I know a lot of people wonder why they don’t get paid for recyclable materials – after all, there is a market for these materials. But, in essence, we do: we get paid in the convenience of curbside and single-stream programs. We’ve always had the option of taking materials to a recycler ourselves… but, by and large, we don’t. Municipalities have focused on “rewarding” residents who recycle with convenience, but the growth of other rewards programs, like Recyclebank, demonstrates that “payment” in the form of redeemable points – think of your credit card’s or grocery store’s loyalty rewards program – might be the next big thing to increase recycling rates (and save municipalities money on dumping fees).
Of course, such programs must be easy and convenient to use: participants not only have to be able to figure out how to get their materials picked up and counted, but also to track their points, and redeem them on products and services they want. Norfolk, Virginia, which participates in Recycling Perks, is the first community involved in that program to try out an app for recycling and awards management. According to the city, the Recycling Perks app – available for both iOS and Android-based devices – provides users with features and information like:
- Access to the full Recycling Perks website to register, shop, and redeem rewards
- All residential collection service details for yard waste, garbage, bulk waste, and recycling
- Address look up to find your waste collection dates and option to sync them directly with your calendar
- Household hazardous waste recycling and disposal information
- Holiday collection updates and other important recycling news
- Quick search function to look up what you want to recycle and find out where to dispose of it
- Report a problem feature to send quick information to the city for any waste collection issues
Will this increase recycling rates in the city? I’m not going to make a firm prediction, but according to Waste Dive, simply adding a similar rewards program in Colonial Heights, Virginia, led to a doubling of recycling rates. It’s hard to believe that making that program even more accessible through the app won’t have a similar impact.
Used Recycling Perks, Recyclebank, or another recycling rewards program? Does it encourage you get that blue bin out to the curb? Tell us about your experience…
Image credit: Shutterstock