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Spring Cleaning: A Great Time to Brush Up on Recycling Know-How

Trash Talk By BETH TURNER
Tulsa Master Recyclers Association

Spring signals a time to dust off our winter homes, and clear out the clutter. For some recyclers, this is difficult, faced with needing to discard items that have no recycling plan in place. Residents of Tulsa County can indulge in ensuring their cast away items benefit our community through better reuse and recycling programming.

Focus on the Four
Tulsa home owners enjoy curbside recycling but once recycling becomes routine, it’s easy to begin putting more in the recycling bin than can be recycled. City managers remind us that curbside, only four main items recycle:

1. Plastics If the top of a plastic bottle is smaller than the bottom of the bottle, it probably recycles. Single-use water or ketchup bottles both recycle. Yogurt or dairy containers do not. While Plastics #1-7 are accepted, keep in mind that only #1, 2 and 5 can currently be recycled but hopefully all will be in the near future. Also, no plastic bags can be recycled curbside.

2. Paper: This includes cardboard boxes, pizza boxes, non-corrugated cardboard such as your cereal boxes, your junk mail, and regular paper. Paper that gets damp from comingling with other recyclables is perfectly fine. As long as your paper does not have a plastic or wax coating, it’s accepted.

3. Metals: Aluminum, brass, copper and steel are recyclable curbside. Aluminum foil is in general too contaminated after home use. A note about our waste heading to the landfill, a giant magnet sweeps over our trash-to-energy service before the ashes are deposited in the landfill, which snags any salvageable metals for recycling.

4. Glass jars and bottles: While it may alert neighbors to a recently hosted party as the bottles clang into your curbside container, filling the bin with empty wine bottles is encouraged.

Now that consistent recycling reveals how much waste we create that cannot be recycled, you’re sure to start searching for where your discarded items can be properly managed.

Those Piles of Clothes!
Refresh your wardrobe as well as a neighbor’s by attending Tulsa’s Young Professionals Clothing Swap. Saturday, April 22 from 1-3 p.m.; bring your once-favored frocks to the downtown Tulsa City-County Library and swap them out for something new-to-you. Organizers say that getting a refreshed wardrobe is just one of the goals for hosting this event. “We also want to raise awareness and educate the community about the environmental and ethical costs when people buy new versus used, and encourage the budding trend to thrift first, buy second.”

All clothes left after the swap will be donated to a local nonprofit organization.

Discarding Hazard Safely
Thanks to years of overwhelming response, the City of Tulsa created a permanent drop-off site for hazardous waste. Numbers show that in 2016, the site served approximately 1,300 customers and collected more than 44 tons of hazardous materials.

To toss your waste safely, simply make one phone call at 918-591-4325 for a line-free drop-off in downtown Tulsa. This service is free of charge for Tulsa residents. For anyone living outside of Tulsa, you can drop off up to 60 pounds of waste for free. For a complete list of accepted items, log on to cityoftulsa.org, or call the number listed above.

E-Waste Drop-Off
Electronic waste is another item that requires expert handling in ensuring it is recycled properly. The Tulsa Community benefits from a partnership between locally owned and operated Natural Evolutions and The Met. Last year, statistics show that Natural Evolutions processed more than 66 tons of material. Find drop-off sites at MetRecycle.com, or at naturalevolutions.com. You can also mark your calendars for a drop-off event for e-waste and old tires Saturday, May 13th on the TCC Northeast Campus.

Be Eco-Inspired
New inventions pop up like spring flowers, and it’s incredibly inspiring. Here are a few headlines to remind us that today’s desires for a smaller carbon footprint can create a more positive future.

Smartflower is a new, fully-functional pop-up solar generator that unfolds like a flower and follows the sun throughout the day, collecting energy for you to power your home. See more at smartflower.com

After a visit to Peru, Dr. Carmen Hijosa created cloth from pineapple leaves that mimics the look, feel, and durability of leather with none of the toxic runoff produced from most clothing manufacturing. Find out more at ananas-anam.com.

Music meets recycling thanks to a UK band named DirtyMurph and the Kerbside Recyclers. According to wastedive.com, this band came together in jest, and is now on their third album. You can hear and purchase such hits as Re-Use Shop at www.dirtymurph.bandcamp.com.

Thanks to You
It’s your interests that power imaginations to create new, better, less wasteful products to supply our needs and demands. So, keep demanding better, Tulsa! We’re all worth it!

Send in your thoughts, opinions and innovative ideas to bethturner@me.com or tweet me @TrashTalkTulsa.

Updated 04-05-2017

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