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Recyclebank Helps Bridgeport Boost Citizen Recycling Engagement

Written by Justmeans
Published: September 22, 2013

One of the most visible, engaging and effective measures a city can take to achieve sustainability is to implement efficient recycling schemes. In 2009 the United States produced 243 millions of trash. Even though that sounds like a gargantuan amount of trash (which it is!), the good news is that it decreased from 255 million tones in 2005.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) data indicates that of that total, 82 million tonnes were composted or recycled. 74 percent of office-type paper was recovered. 34.5 percent of metals was recycled. The organization says that the current amount per capita of municipal solid waste (trash) is lower than it was in 1960. But since population is much higher, the bulk amount of trash keeps growing.

One city that recently made a huge leap forward in terms of recycling is Bridgeport (CT). It managed to increase its recycling participation rate by 67 percent as compared to the previous two-year period. The figure was achieved thanks to its expanded partnership with Recyclebank rewards program as well as it single-stream recycling scheme. The scheme incentivizes recycling by offering discounts and deals with locally-based businesses and national brands, including Macy's, Bed Bath and Beyond, Connecticut Science Center, Foot Locker, Hellman’s, Clean Well, Kashi and Dick’s Sporting Goods. Bridgeport-based local partners include Park Luncheonette and Compare Foods.

“Increasing recycling rates is one of the highest priorities of our BGreen2020 initiative. We know that increasing recycling rates means a cleaner community for the residents of Bridgeport, a lower carbon footprint and money saved for the City,” said Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch. Compared to data from several other cities that made the switch from dual-stream recycling to single-stream recycling, Bridgeport has achieved a more substantial lift.

Besides keeping the city cleaner, Bridgeport residents have save quite a pretty sum of money, or nearly $47,000 through rewards earned from recycling. Furthermore, they put $89,000 back into the local economy by redeeming rewards at locally-based businesses.

Recycling itself takes it toll on the environment, due to the energy it requires. Recyclebank has been working to reduce its carbon footprint. It recently announced a 27 percent reduction in its corporate carbon emissions, down from 830 metric tonnes in 2011 to 602 metric tonnes in 2012. In 2009 the company partnered with NativeEnergy to calculate the company’s greenhouse gas emissions. Each year, Recyclebank offsets its remaining emissions partnering with NativeEnergy, and so provides critical funding for greenhouse gas reduction projects.

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