Holiday Seasons Bring Accolades, Memories…and Trash

Tulsa Master Recyclers Association

RECYCLER HONORED: Kristen McCormick of Shikoba Recycling accepts The Green Team Award at the 2013 TYPros Boomtown Awards in November.


On average, American households generate 25 percent more trash between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day than the entire rest of the year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. While that’s not a call to cut out the turkey, maybe we can cut back on how much of that trash winds up in the landfill.

Gift Wrapping with Eco Ease
Who doesn’t love that moment when children tear into holiday gifts? I do, and I love my packages to be bright and inviting. However, I haven’t noticed the kids worrying over whether the paper wrapping is shiny or not, so, to make holiday clean-up easy, wrap gifts with 100-percent paper, paperboard and cardboard. That way when the flurry is over, you can scoop it all straight into your recycling bin.

I enjoy brightening packages by using a monochrome color scheme, then tying them up with twine or recyclable ribbon to attach a small toy as a bow. This way, I don’t have to search for a recyclable bow that usually falls off my gift anyway while the child focuses on knowing they can see a present and open one.

Staying away from metallic, glitter or shiny tissue paper and gift bags can be difficult. Glitter seems to make its way into more and more folds. Tissue paper easily recycles but again, not if it’s shiny, glittery or metallic. Those products don’t recycle and they gum up the recycling machines.

After receiving new toys such as flat screen TVs you can take Styrofoam packaging to Harley Holland Recycling Company free of charge, located at 5677 S. 107th E. Ave. For your own sanity, make sure it’s bagged up. Styrofoam breaks apart and gets everywhere pretty easily.

If you’ve received shipments filled with Styrofoam peanuts, you can drop them at your nearby post office. They’ll reuse them.

Holiday Shopping: Products Aren’t Always What They Claim
Needing some warm mittens, a new coat? Stockings are famously filled with socks and scarves. But before you buy, check the label. I saw “wool” socks on sale for a great price recently. Inspired by the movie, Confessions of a Shopaholic, I checked the tag and found the socks were made of only four percent wool. The rest was variations on plastic – viscose, nylon, acrylic, spandex – so I pass my inspiration along to you so that you can make sure your money buys quality. After all, a plastic scarf just isn’t that warm.

Tis the Season for Award Giving
A big congratulations to Kristen McCormick for her company’s win at TYPros’ Boomtown Awards.

This annual event, hosted by the hard-working up-and-comers in our community, honors difference makers in our great city. McCormick’s company, Shikoba Recycling, won The Green Team Award.

Shikoba Recycling not only recycles products for local businesses, it also hires formerly incarcerated women who seek to find their feet again. McCormick said during her acceptance speech that we need to all seek to find sustainability for our humanity to have a healthy, strong community. (I cried.)

McCormick was in good company. Others nominated in her division included Covanta and Tom Wallace. You’ll remember Covanta’s business plan from a past Trash Talk column, “Recycling for the Modern Age.”

Tulsa’s energy-from-waste facility processes 1,125 tons per day of solid waste, which generates up to 240,000 pounds per hour of steam. That steam powers turbine generators that produce clean, renewable energy, eliminating the need for fossil fuel power. Covanta then sells the steam to and Holly Frontier, Inc., for further refinement before it comes to our homes.

Tom Wallace is owner of Wallace Engineering and Structural Consultants. From his bio on the TYPros’ website: “When the George Kaiser Family Foundation, , started developing plans for Guthrie Green (another Boomtown Award Recipient), it was Wallace that had the idea to create the geothermal wells that would power much of the Greens and surrounding Brady Arts District buildings.

Wallace is an avid supporter of sustainable building and is a true innovator for Tulsa. He is an expert and catalyst for greening urban spaces and has led that effort by example with his personal and professionals investments in downtown, the , and Up With Trees.”

Holiday Happiness
Our lives are busy, chaotic, sometimes even a bit frantic, especially during the season that’s upon us. My holiday wish for you is moments of quiet reflection, to find joy in the chaos, to feel deep appreciation for yourself as well as gratitude for the ability to make purchases with your hard-earned dollars, and to find that it’s not what you spend, it’s what you invest. Continue the conversation @TrashTalkTulsa and follow us on Facebook at Newspapers. Happy Greening!

Updated 11-26-2013

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