The Classen becomes first complex on recycling pickup route 

Directly south of Oklahoma City's landmark Gold Dome stands another eye-catching architectural wonder, extending 20 stories into the sky: The Classen Luxury Apartments.

The Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired, hexagonal high-rise building boasts tennis and basketball courts, 24-hour concierge service and gorgeously decorated, angular penthouses, all to bring class and pizzazz to 2200 N. Classen in every way. But The Classen is making headlines for its service in another area: establishing the city's first recycling program at an apartment complex.

"We have a lot of environmentalists who live in the building," said Becky Maples, The Classen property manager. "It's pretty one-on-one "¦ as far as our relationship with the residents that live here. We get to talk to them and they suggested it, so we looked into it."

Each floor, Maples said, has four apartments, each with its own room for trash and recycling bins. The refuse is bought down Monday through Friday and the recyclables are placed in larger bins for paper, glass, aluminum and plastic.

She said achieving the green goal required some persistence " plenty of e-mails, voice mails and phone calls yielded results after a couple of months. Recycle America, a division of Waste Management Inc., usually offers programs on a smaller scale, but it was smooth sailing after the company caught on to Maples' proposition.

"It was kind of an uphill project because the Waste Management company that services OKC only wanted to set up a recycling program for residential homes," she said. "(After) five to seven phone calls, they were like, 'Nope, houses only.' It would just be one pickup, just like a house would be, and once they heard that, then they opened up a little bit."

Mark Jordan, plant manager at Waste Management/Recycle America in Oklahoma City, said the request was unusual, but he welcomed The Classen.

"Normally, it's a case-to-case basis, depending on how the management wants to handle it," he said. "We'd definitely like to see other complexes do the same thing."

Although rates for a two-bedroom at The Classen can push $2,000 a month, the per-pickup recycling fee is included with rent; expenses are handled by the management. After trying out the new program for a while, Maples said the response from residents has been positive.

"It was definitely a bigger hit than we expected it to be," she said.

Corrine Sardis, who has lived at the apartment since April 2007 with her husband, said the program is convenient.

"I think it's great " almost everyone in the building is participating because the bins fill up so fast," she said. "I'm glad the management asked us to participate." "Jake Dalton

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