Recycling Pilot Program
On December 5th, 2017, the Broken Arrow City Council approved the Citizens Recycling Committee's recommendation of running two concurrent curbside recycling pilot programs encompassing 500 customers each. The first pilot would continue the collection of garbage in trash bags, but include a plastic cart for recyclables. The second pilot would include a cart for both trash and recycling services.
Both pilot programs would reduce pick up to once per week instead of twice and discontinue the use of City-provided trash bags. The estimated cost for running the two pilots projects is $300,000, funded by the Broken Arrow Municipal Authority (BAMA).
Current sanitation routes will determine who will be selected for the pilot, which is anticipated to begin sometime in early 2019. Please note that this is just a pilot to determine if curbside recycling is feasible in Broken Arrow, and if it is, recycling would be completely voluntary.
Broken Arrow currently does not offer curbside recycling service, and the pilot program will help guide staff, the Committee and the City Council on future action steps regarding curbside recycling city-wide.
About the Citizens Recycling Committee
The Committee, comprised of 12 members of the public and two Councilors (one as an alternate), was formed in fall 2016 after a citizens survey in Spring 2016 showed a favorable attitude to implementing a curbside recycling program in the City. Committee members were tasked with understanding the opinions of Broken Arrow refuse customers and to serve as a guide for the development of future refuse and recycling services.
Meeting 14 times between November 2016 and July 2017, the committee educated themselves on recycling finance and economics, possible pilot programs, collection systems and recycling as it relates to economic development and sustainability. Several meetings included tours of recycling facilities within the metropolitan area, such as the M.e.t.’s Broken Arrow site, the Covanta Energy plant in Tulsa and the Tulsa Recycling and Transfer Material Recovery Facility.
Frequently Asked Questions
When will the pilot program start?
We are projecting the pilot projects to kick off sometime in early 2019.
Who will be selected to participate in the pilot program?
The pilot program area will be selected from existing refuse routes or portions of routes. All refuse customers in those selected areas will be a part of the pilot program.
Will the recycling pilot programs make my trash bill increase?
Participation in the pilot program will not affect rates, and the recycling systems being tested in the pilot programs are not expected to increase rates if adopted.
What if I’m selected for the pilot, but I don’t want to recycle?
Recycling will be encouraged, however, it will be voluntary. Please note participants who recycle will have opportunities to provide feedback about the program.
Why use carts for the pilot? Why not just collect recycling in bags?
There are several advantages to using the carts:
- Rolling carts reduces the possibility of litter and debris being spread throughout neighborhoods due to disturbances by animals.
- Rolling carts provide homeowners with an easier and cleaner method for the storage of trash and recyclables during the time between collection days.
- Rolling carts easily handle glass and cardboard.
- Rolling carts provide for a more efficient and safer collection method, as well the possibility of implementing a fully-automated service.
- The use of rolling carts eliminates the recurring annual expense of purchasing plastic bags.
- Rolling carts generally contributes to the generation of a better quality of collected recyclables with less contamination.
- Bags generally contribute to higher recycling processing cost than carts and are problematic for recycle machinery.
Where will I put my carts?
Carts can be stored on a homeowner’s property at their discretion but are typically stored in the garage or at the side of the house. The City will work with Homeowners Associations that have covenants restricting the placement of bins outdoors.
How long will the pilot program last?
Four months, however, the programs will continue to run and operate until such time a decision is made on City wide implementation.
Does this mean everyone has to recycle?
No. Recycling will be encouraged, however, it will be optional.
How will curbside recycling affect the M.e.t.?
The M.e.t will continue to provide recycling services especially for those items that are not collected curbside such as: motor oil, batteries (household & auto), cooking oil, eyeglasses, phone books, plastic bags, scrap metal, antifreeze and electronic waste.
Many communities that have curbside recycling also have recycling drop off centers. For example, they are used by apartment residents, small businesses, and curbside customers who have a large amount of recyclables (such as packaging from furniture) or do not want to wait until their next collection day to get rid of some recyclables.
Who makes the final decision?
The Broken Arrow Municipal Authority will make the final decision. However, after the pilot projects are completed and all data collected, the information will be presented to the Citizens Recycle Committee for their analysis and comment.