes art accessible, especially for visitors who are visually impaired or blind. Guests are encouraged to touch...

Cost: free & open to the public

Where:
McKeon Center for Creativity
910 S. Boston Ave.
TCC Metro Campus
Tulsa, OK  74135
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Community College
Telephone: 918-595-7339
Contact Name: Cindy Armstrong

More information

Help DVIS and the Tulsa Drillers knock out violence! We are in our 16th year of raising funds for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Join us by pledging per home run or making a...

Cost: $1+

Where:
Tulsa, OK


Sponsor: DVIS
Telephone: 918-508-2709
Contact Name: Jenée Day
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Sharklahoma is a collaboration between the Oklahoma Aquarium and the Jenks Chamber of Commerce to celebrate our community and its local businesses, while also raising awareness about the ecological...

Cost: Varies

Where:
Oklahoma Aquarium
, OK


Website »

More information

The Please Touch the Art exhibit breaks the rules of traditional art exhibits and makes art accessible, especially for visitors who are visually impaired or blind. Guests are encouraged to touch...

Cost: free & open to the public

Where:
McKeon Center for Creativity
910 S. Boston Ave.
TCC Metro Campus
Tulsa, OK  74135
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Community College
Telephone: 918-595-7339
Contact Name: Cindy Armstrong

More information

Featuring more than seventy works by French and European masters such as Degas, Manet, Monet, Rousseau and Van Gogh, this exhibition celebrates Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon’s extraordinary gift...

Cost: $15

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: (405) 236-3100
Website »

More information

The purpose of Opioid Epidemic Response is to provide an educational community event that brings together patients, providers, community organizations, and elected and appointed officials to...

Cost: Free

Where:
Cherokee Community Building
908 S College Ave
Tahlequah, OK  74464
View map »


Sponsor: OSU Center for Wellness & Recovery
Telephone: 918-561-1883
Website »

More information

Every Wednesday Live Event Trivia is at The Willows Family Ales - Show starts at 7 and is free to play! Movie scenes, Finish the Lyric, Classic Trivia, and more! The crew from T-Town Tacos will be...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Willows Family Ales
418 south peoria ave
tulsa, OK  74120
View map »


Sponsor: The Willows Family Ales
Telephone: (918) 895-6798
Contact Name: Julian Morgan
Website »

More information

Help DVIS and the Tulsa Drillers knock out violence! We are in our 16th year of raising funds for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Join us by pledging per home run or making a...

Cost: $1+

Where:
Tulsa, OK


Sponsor: DVIS
Telephone: 918-508-2709
Contact Name: Jenée Day
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The purpose of Opioid Epidemic Response is to provide an educational community event that brings together patients, providers, community organizations, and elected and appointed officials to...

Cost: Free

Where:
Cherokee Community Building
908 S College Ave
Tahlequah, OK  74464
View map »


Sponsor: OSU Center for Wellness & Recovery
Telephone: 918-561-1883
Website »

More information

Featuring more than seventy works by French and European masters such as Degas, Manet, Monet, Rousseau and Van Gogh, this exhibition celebrates Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon’s extraordinary gift...

Cost: $15

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: (405) 236-3100
Website »

More information

The Please Touch the Art exhibit breaks the rules of traditional art exhibits and makes art accessible, especially for visitors who are visually impaired or blind. Guests are encouraged to touch...

Cost: free & open to the public

Where:
McKeon Center for Creativity
910 S. Boston Ave.
TCC Metro Campus
Tulsa, OK  74135
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Community College
Telephone: 918-595-7339
Contact Name: Cindy Armstrong

More information

Sharklahoma is a collaboration between the Oklahoma Aquarium and the Jenks Chamber of Commerce to celebrate our community and its local businesses, while also raising awareness about the ecological...

Cost: Varies

Where:
Oklahoma Aquarium
, OK


Website »

More information

Needle Punch is an "old" craft that's come back into the mainstream within the past few years. Not only is it extremely easy to learn, but the creative possibilities are endless! If...

Cost: 75.00

Where:
Pottery Barn Utica Square
1864 Utica Square
Tulsa, OK  74114
View map »


Telephone: 918-619-5009
Contact Name: Sallie Dale
Website »

More information

Would you eat an invasive species? You can! The Nature Conservancy has challenged local chefs and restaurants to make you delicious dishes from invasive and native species as they compete for the...

Cost: 125.00

Where:
The Mansion at Woodward Park
2435 S Peoria Ave
Tulsa, OK  74114
View map »


Sponsor: The Nature Conservancy of Oklahom
Telephone: 405-445-5518
Contact Name: Larissa Balzer
Website »

More information

Would you eat an invasive species? At this event, you can! The Nature Conservancy has challenged Tulsa chefs and restaurants to make delicious dishes from invasive and native species as they...

Cost: General Admission: $125

Where:
The Mansion at Woodward Park
2435 S. Peoria Ave.
Tulsa, OK  74114
View map »


Sponsor: The Nature Conservancy
Telephone: 405-503-1411
Website »

More information

Help DVIS and the Tulsa Drillers knock out violence! We are in our 16th year of raising funds for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Join us by pledging per home run or making a...

Cost: $1+

Where:
Tulsa, OK


Sponsor: DVIS
Telephone: 918-508-2709
Contact Name: Jenée Day
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

11th Annual Quilt Show featuring judged and non judged quilts made by Sequoyah County and surrounding area quilters.  We will have vendors, demonstrations, door prizes and a boutique.  We will...

Cost: $5.00

Where:
Blackgum Harvestime Church
451558 E 0980 Rd
Vian, OK  74962
View map »


Sponsor: Blackgum Harvestime Sewing Sisters
Telephone: 918-457-9362
Contact Name: Sharon
Website »

More information

Sharklahoma is a collaboration between the Oklahoma Aquarium and the Jenks Chamber of Commerce to celebrate our community and its local businesses, while also raising awareness about the ecological...

Cost: Varies

Where:
Oklahoma Aquarium
, OK


Website »

More information

The Please Touch the Art exhibit breaks the rules of traditional art exhibits and makes art accessible, especially for visitors who are visually impaired or blind. Guests are encouraged to touch...

Cost: free & open to the public

Where:
McKeon Center for Creativity
910 S. Boston Ave.
TCC Metro Campus
Tulsa, OK  74135
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Community College
Telephone: 918-595-7339
Contact Name: Cindy Armstrong

More information

Featuring more than seventy works by French and European masters such as Degas, Manet, Monet, Rousseau and Van Gogh, this exhibition celebrates Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon’s extraordinary gift...

Cost: $15

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: (405) 236-3100
Website »

More information

The purpose of Opioid Epidemic Response is to provide an educational community event that brings together patients, providers, community organizations, and elected and appointed officials to...

Cost: Free

Where:
Cherokee Community Building
908 S College Ave
Tahlequah, OK  74464
View map »


Sponsor: OSU Center for Wellness & Recovery
Telephone: 918-561-1883
Website »

More information

Ability Resources' Raffle for Independence will take place on the 29th Anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Great prizes to be announced! 

Cost: $5

Where:
Tulsa, OK  74120


Sponsor: Ability Resources
Telephone: 918-592-1235
Contact Name: Krisann Diaz
Website »

More information

Join choreographers from across the country for the first of three intimate showings of new modern and contemporary dance, from the hilarious to the introspective, followed by a moderated...

Cost: $12.00-$15.00

Where:
Tulsa Performing Arts Center
110 E 2nd St.
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Sponsor: The Bell House
Telephone: 918-269-1621
Contact Name: Alicia Chesser
Website »

More information

Celebrate the Latin and Hispanic cultures in our community at La Fiesta de Tulsa at Gathering Place! With live music and festive food and drinks, La Fiesta de Tulsa will bring all of the Latino...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gathering Place
2650 S. John Williams Way E.
Tulsa, OK  74114
View map »


Website »

More information

Join choreographers from around the country for an intimate evening of new modern and contemporary dance: five experimental, tender, challenging, moving works of art, followed by a moderated...

Cost: $12.00-$15.00

Where:
Tulsa Performing Arts Center, Liddy Doenges Theate
110 E 2nd St.
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Sponsor: The Bell House
Telephone: 918-269-1621
Contact Name: Alicia Chesser
Website »

More information

Help DVIS and the Tulsa Drillers knock out violence! We are in our 16th year of raising funds for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Join us by pledging per home run or making a...

Cost: $1+

Where:
Tulsa, OK


Sponsor: DVIS
Telephone: 918-508-2709
Contact Name: Jenée Day
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

11th Annual Quilt Show featuring judged and non judged quilts made by Sequoyah County and surrounding area quilters.  We will have vendors, demonstrations, door prizes and a boutique.  We will...

Cost: $5.00

Where:
Blackgum Harvestime Church
451558 E 0980 Rd
Vian, OK  74962
View map »


Sponsor: Blackgum Harvestime Sewing Sisters
Telephone: 918-457-9362
Contact Name: Sharon
Website »

More information

Sharklahoma is a collaboration between the Oklahoma Aquarium and the Jenks Chamber of Commerce to celebrate our community and its local businesses, while also raising awareness about the ecological...

Cost: Varies

Where:
Oklahoma Aquarium
, OK


Website »

More information

Featuring more than seventy works by French and European masters such as Degas, Manet, Monet, Rousseau and Van Gogh, this exhibition celebrates Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon’s extraordinary gift...

Cost: $15

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: (405) 236-3100
Website »

More information

The purpose of Opioid Epidemic Response is to provide an educational community event that brings together patients, providers, community organizations, and elected and appointed officials to...

Cost: Free

Where:
Cherokee Community Building
908 S College Ave
Tahlequah, OK  74464
View map »


Sponsor: OSU Center for Wellness & Recovery
Telephone: 918-561-1883
Website »

More information

Join choreographers from around the country for an intimate afternoon of new modern and contemporary dance on themes of (dis)connection, home, belonging, and presence, followed by a moderated...

Cost: $12.00-$15.00

Where:
Tulsa Performing Arts Center, Liddy Doenges Theate
110 E 2nd St.
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Sponsor: The Bell House
Telephone: 918-269-1621
Contact Name: Alicia Chesser
Website »

More information

America’s LARGEST interactive comedy murder mystery dinner show is now playing at the Hilton Garden Inn Tulsa Broken Arrow! At The Dinner Detective, you’ll tackle a challenging crime while you...

Cost: 59.95

Where:
Hilton Garden Inn Tulsa- Broken Arrow
420 W Albany St.
Broken Arrow, OK  74012
View map »


Telephone: 866-496-0535
Contact Name: The Dinner Detective
Website »

More information

Help DVIS and the Tulsa Drillers knock out violence! We are in our 16th year of raising funds for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Join us by pledging per home run or making a...

Cost: $1+

Where:
Tulsa, OK


Sponsor: DVIS
Telephone: 918-508-2709
Contact Name: Jenée Day
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
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