America Recycles Day

America Recycles Day is coming!

Use the 2014 ARD Nomination Form to nominate someone or something you think deserves recognition for our favorite national holiday.

Here’s a bit from last year’s winners..

On Friday, November 15th, we held our 13th Annual America Recycles Day Awards Banquet at the Hyatt Regency in Downtown Tulsa.

Every year, we honor a group of nominated individuals and organizations for the innovative efforts in recycling across Oklahoma. These important people helped increase recycling rates and divert waste from landfills. As we continue to grow as a recycling community, these individuals and organizations are essential to the recycling efforts of our country.

The 2013 America Recycles Day Award Winners are…

Recycling Student – Kay Sind, The University of Tulsa

Kay Sind is the Student Chair of the University of Tulsa’s Sustainability Committee. As Student Chair, Kay organizes meetings and recruits passionate students, faculty, and staff to work together to improve sustainability on TU’s campus. Over the past few years, with the support of the University of Tulsa’s Associate Director of Special Project and Energy Conservation, Jason Grunin, TU has been able to substantially increase recycling efforts and waste reductions. This fall, TU made the shift to single stream recycling.

The Sustainability Committee sponsors student groups to act as Green Teams to pick up recycling after football games and to increase waste diversion. The goals for next semester are to implement permanent recycling containers around the TU campus, and to provide recycling containers for individual dorm rooms, with the goal of eventually having a recycling container next to every trash can.

Recycling Educator – Kenneth Cole, Clyde Boyd Middle School

Kenneth Cole teaches Life Science, Earth Science, and an Environmental Science Classes at Clyde Boyd Middle School in Sand Springs, Oklahoma. During his first year he started a paper recycling program with grant money from the Excellence in Recycling Award and a partnership with PaperRetriever/Abitibi/AbiBow. Due to the location and convenience of the bins, they’ve had to install two 9-yard bins to fulfill the community’s recycling as well.

With the donation of recycle bins from the M.e.t. and grants from the DEQ, Cole has since expanded the program to include, aluminum, plastic, steel and corrugated cardboard with two Mr. Murph 8-yard containers. Cole also recycles cell phones, ink cartridges, digital cameras, laptops, old MP3 players, and electronic waste (e-waste). The school’s cafeteria waste is also collected for the compost bins and worms.

For the last nine years the program has recycled over 155 tons of paper and 30 tons of plastic, aluminum, and corrugated paperboard. All the money and proceeds from the recycling programs go to the Environmental Science class for their service learning projects that benefit the school, creating a sustainable source of funding.

With the success at Boyd and the support of the administration of Sand Springs School district, they now have Mr. Murph containers at every school site. Cole’s students have their sights set on the community of Sand Springs which currently has no curbside recycling.


Kenneth Cole with M.e.t Creative Media Director, Annie Tyndall

Recycling Event – Gentlemen of the Road, Guthrie

The Gentlemen of the Road Guthrie Stopover was a flagship event modeling the opportunities of event waste management. With over 30,000 in attendance, the GOTR event recycled over 18.5 tons and composted over 5.5 tons of post consumer food waste and compostable paper products. With plans to return the compost as nutrient rich dirt to Guthrie in the spring, the event will raise the level of awareness around composting and highlight the opportunity waste represents towards soil building.

Led by the Compost Council and in partnership with Minick Materials, Waste Connections, and Event Productions Inc., the Mumford & Sons Gentlemen of the Road event has helped to trail blaze what is possible for big events in Oklahoma.

Recycling Community – Chickasha


Representative of the event, Nick Algee, with the Compost Council

The City of Chickasha has been a leader in recycling in their part of the state. By progressively implementing a curbside single stream residential recycling program, Chickasha has created a tangible reward system for participants, while benefiting the environment. This program is a partnership with Waste Connections of Oklahoma and a program called Recycle Bank.

Chickasha boasts a 63% participation rate in recycling, which is very high for a program still in its infancy. Residents are averaging 26 pounds per pickup of recycled material and have diverted over 1.6 million pounds in the last 12 months.

A big reason for the success of this program is providing two different bins for each participant: a single stream recycling bin, which collects all recyclables in one container, and a waste bin. The recycle bin’s contents are sorted after they are collected by Waste Connections.

Another reason for the success is the Recycle Bank program. This program is not very different from a personal credit card rewards program. Every individual who wants to participate can log on to, and create a username and password. They will then be rewarded with points each time they set their recyclables on the curb. This has inspired citizens to participate and also supports the local economy.

Recycling Reporter – Sarah Terry-Cobo

ARD 2013 - Chickasha

Employees of Chickasha with the M.e.t. Executive Director, Michael Patton

Sarah Terry-Cobo is an energy reporter for The Journal Record newspaper, a daily business paper based in Oklahoma City. She covers all sectors of the energy industry, including oil and gas, wind, electric utilities, as well as natural resource issues, including water use, air and water pollution, and illegal dumping. She also covers health care, and on occasion, aerospace and defense.

Terry-Cobo graduated from the University of Tulsa in 2006, with a bachelor of arts in environmental policy. She was named outstanding senior among her environmental policy peers in 2006. She graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in 2009, with a master of journalism and a master of arts in Latin American Studies.

While in California, she worked for radio, newspapers, magazines, and online-only publications, including: NPR-affiliate KQED Radio and the Climate Watch series, the quarterly magazine Race, Poverty and the Environment, and the Center for Investigative Reporting and their award-winning Carbon Watch series. She interned at, an online-only business publication covering the “greening” of mainstream business; and covered clean technology for and covered immigration and the Latino community for The Oakland Tribune.

Recycling Innovators – Kum & Go and PepsiCo

Together Kum & Go and PepsiCo have implemented a recycling program designed to encourage and facilitate on-the-go recycling at its Tulsa store locations.

Since launching in January 2013, the first stores succeeded in diverting more than 600 pounds of recyclable materials each month from the landfill—an approximate 120,000 plastic bottles and aluminum cans in total. The program started by strategically placing a dedicated recycling bin next to the fuel pump to allow easy and accessible recycling opportunities for customers.

Beginning this month, PepsiCo will deploy a total of 275 recycling bins to all of Tulsa’s 47 Kum & Go locations in an effort to provide greater access to recycling on-the-go for the Tulsa area.

ARD 2013 - Pepsi & K&G

Employees of Kum & Go and PepsiCo

Recycler of the Year – Ilda Hershey

Ilda Hershey is Sustainability Coordinator at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater. At OSU she collaborates with students and employees to “Go Green for Brighter Orange.” She is currently working on OSU Recycles, a comprehensive, campus-wide recycling program.

Formerly, she provided outreach to Oklahoma rural communities as Assistant State Extension Specialist, Solid Waste Management Programs for the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service. She also worked with grant programs for the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality, Water Quality Division, where she instituted the DEQ’s Green Team.

Ilda holds a Master’s degree in Environmental Science from OSU and a Bachelors’ degree from UCLA. Since 2002, she has volunteered as chair and co-chair of Sustainable Stillwater, a chapter of the Oklahoma Sustainability Network (OSN) and is proud to be one of the founding organizers of OSN. As a representative of Sustainable Stillwater, she serves on the Stillwater Recycling Task Force, which encouraged the City first to adopt a Pay-As-You-Throw refuse program and most recently, a city-wide curbside recycling program.

She actively serves on the board of the Oklahoma Recycling Association (OKRA) as Membership Chair and Conference Chair. Ilda has planned OKRA’s annual conferences since 2009 and oversees OKRA’s website.

ARD 2013 - Ilda Hershey

Ilda Hershey with Michael Patton

Congratulations Winners!

Thank You to our generous sponsors: American Waste Control, Inc., Walmart, Sam’s Club, Holly Refining & Marketing – Tulsa, AEP/PSO, Natural Evolution, Inc., Oklahoma Recycling Association (OKRA), National Waste and Disposal, Inc., Republic Services, Inc., AbiBow and Tulsa Beautification Foundation.