- Allentown, PA, in partnership with Waste Management, is introducing Recyclebank to its residents, as reported by Recycling Today.
- The city's 36,000 residents will have the opportunity to earn redeemable points that will be accepted by local and national retailers.
- Recyclebank was founded in 2004 and has since worked with more than 300 communities. Participants reportedly earned points worth more than $60 million in 2013.
This new partnership comes as Allentown is updating its waste system. The city approved a $10 million contract with existing hauler Waste Management last year that implemented single-stream recycling as of this past summer. City officials have also been exploring the possibility of using a waste-to-energy facility for years though no details have been finalized.
After investing in Recyclebank's parent company in 2011, Waste Management has worked to bring the program to new communities that want to see their diversion rates decrease. This concept has seen success in certain areas, though Fort Worth, TX recently decided to stop paying for it due to low participation.
Even with national education initiatives that have been running for decades and programs available in the vast majority of communities, the solution to varying participation rates is somewhat of a mystery. A recent survey from Keep America Beautiful found that distrust or confusion about the recycling process may play a role, particularly among millennials. In a similar approach to pay-as-you-throw programs, this type of recycling rewards system is seen as a way to motivate better habits.