Using Less Stuff Saves Trash, Time and Money

Tulsa Master Recyclers Association

BEING THE CHANGE: Rosa Parks Elementary students in Ms. Haralson’s class noticed trash piling up across the street from their school, so they crafted 10 reasons why the principal should let them clean it up. This led to a partnership with Global Gardens to create signs requesting that people not litter along the roadside. Representing Ms. Haralson’s class are Jordan Galloway, Aaron Chavez, Camila Mendoza and Monse Jalpa Ramirez. Thank you students!

BETH TURNER for GTR Newspapers

It’s a scary time for me and my fellow education workmates here in Oklahoma, and nothing like a budget crisis to get me thinking about not just who to elect next but also, how to tighten my own budget’s belt.

Things you can stop spending money on:
1. Single-servings of bottled water: I personally like the water out of our faucets much better than what can be purchased off the shelves, and it can be much safer to drink than bottled brands. City of Tulsa Water Quality Assurance Supervisor Melissa Gray says, “Bottled water is devoid of anything, which is a great breeding ground for everything.” Gray says, “The city’s water comes to you treated with disinfectant, so you can trust that it’s free of contaminants to keep our public safe.”

2. Dryer sheets and fabric softeners: Use a ball of wool for static reduction, mine comes from an old winter glove. A spoonful of vinegar in your wash works as a softener. Add drops of your favorite natural oil in the ball of wool for a scented preference.

Disposable Straw Update: You may remember my New Year’s Resolution to track my disposable straw usage since I high-and-mightily swore to never using one. So far I’m up to eight. Nonprofit recycler Eco-Cycle estimates that Americans use 500 million plastic straws every day.

Summer Opportunities:

Green The Fest
As stewards of the 2016 Homegrown Music Festival, Mulberry River Society invites you to join them in creating a waste-free festival this summer. Volunteers can choose two six-hour shifts for a weekend pass of live music and camping July 21-23 at Byrd’s Adventure Center. The line-up includes Leftover Salmon, The Wood Brothers and Earphunk. If interested, email David Gottschalk at

Talk About Energy
hosts Energy Communications Camp June 20-22. This camp is for students who will be sophomores, juniors and seniors this fall who want to explore a career that combines the science of energy with the art of storytelling. It’s free of charge with a $75 refundable deposit. Log on to for more information.

Triple Savings
Sustainable Tulsa’s next class for Triple Bottom Line Scorecard will open soon. If you would like to learn how to coach or be a business interested in helping a business or organization with sustainable, money-saving changes, email

Eco Savings
Speaking of, Systems recently announced a savings of $35 million through its energy management, a system implemented in 2007. Oklahoma State reports a 2015 ranking of seventh out of the Top 30 Colleges and Universities for renewable energy.

= Success
If you are an educator, I apologize for bringing up next year so soon. If you are interested in incorporating student-led learning complete with curriculum and expert volunteer assistance, check out Oklahoma Green Schools Program at Their summit just ended so that means a lot of people paved the way for you to ease into success.

OGSP’s energy strand brings near instant gratification with a energy savings check, and the student-driven recycling is amazing to see implemented in your school. This is the program that inspired students at Peters Elementary to provide the school assembly with the play, “How to Green Your School,” which can be found on Adorable.

Talk About It
There are so many amazing stories out there of people creating positive change in their own neighborhoods and community circles. So, keep us inspired! Send in photos and comments of what you see and do around you at or tweet about it @TrashTalkTulsa.

Updated 05-24-2016

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