Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Green and Frugal -- Pay for Recycling?

There was an article in my local paper (The Record, 2/22/10) recently that touted an incentive program to increase recycling participation.  I thought it was really interesting, so here is an excerpt:

Put a 32-gallon recycling bin and a 10-inch stack of newspapers on the curb, and you could eventually ear $4 off at CVS when you spend $20 or more. Do that twice, and you could get a free cup of coffee or an ice cream cone at McDonald's.

One city has become the first in North Jersey to sign up with a recycling incentive program offered by a New York company, RecycleBank, that has partnered with towns in 20 states, providing residents points that can be redeemed online for retail goods or discounts.

Here's how it works:

Depending upon the existing recycling infrastructure, RecycleBank will use radio frequency identification (RFID) or global positioning satellite (GPS) technology to identify, track and record household recycling efforts.

1. Participating households receive a recycling cart equipped with an ID tag to link the cart to the household address and account number (the tag carries no other information).

2. On pick-up days, trucks retrofitted with RecycleBank technology identify the cart at pick-up. The weight of the recyclables is converted to points, which are then deposited into a household's account.

3. Redeeming points is just like shopping online with more than 20 categories to choose from, including food and grocery, sports and recreation, entertainment, restaurants, health and beauty and charitable donations.

4. Points can be redeemed at participating local and national partners, including major retailers and brands such a Coca-Cola, Kraft, Dick's Sporting Goods, CVS pharmacy and Bed, Bath & Beyond.

I've never heard of RecycleBank, but here's a little about them:
RecycleBank serves over one million people in 20 states across the United States, and that number continues to increase every week. We will launch our service in Europe this summer. To date, the material recycled by the households we service has enabled RecycleBank to save cities tens of millions of dollars annually in landfill disposal fees, save over 1.5 million trees, and save millions of gallons of oil.

Do you currently have a recycling incentive program in your town? How does it work? Do you like it?

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