Tulsans share anger over recycling process, months after a fire shut down the facility

TULSA, Okla. — Multiple Tulsans have reached out to FOX23, sharing their anger about the lack of recycling in the city.

The Tulsa Recycle and Transfer Facility has been closed for more than 8 months, after someone mistakenly placed a lithium-ion battery with their recycling.

That battery sparked a massive fire that spread through the facility.

Workers have continued to pickup recyclable items over the past 8 months. However, because they are not able to process the items, the recycling has been placed in the same dump trucks as trash.

Many residents didn’t notice.

“So, I think for me and many Tulsans who are in the recycling program, you didn’t notice it that much. They were picking it up, getting it out of my way, and accepting it as recyclables,” said Barbara VanHanken.

One homeowner sent surveillance video to FOX23, showing workers place the contents of both the trash bin and the recycling bin in the same truck. Both trash and recyclables are going to the same facility, disposed in the same process.

In an email, one woman wrote, “our recycle bin and our trash bin were taken and dumped into the same trash truck at the same time. I’m outraged because we’re paying for that service, using extra time and energy to rinse and sort out everything.”

The City of Tulsa told FOX23 that there is no charge for recycling.

Officials recently posted information on its website, asking residents to continue the same recycling and trash process to avoid disruption or delay when the Recycle and Transfer Facility resumes operations.

At first, the facility was expected to reopen in late December. Then, the date was changed to the end of January. Now, the target date has been set for mid-February.

“It makes me wonder why it’s taken so long,” said VanHanken.

FOX23 asked the president of American Waste Control, the company that runs the recycling program. In an email, we were told that delays are because of a supply chain delay on electronic parts, and that these parts are necessary for the system to operate.

You can drop-off your recycling in person at several M.E.T. recycling centers around Green Country.

You can find the addresses and location hours here.