‘Green Waste’ stickers
Demand for ‘green waste’ stickers likely to pick up starting Friday
By ZACK STOYCOFF World Staff Writer
Published: 1/31/2013 2:32 AM
Last Modified: 1/31/2013 8:39 AM
Thousands of 50-cent yard waste stickers have collected dust in QuikTrip stores since Tulsa’s new curbside trash program began Oct. 1.
On Friday, demand for them will suddenly increase.
After waiving the requirement to buy stickers for curbside “green waste” pickup during the past three months, the city will require residents to place them on any bagged or bundled yard waste beginning in February.
The stickers – available at area QuikTrip stores for $2.50 for a sheet of five stickers – will be needed for organic material such as grass clippings, branches, trimmings and plants.
“No one’s buying green waste stickers at this point,” said Eric Lee, the city’s solid waste manager. “QuikTrip’s saying, ‘We’re sitting on all these stickers.’ ”
Although the stickers were distributed to the company in October – a month before the start of the three-month waiver – February will likely be the first month that residents will have to think about them, he said.
Many residents likely opted to dispose of yard waste during the first month of the new trash system by using the free samples of orange garbage stickers that had been mailed to them, Lee said.
The city’s trash board waived the sticker requirement for green waste in November, December and January as a reprieve for residents who were still becoming accustomed to the new system and to allow for the disposal of fall leaves.
As officials and residents settle into the green waste routine, the coming months will be a learning process, city spokeswoman Liz Hunt said.
The stickers ensure that residents pay only for what they need – at least, beyond what they can fit in their regular trash cart, she said. Placing yard waste in carts is free.
“What it does is it provides a fair and balanced rate structure for the customers so you are essentially paying for what you throw,” Hunt said. “It keeps the low-output customers from subsidizing the needs of the high-output customers.”
QuikTrip has bought about $41,000 worth of the stickers from the city so far – about $10,000 more than it has spent on the orange garbage stickers, which must be placed on bags of regular trash that are not put in trash carts.
That represents an average of 300 sheets of five stickers for each of about 65 Tulsa-area stores, according to Hunt.
The company plans to buy more when its supplies dwindle – “and we do expected demand to rise,” she said.
The uncertainty is in how much.
So far, the city has had no accurate way of measuring yard waste output, Lee said. The city will rely on sticker sales to provide such data, he said.
Crews hand-counted about 185,800 bags or bundles of yard waste in November and December, but hand-counting leaves room for error, he said. Data for October and January is incomplete.
The city operates its own green waste trucks, which pick up bags or bundles placed on curbs after 6 a.m. on customers’ primary collection days.
Any bags used for yard waste must be clear so crews can verify that it must go to the city’s green waste site. Any bundles must be no larger than 4 feet by 2 feet.
Tulsa residents can also take yard waste at no cost to the city’s Green Waste Facility at 10401 E. 56th St. North between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. seven days a week. A driver’s license with a Tulsa address is required.
NeWSolutions operates the city’s trash and recycling trucks as part of the new system.