Local & Regional
Mon June 18, 2012
Trash Transition begins Next Month
Tulsa will begin a transition to its new refuse and recycling system, incorporating several of the new program elements beginning July 1, according to the Tulsa Authority for the Recovery of Energy (TARE). Tulsa’s new collections hauler for the upcoming refuse and recycling system, NeWSolutions, is slated to begin picking up residents’ trash starting July 1. As a result, services will change on July 1, and rates will be decreased during the interim three-month period before the new system begins on Oct. 1. Tulsa’s current trash collection system is based on a contract that is set to expire June 30 after more than 30 years. The City’s new refuse and recycling program is scheduled to begin Oct. 1 and an interim collections service has been planned to run from July through September. Although the current trash hauler, Tulsa Refuse Inc., had been identified as a likely provider for trash service during the interim period, it recently became apparent to TARE and City of Tulsa Solid Waste Services staff that the consortium is unable to maintain sufficient service past June 30. “We hoped the current contractor would be able to enter an agreement with us to pick up residential trash during the interim period, but because their operations have diminished, we must move forward with an alternative plan,” said Cheryl Cohenour, TARE chairwoman. “We now have an effective solution that will reduce customers’ rates and transition the community slowly into the new program. This approach ensures trash will be picked up during the transitional period, as well as when the new system begins in its entirety in October.” The Interim Plan Schedules Collection routes and trash pickup schedules for each Tulsa neighborhood also have been determined based on five major zones throughout the city, each with a corresponding day during the week in which trash will be collected for that area. A map showing the collection zones and days can be found at www.cityoftulsa.org/trash. Northwest Quadrant – City Services Continue The only area not yet affected by this interim collection period involves residents living in the northwest quadrant of the city, where a cart-based collection system has been in place for a number of years. Recycling Services suspended until new carts arrive Recycling pickup services provided by the City of Tulsa will be temporarily suspended for several weeks until the new recycling carts are received by residents. Distribution of the new refuse and recycling carts for all Tulsa residents will occur between July 16 and Sept. 23. Residents may begin to use the new refuse and recycling carts as soon as they are received. Although recycling will only be delayed for a few weeks, Tulsans with recycling needs are encouraged to bring their recyclable materials to the Metropolitan Environmental Trust (MET), which accepts materials at a number of locations. For a list of MET locations, visit http://metrecycle.com/recycling/met-centers/. Rates and Rules Tulsans will continue to have unlimited, curb-side disposal through September but trash pick-up will change from twice-a-week to once-a-week service, resulting in a base rate decrease to $10.52. “We appreciate NeWSolutions’ willingness and ability to work with the City to expedite a detailed plan for interim collection services,” said City of Tulsa Solid Waste Services Manager Eric Lee. “We will remain focused on providing uninterrupted refuse collections and ask for residents’ patience as we begin this transition.” The new refuse program will feature a new fleet of trucks that will operate on compressed natural gas and be equipped with either a semi-automatic cart tipping system or a fully-automatic robotic arm. The trucks will be used during the transition period but because the new carts will not be delivered until July 16, service workers will manually pick up the trash, as is done with the current system. This will require residents to bag all trash, whether they are using their own trash receptacle or not. The TARE board is working with Tulsa City Council to propose a City ordinance requiring citizens to use bags. However, once residents receive and begin using their new recycling carts, bags are not necessary for recycling. All recyclable materials can be placed into the cart, without bags or otherwise separating the materials.