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Some Recycling Going To The Landfill With Tulsa Recycle Transfer Facility Closed After April Fire


With the City of Tulsa’s contracted recycling facility closed indefinitely after a fire last month, demand on the local incinerator is so high, it can’t pick up all the slack.

Wait times at the Covanta Waste to Energy Plant in west Tulsa are regularly exceeding 30 minutes. After that cutoff, trucks can be sent to the landfill with recyclable materials.

City Refuse and Recycling Services Manager Maureen Turner said trash and recycling pickup will start an hour earlier — 5 a.m. — starting Monday to try spreading out demand, but that’s all that’s possible right now.

"The biggest problem is we can’t expand the footprint there. The City of Tulsa built that facility, it is landlocked. There’s no way we can make that bigger. And so, we’re kind of dealt the hand that we have," Turner told city councilors during an update this week.

Tulsans have been asked to continue putting recycling in their blue carts and trash in their gray carts, even though everything is going to the same place. Turner said if people want to just put everything into their gray carts, that’s OK, but only recycling should continue going into blue carts to avoid contaminating the recycling stream in case the Tulsa Recycle Transfer Facility can partially resume operations.

"They’re hoping that that might be able to start in July, but they can’t guarantee it," Turner said.

Other local communities with curbside recycling also use the Tulsa Recycle Transfer Facility. The fire there was caused by a lithium-ion battery that made it into the recycling stream.

Matt Trotter joined KWGS as a reporter in 2013. Before coming to Public Radio Tulsa, he was the investigative producer at KJRH. His freelance work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on MSNBC and CNN.
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