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Greater Tulsa Reporter


Celebrating, Informing Our Community Throughout the Years

Trash Talk by BETH TURNER
Tulsa Master Recyclers Association

THROWBACK ACCOLADE IN 2015: From left, Union Schools’ Peters Elementary Principal Chasity Gray, along with Green Team members Beth and Mia proudly display their awards with fellow winner, Trash Talk’s Beth Turner, at The MET’s banquet honoring recyclers in our community.


Courtesy MET


As we celebrate 25 years of providing noteworthy news in our community, I am honored to be a part of the Greater Tulsa Reporter family since 2010. What a great time to go back and re-experience Trash Talk highlights printed over the years:

2010: Living Sustainably in the City: “Getting off the grid…sounds so romantic and exotic. But to me it sounds awful. I’ve seen the photos and heard the stories of my grandparents living off the land. They look hot, dirty and tired.

I love modern city living. But we can take note of my grandparent’s habits for a more sustainable way of life here in the city, such as insulating our homes well, creating yard spaces that require little water or maintenance, and collecting rain water for those dry summer months.”

2011: The Scoop on Poop, Why Picking It Up Is Our Duty: “According to a 1995 report in The Magazine of the Hydrological Society of South Australia, ‘A single gram of dog waste can contain 23 million fecal coliform bacteria.’ At www.tpeb.org, you can read about how dog doo’s bacteria, virus count and high concentration in nitrogen creates an overgrowth of algae, which absorbs the water’s oxygen and kills fish and needed plant life….not picking it up can also cost you a city fine.”

Update: Have someone pick up poo for you! There are several local businesses providing services such as pooptroops.com, Tulsadogpoop.com, Poop911.com, and dpwsokc.com.

2012: Facts and Fanfare for Recycling in Tulsa County: “It’s a win-win. Tulsa County Pharmacy celebrated the milestone of $10 million dollars’ worth of leftover prescription drugs repurposed to clients in need, while saving taxpayers money. Two retired Tulsa doctors spearheaded this cause in the 1990s. They are Dr. George Prothro and Dr. Jerry Gustafson. This program is the first of its kind in the nation and is now in more than 38 states and Canada.”

Update: The program is going strong. From its start in 2004 through November 2017, 220,965 prescriptions have been filled through repurposed pills, averaging a financial savings of $21,822,560 to our local community. Learn more through the Tulsa County Medical Society at tcmsok.org/drug-recycling.

2013: Force Fields, Air Jets and Nanotechnology: Recycling for the Modern Age: “The EPA reports that the average American generates nearly one ton of trash each year and approximately 4.4 pounds of trash every day. The first step in lowering that number is using less stuff. After that, buying products made from recycled products that use less packaging and, finally, recycling.

To help us recycle more quickly and easily, a clean MRF system now calls Tulsa home through American Waste Control and Tulsa Recycling and Transfer. MRF stands for materials recovery facility. In a dance all its own, this computerized system of conveyer belts, air jets, magnets and nanotechnology can identify and disperse almost 200 tons of recyclables per day.”

Update: Recycling numbers are actually down for Tulsa County due to recycling bin contamination. City officials ask that we, “Focus on the Four,” which is glass, metal, paper, and plastic bottles.

2014: Glass, Metal or Plastic: Recycling By the Numbers: “Here are statistics that’ve helped me remember why I do what I do: • People use approximately one million plastic bags every minute • A single plastic bag can take up to 1,000 years to degrade • Plastic bags remain toxic even after they break down • Plastic bags are the second-most common type of ocean refuse, after cigarette butts (2008) • Every square mile of ocean has about 46,000 pieces of plastic floating in it.”

2015: MET Awards: An Honor to Serve, A Thrill to be Recognized: “You are now reading an award-winning column! The Metropolitan Environmental Trust, better known as The MET, held its 2015 America Recycles Day Banquet, honoring those in our community working towards environmental awareness and change. I am humbled to tell you they honored me as Recycling Reporter. I am among quite great company.

I also could not be here without GTR Newspapers’ dedication to giving space to sustainability each month and the incredible team making it happen. Also, it wouldn’t be possible without you, the reader, who takes this journey with me, and adds to the story with your own sustainable interests and goals. Thank you.”

2016: Discarded Material Brings New Life to Tulsa Development: “In our search for success, we often try to think outside the box. Local business partners Elliot Nelson and Casey Stowe of Nelson+Stowe Development have a new downtown venture with the actual box in mind. ‘I saw something similar to this in London, UK, and thought it was so cool, I had to bring the idea back to Tulsa,’ said Stowe.

It’s called Boxyard and is made from 39 upcycled shipping containers.

‘Shipping containers are generally used for no more than 10 years. But as you can see, these are solid structures made of steel,’ said Stowe, as we stood gazing at the build site. ‘So, it’s pretty exciting to know that these have been over many oceans, and now will retire right here in landlocked Tulsa for an entirely new life.’

Boxyard will house up to 20 shops, restaurants and hot spots, including Sole Massage, great for runners by the way, and hometown favorites such as Dwelling Spaces and STEMcell, which I can’t wait to check out!” Find out more at TulsaBoxyard.com

2017: Music Festival Proves Less Waste is Possible: “The Second Annual Homegrown Music Festival, held where I was home grown along the Mulberry River in Arkansas…was another great success for this zero-waste music festival concept.

The amount of eco games and activities tripled this year. A highlight of the green education was the trash pickup contest for kids. ADEQ’s Betsy Spedich said kids and their parents learned pickup safety and procedures [to earn tokens for prizes]. ‘One thing that gets the most tokens is what we’re calling micro-trash,’ says Spedich. ‘All the little stuff you find ends up in the river, and the chemicals in cigarette butts wind up in our ground water.’

The Ames Posse won the competition with more than 2,000 beer cans collected, and 109 ounces of micro-trash. Nine-year-old Marley Ames, looking behind her at the mountain of cans she’d collected, [said] ‘…I want to win the competition, and I want the earth to be healthy and happy.’ Well said, Marley. Well said.

2018: Less Means More: Fewer Toys Equals Better Development: “It made my recycling heart happy to see a 2017 study indicating that access to fewer toys results in longer, more meaningful playtimes for toddlers. Researchers at the University of Toledo released a report in November showing, ‘an abundance of toys present reduced quality of toddlers’ play.’ As we work hard to balance what we need with using less stuff, it’s nice to see research bolstering that less stuff equates to good parenting.”

Looking Ahead: Thank you, Readers, for continuing to support GTR Newspapers. As the last independent newspaper in the state, I applaud Forrest and Sharon Cameron for their dedication to and love for our great community. If there is someone doing something in our town, there you will also find GTR Newspapers.

Updated 01-30-2018

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