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New program rewards DeKalb residents for recycling

DeKalb residents can earn coupons, discounts through diverting more waste

Published: Friday, Dec. 13, 2013 5:30 a.m. CST

DeKALB – A program set to launch in February will reward DeKalb residents for recycling.

The Recyclebank program kicked off with a presentation to the DeKalb City Council and will be announced in a mailing to residents in January, said Kimberly Newman, Recyclebank’s senior account manager. The mailer will provide a personal identification number that residents can use to register online.

“The program is very simple,” Newman said. “Once a resident registers for the program, they can start earning points.”

Points are good for a variety of coupons and discounts from national and local retailers.

Points are earned by recycling and completing activities on the Recyclebank website, Newman said. She said the amount of recycled material is weighed, and every member on the route earns points.

It is another step toward trying to reduce the amount of trash that ends up in landfills. The DeKalb County Board also has created a Zero Waste Task Force aimed at reducing the amount of trash that ends up in landfills – data from the DeKalb County Health Department shows that each person in DeKalb County contributes 4.4 pounds of solid waste to landfills each day. 

Based in New York, Recyclebank was established in 2004 and is partially owned by Waste Management, the city’s waste hauler. The program has more than 4 million members and is available in more than 300 communities in all 50 states, according to recyclebank.com. Recyclebank already is in place in the Illinois communities of Sterling, Gurnee, O’Fallon and Ela Township.

The program is being offered at no charge as an incentive to increase recycling, said T.J. Moore, the city’s public works director.

“People don’t have to sign up, but we would encourage them to do so,” Moore said.

Newman said members tend to become unofficial ambassadors for the program, urging their neighbors to recycle because more recycling equates to more points.

From the city’s perspective, more recycling makes the community more attractive to waste haulers, Moore said.

“If we can demonstrate that we are a high-recycling community, it would limit the rate of increase in rates for waste hauling,” Moore said. “On a more intangible level, by increasing recycling, we are decreasing the amount that ends up in the landfill. A lot of items that end up in the landfill don’t need to end up there.”

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