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City Council approves curbside recycling for BA residents

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Sanitation crew collecting recyclablesThe Broken Arrow Municipal Authority (BAMA), which is comprised of the five City Councilors and oversees the City’s Sanitation service, unanimously approved adopting a curbside recycling program for Broken Arrow refuse customers at its Nov. 5, 2019, meeting. 

The approved recommendation includes:

  • Converting the entire City to once per week collection via rerouting
  • Issuing all customers a 96-gallon blue recycling cart with the option to opt-out
  • Issuing all customers a black refuse cart with multiple size options
  • Implementing a walk-up service for disabled and elderly customers
  • Discontinuation of the City-provided trash bag program
  • Replenishing the City’s sanitation fleet with automated trucks for collecting recyclables

“I appreciate all the heartfelt thought and consideration Council members have put into this decision. It’s a sorely needed service if Broken Arrow is to continue on the trajectory of growth we have been,” said City Manager Michael Spurgeon. “Now with the Authority’s approval, the real work starts as the City’s staff begins putting together a public education and operational plan in order to ensure we have a highly successful rollout in the next year.”

Full implementation is expected to take about a year, due to logistical reasons, such as purchasing and distributing carts, determining new routes, training personnel and purchasing or retrofitting trucks for carts. 

A public education campaign will start at the beginning of the year to prepare residents for the upcoming changes.

“We understand this is a major change in how we do business,” Spurgeon said. “We will be working with residents before implementation to answer all their questions, and we’ll continue to be there with answers for them long after it’s rolled out.”

Details regarding the size options for carts and the walk-up service will be determined during the implementation phase. The $680,000 budgeted annually for the City-provided trash bag program will be reallocated to purchase carts and other equipment needed for program implementation. 

Future considerations for the Authority include the study and implementation of a green waste collection program and separating the Sanitation Division from the General Services Department to create its own department.

“Broken Arrow residents have always been proud of the service our Sanitation Division provides. Let me assure you, that quality service is not going anywhere. It is just adapting to a modern world that has different demands,” Spurgeon said. “Broken Arrow is seen as a leader among communities in the state and around the region, and implementing this curbside recycling program catches us up on the one area where we’ve been behind the curve.”

About BA’s Refuse Service

Broken Arrow’s Sanitation Division provides refuse pickup services to more than 33,000 residential solid waste customers. Currently, residents receive twice-weekly trash service, either Monday/Thursday or Tuesday/Friday.

Sanitation crews collect approximately 3,100 tons of refuse monthly. This varies throughout the year based on yard waste. The average Broken Arrow household generates about 203 pounds of solid waste per month. Refuse is taken to the Covanta Energy from Waste Facility. Covanta is approximately 15 miles from the center of Broken Arrow.

Originally published Nov. 6, 2019