The Metropolitan Environmental Trust
The MET Celebrates Earth Day Each year, when people start thinking about spring cleaning, the MET is thinking about spring greening and planning Tulsa’s official Earth Day party, Enviro Expo. For Earth Day, Main Street in downtown Tulsa is closed off to cars, filled with tents and environmental organizations and fun giveaways, and live music echoes between the city’s historic skyscrapers. This year’s party brought more than 3,000 people out of their offices to learn more about being green and to celebrate planet Earth. Many of Tulsa’s environmental organizations were on hand to answer people’s questions about environmental topics.
Dates Set for Fall Collection Twice a year, the MET partners with its member communities to collect household hazardous waste at the Tulsa State Fairgrounds. The event, one of the largest in the nation, gets dangerous chemicals, cleaners, medications and other items out of our homes and away from our creeks, helping to protect our families and the environment at the same time. The upcoming fall collection will take place November 5 & 6, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Gate 7 (15th & Sandusky) of the Tulsa State Fairgrounds. Residents of Tulsa County, Pollutant Collection: Claremore, Coweta and Broken Arrow (any MET November 5 & 6 10 a.m.-3 p.m. community) can bring a 15th & Sandusky variety of items to the event, Tulsa State Fairgrounds including old medications, pesticides, pool chemicals, fluorescent light bulbs and More details: metrecycle.com. Click on Hazardous Waste. automobile fluids, among other items. Oil-based paint may be brought to the event, but latex paint is not accepted, so the MET encourages everyone to check what kind of paint they have before they load up their vehicles. Latex paint is not harmful and can be collected with regular trash as long as it is completely dried out and the lid is removed to show it is dry. Some items accepted at the event, including batteries, motor oil and anti-freeze, are collected all year long at each MET recycling center. If you have these items, don’t wait for the event, recycle them today! Residents don’t need to wait for the event to dispose of compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), either. Lowe’s and Home Depot have small recycling centers set up in their stores near the customer service desk. For a full list of accepted materials, visit metrecycle.com and click on Hazardous Waste or call 918.584.0584.
The MET couldn’t put the event on without the generous support of Tulsa’s business community. Their sponsorships make the event possible, and we would like to thank them for their many years of continued support! This year’s sponsors include: AEP-PSO, AbiBow, LaFarge Tulsa Cement Plant, Covanta Energy, Harley Hollan, Greenstar Recycling and Mod’s Coffee & Crepes. That same week, the MET also held Green Night at the Tulsa Drillers! The Drillers wore green uniforms, recycling games for kids were played on the field, and all the music was green-themed. There were also booths set up near the entrances, much like Enviro Expo. Lots of families learned the benefits of going green that night!
Coffee & Crepes
Volunteers o ff e r e d
Every year, the MET recycles at more than 50 area events. From the Route 66 Marathon and the Bixby Barbeque Festival to Summer’s Fifth Night at Utica Square and Tulsa State Fair, many events in the community have come to count on the MET and its volunteers to help their recycling efforts. That translates into hundreds of hours a year and takes a lot of volunteers. We’d like YOU to become part of that group! You don’t have to volunteer a hundred hours to make a difference. Volunteering for just a few hours a couple times a year can help us keep Green Country green. It’s also rewarding, but don’t just take it from us. John Beasley, one of our volunteers, puts it this way: “Each plastic bottle and aluminum can that I help recycle and keep out of Tulsa’s waste stream is a personal victory for me.” That personal victory is shared with the community, which benefits from less waste, more recycling and a cleaner environment. Some volunteers go beyond picking up recyclables they see on the ground. Take Lauren Radcliffe, who will dig through trash cans to pull out bottles and cans: “It can get a little messy, but I know I’m doing a good thing. If I see something that’s recyclable in the trash and I can get to it, I’m going to pull it out. I’d feel guilty if I didn’t!” Shelley Umezawa, volunteer and outreach coordinator for the MET, adds, “While it does get messy, that simple act of pulling recyclables out of the trash can and placing it into the recycling containers really opens people’s eyes around you, and makes them think twice before throwing their water bottle away.”
We know digging for recyclables isn’t for everyone. That is why we have many types of volunteer opportunities, from events and litter clean-ups to working at our semi-annual Fairgrounds Pollutant Collection. That event takes over 140 volunteers, plus City of Tulsa employees and hazardous waste contractors. Our volunteers represent all facets of the community, from high school and college students to school groups, Boy Scouts, corporate teams, retirees, families, and people just interested in becoming greener. People can sign up to volunteer individually, or they can sign up their group or corporation to help with larger projects. “Volunteers really do make everything possible,” says Shelley Umezawa. “We have a fantastic and enthusiastic core group of volunteers right now, and would like to expand it to even more groups in our community.” Umezawa, a self-described recycling crusader, spends much of her own free time helping local events recycle and getting volunteers there. She adds, “We can’t offer fame, but we can offer refreshments, gloves, a t-shirt and a very rewarding experience.” To volunteer with the MET, contact Shelley Umezawa at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 918.584.0584.
MET Welcomes New Board Members There will be two new faces on the MET’s Board of Trustees beginning in July. Charles Hardt, the representative for the City of Tulsa, is being replaced by Brett Fidler, the City’s Director of Sustainability. Lee Zirk, Broken Arrow’s representative, is being replaced by Craig Thurmond, Vice-Mayor of Broken Arrow. Hardt is retiring from the City after serving on the MET’s board for over 2 decades. Hardt joined the Board in July, 1990. In that time, he has seen the creation of the first MET recycling center and the Fairgrounds Pollutant Collection. In 1992, he received a national FEMA award for outstanding service for the City’s flood control Charles Hardt achievements. In 1993, he was named one of the Top Ten Public Works Leaders in the US by the American Public Works Association, and was inducted into Oklahoma State University’s College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology Hall of Fame in 1995.
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On April 2 and 3, the MET hosted its 39th pollutant collection at the Tulsa State Fairgrounds. With a baseball tournament and a gun show also at Expo Square, it made space tight and traffic interesting, but it didn’t slow the public from bringing us all their household hazardous waste. Here’s a quick breakdown of the most common items we received:
Lee Zirk joined the Board in July, 2009 and was named Chairman of the Management Committee in 2010. He has been instrumental in ensuring Broken Arrow’s commitment to recycling and becoming more environmentally friendly. The staff and rest of the Board would Lee Zirk like to thank these two fine gentlemen for their years of service, and wishes them luck in their future endeavors. Brett Fidler has been named Hardt’s replacement. Fidler became the Director of Sustainability for the City of Tulsa in 2010, overseeing the development of a sustainability plan for the City of Tulsa, administering federal grants to improve energy efficiency at city facilities, and facilitating energy-saving and alternative energy projects throughout Tulsa. Brett Fidler Fidler had been serving since November 2008 as the Mayor’s Special Advisor on Sustainability, appointed by then-Mayor Kathy Taylor. Craig Thurmond will be the new board member from Broken Arrow. Thurmond, the vice-mayor of Broken Arrow, serves on the board of Tulsa County Conservation District, Tulsa Home Builder’s Association and Tulsa Area Conservation Foundation, and is president of the Concerned Citizens for Broken Arrow Foundation. We are very excited to welcome both men to the Board of Trustees!
Spring Pollutant Recap
PSO Promotes Efficiency Early this year, AEP-PSO, City of Tulsa and the MET partnered to develop a pilot program aimed at reducing energy use in homes. The goal is to reduce the number of ‘extra refrigerators’ often found in garages, which are typically more than 15 years old and take more than four times the energy to operate as a new refrigerator.
Oil-based Paint - 15,193 lbs. Motor Oil - 11,200 lbs. (1,600 gal.) Flammables - 11,083 lbs. Pesticides/Poisons - 6,534 lbs. Batteries - 6,237 lbs. Other Hazardous Waste - 5,983 lbs. Aerosols - 3,659 lbs. Antifreeze - 2,100 lbs. (300 gal.) Corrosives - 1,369 lbs. Medication - 1,362 lbs. Oxidizers - 744 lbs. Mercury - 625 lbs.
Tree Giveaways a Hit On April 13, downtown workers in were invited to spend lunch on Samson Plaza to pick out free trees from the MET, the Oklahoma Forestry Department and Up With Trees. In just a few hours, MET employees handed out nearly 400 trees, including oaks, pine, pecan, walnut and hackberry varieties. Up With Trees also gave away trees at Enviro Expo and the Tulsa Drillers Green Night sponsored by the MET. It’s important during the extreme heat of the summer months to keep all young plants and trees watered very well. When the trees are as small as these, it is best to grow them in buckets until they’re large enough to transplant. It also makes it easier to protect them from freezes. Keep these baby trees watered and in a couple years, you’ll have beautiful trees ready to be transplanted.
Connect With us Online
According to PSO, consumers can save $100 or more a year by ditching their extra fridge that they only use around the holidays. The City will haul away the refrigerators for free as part of the bulky waste program, and PSO will pay the first 800 participants $25 for their working refrigerators. The freon will then be removed and the remaining materials will be recycled.
We love getting recycling questions and having engaging conversations, and the easiest place to do that is online! In addition to helpful tips and recycling news, we often have trivia questions and quotes of the day on our Facebook and Twitter. We’d love for you to join us online! Just visit facebook.com/tulsamet and click ‘like’, or follow us on Twitter at @MetRecycle.
It’s easy to participate, but you must live in Tulsa. Just call 918.596.9777 to set up a pick-up time, and in a few weeks, you’ll receive a check in the mail. Remember, the refrigerator must be working when it is picked up in order to get the cash. If it doesn’t work, the City will still pick it up for free.
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