Go Green, Oklahoma

Well, we can hope, anyway.

One of the blogs on the Oklahoman‘s web site is “Go Green” and actually, despite my considerable reservations about it going in, it’s good. The worst thing I can say about it is that there’s not enough promotion of it in the company’s more visible operations, the dead-tree newspaper and main site, NewsOK.com (for the life of me, I can’t find links to any of the blogs on the new version of that site.)

The main writer is John Sutter, “environment reporter” for OPubCo. Did you even know that the Oklahoman had an environment reporter? Me, either.

Also contributing is Micah Gamino, whom I met several years ago when he was a journalism student. He’s a committed environmentalist, but again, doesn’t seem to be well utilized by his employers.

But the real blame for the lack of attention to environmental issues doesn’t really lie with OPubCo, but with the state itself. There is a tragic lack of attention to and leadership on this issue. And Go Green itself addressed this problem on Sept. 23 with OKC and Tulsa Among Least Green Cities.

One of the entries of Go Green that caught my eye was E-Waste in Oklahoma, which talks about a new law going into effect in 2009 to deal with the potential toxicity of discarded electronics.

The Oklahoma Legislature made a move to address the issue by passing a law last session will require computer companies in Oklahoma to take back and recycle worn-out computers. The law, which goes into effect Jan.1, will encourage the development of companies that can recycle e-waste in Oklahoma, said Fenton Rood, of the state Department of Environmental Quality (see video above). The law only applies to household computers, not those in office buildings, and it doesn’t cover other e-waste, like cell phones and televisions.

Before the law goes into effect, people in Oklahoma City can take their old computers and electronics to the city’s hazardous waste center. There’s only one other permanent hazardous waste collection center in the state, in Midwest City. Towns and cities in rural Oklahoma hold recycling events from time to time. Rood said the law is designed so that it hopefully will be more convenient for people to recycle their computers in the future.

About time, but more is needed. I know that the recycling program in my community is a joke. There is a three-hour window on Saturday morning when I can take items to a designated location. I’m actually thrilled to see as many people take advantage of this as do, but I know the vast majority of my neighbors could not be bothered. Most locals think like my brother, that they’ll recycle when they get paid to. What the government needs to do is educate its populace how much they are paying by NOT recycling.

I would encourage anyone interested in sustainability for Oklahoma to read Go Green and let its corporate sponsor know you appreciate the attention to environmentalism and sustainability in our state.

Meta note: the Oklahoman’s blogs use the WordPress MU platform.

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