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Tulsans recycled millions of pounds of waste in 2023, city says

TULSA, Okla. — While cities across the United States have halted recycling programs, the city of Tulsa is ramping up its program. The city touted efforts and numbers on Global Recycling Day.

"I think it’s really easy to think, we’re here sitting in this giant bubble, and what I do doesn’t necessarily affect anybody else and what they do," Morgan Fehrle with the Sustainability Alliance said.

Something as simple as throwing away a bottle of water can have implications. It may be just one, but it adds to mountainous landfills. According to the City of Tulsa, those landfills could shrink, as 80% of household waste is recyclable.

"Sustainability is all about being intentional. It’s not about being perfect," Fehrle said, "So you don’t have to do everything right all the time, but you’re gonna get better at it the more you’re thinking through your process."

The Sustainability Alliance developed an app to help people keep a "TerraScore" of their actions.

More than 400,000 people call Tulsa home, and between them, a lot of stuff gets thrown away. As for where it goes, Mayor GT Bynum offered some surprising numbers.

"Right now, 95% of everything Tulsans throw away at their homes is either recycled or converted to electricity," Bynum said during his State of the City address. "We are one of the greenest cities in America when it comes to household solid waste disposal."

The City of Tulsa said 112,000 households recycle, adding up to millions pounds worth of items in 2023.

"What that says to me is the city of Tulsa is definitely prioritizing recycling as something that they are offering to reduce waste," Fehrle said.

Municipalities pay a price for recycling programs. In fact, cities across the country have stopped them altogether due to financial losses. Tulsa is upping the ante.

"This year, we negotiated a 15-year contract with our trash-to-energy plant that will keep us in this leadership position," Bynum said.

The City of Tulsa has a website dedicated to recycling at


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