RecycleBank comes to Sacramento
The "City of Trees" just got a little bit greener. RecycleBank, a nationwide recycling incentive program, launched a pilot program May 24 in the South Meadowview neighborhood. Participants earn points for their neighborhoods recycling properly.
Blue recycling containers often line the streets, but Jessica Hess of the Department of Utilities said they’re often not used correctly.
"There is a high amount of contamination," she said. "Many residents use the blue (recycling) containers for their extra garbage."
Contamination occurs when nonrecyclable or unclean items are placed in recycling containers. When sorted, these items are taken to a landfill, which costs money and hurts the environment.
To change this, the City of Sacramento joined RecycleBank in an education effort. Months before the launch, recycling ambassadors visited the Meadowview community, informing residents about the program and teaching how to recycle.
Based in New York City, RecycleBank is in more than 300 communities across 26 states, as well as the United Kingdom. Sacramento is the second city in California, after Los Angeles, to adopt the program.
"Everyone knows recycling is good for the Earth," said Jeff Harse of RecycleBank. "But by incentivizing the process, people are more apt to think twice before throwing something away."
Harse noted the program’s success in other cities.
"We launched (in Hollywood, Fla.) in February and the city has seen more than 130 percent increase in recycling rates over this time last year."
Rather than awarding individuals with points, RecycleBank rewards entire communities for their green efforts. In other words, all registered residents will earn the same amount of points for their collaborative effort. To register, residents can sign up at www.recyclebank.com or call 866-563-0114.
Redeeming points is similar to shopping online. Local sponsors include Bugambillas Birrieria, a Mexican restaurant, and The Athlete’s Foot. National partners include Coca-cola, CVS Pharmacy and Dick’s Sporting Goods.
Hess said the program will run in Sacramento for six months and then hopefully expand to the rest of the city.