Local Recyclers Receive Recognition as Eco Heroes

Tulsa Master Recyclers Association

GREEN AWARDS: From Inverness Village to Memorial High School, this year’s America’s Recycles Day Awards Banquet shows how people of all ages can get in to going greener. Pictured L to R: Sarah Turner (Class of 2010), Tasha Mecher (Class of 2011), Teacher, John Beasley, Brandon Weaver & Alli Martin (class of 2012), and M.e.t. Board Chair Robert Carr.

Courtesy Jake Duncan

Recyclers know that we tend to go unnoticed or ignored as we push and pull our homes, businesses and events towards the green revolution. We tirelessly toil away amid trash cans and recycling bins because we love it and have a crazy passion to see stuff follow the three R’s instead of winding up in a landfill. It could even be said that after a while, we become white noise when we “help” you learn how better to incorporate green practices into our daily lives.

But each Nov. 15 on “America Recycles Day,” the M.e.t. shines a spotlight on a few of the people in our community who performed special feats of eco-heroism. Presented by Greenstar, the M.e.t. awarded eight new recycling heroes at their banquet held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Tulsa this year.

The award for Commercial Recycler of the Year goes to Terrell Hoagland, Director of Sustainable Projects at Flintco. The M.e.t. awarded Hoagland because he, “…promotes construction waste diversion in partnership with local waste processors.” Hoagland couldn’t accept his award during the banquet because he was giving a lecture out of state on how to create a greener construction site.

Gentle Earth Recycling picked up the award for Recycling Small Business of the Year. Owners Peggy Klare and Vicki Gaines started Gentle Earth in 2004 after recognizing the need for curbside recycling in Broken Arrow. Since then, it’s grown to serve more than 300 families and 15 businesses throughout Bixby, Owasso, south Tulsa and, of course, Broken Arrow.

Our third winner is Tulsa Memorial High School’s “Earth Team Volunteers,” for The Recycling School of the Year. These students are some of the most dedicated recyclers around. Teacher and fellow member John Beasley started this organization in 2006 with nine students. Currently, it touts more than 100 members who donated more than 200 hours towards recycling assistance and awareness throughout the year. They can also perform a fabulous Trash Mob Flash Dance.

The Recycling Non-profit of the Year goes to Goodwill Industries of Central Oklahoma. The M.e.t. awarded Goodwill because, “Goodwill’s state-of-the-art recycling facility in Oklahoma City has confirmed its status as a green industry juggernaut…thanks to this new facility, the number of households donating recyclable goods in the Oklahoma City metro area increased by more than 60 percent in 2010 alone.”

The fourth award recipient is Tulsa’s Inverness Village for The Recycling Community of the Year. Built with sustainability in mind, this 190-acre Life Care retirement community marries beauty, functionality and all things green. They offer cottage residents curbside pick-up, each residential floor has two refuse rooms for recycling, and they host monthly town hall meetings to continue educating residents on recycling best practices.

The Recycling Government of the Year goes to Choctaw Nation. After investing in a 30,350 square foot recycling center in Durant, the Choctaw Nation diverted nearly half a million pounds of recyclables out of landfills. They also recycled more than 80,000 pounds of electronic waste and providing a place for recycling drop-off service.

The M.e.t. honors Wayne Driggers as The Public Employee of the Year. As the leader for the Expo Square Green Team, Driggers showed how cutting costs for greener practices can be profitable. Driggers and his team lowered Expo Square utility bills through water and energy conservation such as changing the lighting used in the QuickTrip Center. Driggers also served as county representative for the state fair, helping to gain recycling volunteers to see a record number of recycled goods at this year’s Oklahoma State Fair.

The final category of The Recycling Event of the Year goes to Harley Hollan Companies for Unboxing Days. Unboxing Days allows you to drop off your empty present boxes and bagged Styrofoam for the 12 days after Christmas. Approached with the idea by fellow member, Barbara VanHanken, Harley Hollan Companies enjoyed so much success last year that not only will they host Unboxing Days again this year; they expanded this event to year-round drop-off, and to include most recyclable products. Just check their website for hours of operation.

To all these heroes, Trash Talk says thank you! To all the recycling heroes still out there, thank you for your dedication to all things green and glorious. Our planet is grateful!

If you would like to begin your recycling journey, learn how with Tulsa Master Recyclers Association. Spring class begins Feb. 15. Learn more at tulsamasterrecyclers.blogspot.com.

Updated 12-22-2011

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