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City rewards residents for recycling

Written by Brett Daly, Hollywood Gazette
Published: March 2, 2010

The City of Hollywood launched its RecycleBank rewards program Feb. 1 and collected 253 tons of recyclable material in its first week, an 85 percent increase from the amount collected the same week in 2009, said Public Works Director Greg Turek.

The program, which encourages residents to recycle by rewarding households with points for their efforts, attracted 9,864 people to register with RecycleBank as of Feb. 17, and these registered households earned more than 560,000 points in the first week of the program.

After signing up, residents can redeem these points at local and national retailers and restaurants, including Publix, Winn-Dixie and Target, and more than 40 local businesses have registered as reward partners.

In addition to benefiting residents and local businesses, the new recycling program also benefits the City.

Turek said it costs the City around $98 to incinerate one ton of garbage. Any recyclable material kept out of the waste stream not only reduces the cost of garbage disposal, but also earns the City money – since the City receives $58 per ton of recycled material, he said.

“The savings and revenue is our big advantage,” Turek said.

New 95-gallon recycling carts – distributed to more than 30,000 households in January – have a personalized identification tag. Recycling trucks read this tag, record the weight the household recycled and convey the number to RecycleBank. RecycleBank will then convert the amount to points and credit the resident’s account.

And instead of the previous once-a-week pick-up schedule, trucks will collect recycling every other week on residents’ regular trash pick-up days.

After the first run last month, the program encountered several problems, which Turek described as normal for the launching of any new program.

Problems included some households not receiving the new recycling carts, recycling trucks missing some households and some residents not receiving their points. Turek said the City is addressing all the problems that have crept up. He said the City ordered additional containers for households missing them, which should arrive by March 15.

“We’ve just scratched the surface,” he said. “The program can only get more successful as time passes.”

Kee Eng, administrative services manager for the Public Works Department, said that the department only received a couple hundred complaints from residents, which doesn’t qualify as a major problem since there are more than 30,000 customers involved.

The Public Works Department has high hopes for RecycleBank’s success in Hollywood, which is the second city in Florida and the first in Broward County to sign on to the RecycleBank program.

“It’s a win-win-win situation for residents, businesses and the City,” said Eng.

Turek also said that the City has encouraged residents to recycle for years, but now they have a better incentive.

“I would encourage every household to get onboard,” he said. “It’s obviously a bonus to cities that they can achieve cost-avoidance by giving residents rewards for doing what many have already been doing.”

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Recyclebank At A Glance

New York

New York, Philadelphia and Houston

Javier Flaim


The Coca-Cola Company, Craton Equity Partners, Generation Investment Management, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Paul Capital Investments, Physic Ventures, RRE Ventures LLC, Sigma Partners, Waste Management Inc., and Westly Group

4 Million+

300+ in all 50 states

Reward Partners

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