- Fort Worth, TX will move away from its residential Recyclebank program by the end of the year due to low participation. The city will instead focus on commercial recycling through a program called Recycling Star, as reported by the Star-Telegram.
- The city had been paying Waste Management $300,000 for access to a program that rewarded residents for recycling. This will end as of Jan. 1, 2017. Residents will still earn points for online activities and rewards will be paid for by Recyclebank sponsors.
- Funds will be diverted to the $600,000 Recycling Star program which will still encourage residential recycling but focus more strategically on increasing diversion rates at businesses, churches, schools and hospitals.
This decision comes as the city completes a 20-year solid waste management plan and looks for ways to boost its diversion rate from slightly more than 20% to 40%. Recent research has found that because the commercial sector accounts for two-thirds of the city's waste more landfill capacity can be preserved by focusing on it.
Many cities have been looking for ways to better understand commercial recycling and encourage more of it. For some this has involved enacting regulations — including potential franchising systems — while others have taken the educational approach. Regardless of the method it often takes dedicated staff to work with these generators to understand all of the variables in their waste streams.
Fort Worth started using the Recyclebank program in 2012, as it has been popular in hundreds of other cities, and the reasons for low participation are unknown. Driving recycling behavior is complicated and recent reports have shown that motivating factors could include a link to the person's identity, information on the material's destination and much more.