This is the first in what will be a series of [in theory] shorter posts entitled, “WTF Oklahoma!” As I mentioned in one of my first posts, I recently moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma from Columbus, Ohio. In addition, I have lived in Orlando, Florida and Youngstown, Ohio, so I’ve experienced a decent amount of different areas. Not to mention that I’ve lived with people from Ohio, Florida, Oregon, Michigan, Georgia, South Carolina, India, Pennsylvania, and have had friends that have moved to pretty much every state. Basically what I’m trying to say is that I’m decently traveled and open-minded.
But to put it bluntly… Oklahoma is just messed up. These will be those stories.
I came across an article in the Tulsa World the other day discussing a commission who was tasked with finding a way to save money and standardize city services–a noble endeavor. They recently released a report recommending, “Tulsa should move to a once-a-week, volume-based trash service with city-provided, roll-away carts.”
This stopped me dead in my tracks… um… what exactly are you doing currently? So I read the article a little more and find out the most ridiculous thing.
Most of Tulsa, or 94,439 households, has twice-a-week pickup, while a small section of the city known as the northwest quadrant, with 22,157 households, has once-a-week service.
ARE YOU SERIOUS? WHY DO YOU NEED YOUR TRASH PICKED UP MORE THAN ONCE A WEEK? I believe there are two types of people in life. Those that leave comments on newspaper articles on the internet, and people who are sane. So let’s leave it to those commenters let us know why.
-”Once a week service means a lot of people will have mounds of rotting garbage piled up on the curb all week. Animals and the wind will spread it all over creation.”
-”The only place I have to store my trash can is in the garage. I don’t want a weeks worth of trash piling up in the summertime and stinking up the whole place.”
-”So I guess I’ll just wrap my trash in a brown paper bag and drop it off at some shopping center in the parking lot. I don’t want this once a week service. Why would I want maggots and smelly trash all the time? Give me a break.”
-”That’s the last straw; we’re moving out of the city. These ideas coming from New York style cities will have us looking like slums; or a New York neighborhood during trash stikes. More trash/refuse will be dumped randomly and illegally on our country roads as people opt to do this rather that ‘nickle & dime’ pay as you go.”
Yes, because every other city in the United States, including the much larger Atlanta, Columbus, Houston, and Chicago, consist of unlivable slumlike conditions filled with odors. The best part is that 20% of Tulsa is ALREADY on the weekly system, and they are just fine.
“As previously reported by the Tulsa World, preliminary results of the poll that were released last month found that 94 percent of Tulsans are satisfied with their current trash service. That was true whether they had twice-a-week service or once-a-week service. [...] There were no once-a-week customers clamoring to pay more for an extra collection day.”
I did a little research, and it appears that Dallas, New Orleans, and Miami all have twice a week collection, although they have the automated pick-up via the 90-gallon bins. Tulsa, a much smaller city, is proposing going to the bins and reducing to once-a-week. To me, this seems like a no brainer, and honestly can’t believe they are picking up trash twice a week.
So Stretch, I ask you… WTF Oklahoma?
Ya know, Andy, I honestly don’t know. Personally, I am offended as a Chicagoan (or as a lifelong resident of a once-a-week trash pick-up community for that matter) by the implication that collecting trash only once per week will have you swimming in filth. This is simply an unfounded smear campaign against the rest of the country. Let’s look at a case study: Bowling Green, Ohio.
Bowling Green has a population of 29,636. It is home to Bowling Green State University. It also houses Ohio’s first utility-sized wind farm. But what you might not know, it has its trash picked up once per week. You might also note that this suburbanite city was reviewed in the 2008 Best Places to Live by CNN, though it was unable to be ranked because of population.
Some stats of note:
- BG has 13.6% of people walk or bike to work – compared to the average 3.0% (3.1% for Tulsa)
- Median commute is 11.5 minutes – versus 23.0 minutes (16.8 minutes for Tulsa)
- Air quality: 85.6% – far better than 76.0% (69.3% for Tulsa)
The end result is that Bowling Green is a clean city. It is not polluted. People tend to have healthy lifestyles. And they are only using one trash bin each week. So, Tulsans, I assure you – you CAN have a healthy lifestyle with minimal trash collection! You can recycle, save, or even take a trip to the nearest landfill on your dirtiest weeks. But judging from my research, you have a lot of work to do, least of which is complaining about trash collection. Trash in your garage does far less damage than driving your bitchin’ truck 35 minutes every day.