Recycling efforts in Tulsa are on the rise. More items are being collected by more people than ever before. There are new businesses making new products out of recycled materials, helping complete the cycle. I hope that you also are pleased with how easy recycling is becoming in Tulsa.
In Tulsa, the item with the biggest increase in tonnage collected is plastic bottles- like water and soft drink containers. In the last year alone, the M.e.t. has seen more than a ten percent increase in the collection of these bottles. The reasons for this increase are complex. First, our customers might be just recycling more of them. It was a very hot and long summer which probably led to people drinking more fluids. Another factor is that water bottles have been on sale. Some sales priced these bottles at less than three dollars for a case of 24. When the price gets as low as eleven cents per container, consumption increases no matter how hot or cold a person is.
I like to believe that the increase in collected bottles is also a result of more people starting to recycle. We know that more people have subscribed to curbside collection in Tulsa and more events likes runs and festivals have been collecting bottles. I am sure that Oklahoma’s education efforts have helped, but I know from colleagues that the collection of plastic bottles is up on a national level as well.
These bottles are marked with a small number one in a recycling logo near the bottom of the container. That means the bottle is made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET). PET bottles are the most recycled of all plastics nationally with about 27% of them recycled last year. They are made into many materials including t-shirts, carpeting and recycled lumber. Recycling a single water bottle can save enough energy to power a 60 watt bulb for over six hours, and recycling a ton of them saves 7.4 cubic yards of landfill space.
I am pleased that PET bottles, like the kind used for beverages, are being recycled at record levels. We are clearly buying more of them, especially during hot weather, and thus have more opportunities to recycle them. This supply is spurring new demand for investment in both processing facilities and manufacturing companies to make them into new products. This demand spurs the growth of job opportunities, and is another smart reason to recycle.