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Trash Task Force Will Tackle Green Waste Problems

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  Tulsa City Council's Trash Operations Task Force will develop recommendations to improve the city's green waste program.

The two main issues the task force will address are whether Tulsa should mulch or compost its green waste, and what the best collection method is.

The city runs the current green waste program. The Tulsa Authority for the Recovery of Energy didn't know how much green waste would be collected.

The TARE Board chose to have an in-house system it could study rather than contracting the work, like it did for trash and recycling.

The current program is based on industry recommendations, input from a task force assembled by former Mayor Kathy Taylor and resident surveys.

"It's good now that we have another task force looking at it to see what finishing touches can be made to fine-tune it so it's a system everyone can enjoy and appreciate," said Eric Lee, the city's former solid waste manager.

Stormwater and Land Management Division Manager Roy Teeters told the task force today that most cities with successful green waste programs have dedicated carts for collection.

Currently, residents can dispose of green waste in several ways. It can be put into clear plastic bags and set out next to trash carts. Alternatively, it can be put directly into the trash cart. Residents may also take their own green waste to city collection sites.

A cart-based system would address two collection problems. Separating machines the city has tried out have failed to completely remove plastic bags from green waste, rendering the resulting mulch unusable. Collection crews were able to remove green waste from plastic bags by hand on the streets for a few weeks, but a seasonal increase in green waste has left them unable to keep up.

Surveys indicate residents only want a trash cart and a recycling cart.

"Our thoughts are, if we were to go to some cart-based system, that it be on a subscription [basis]," Teeters said. "If someone wanted one, we could deliver it to them, and they could use it. And if they didn't want one, we wouldn't bother them with it."

Teeters said there are people who don't generate any green waste.

The task force plans to deliver recommendations to the TARE Board in four to five weeks.