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Houston to Expand RecycleBank to More Than 76,000 Households in April

Written by RecycleBank
Published: March 8, 2010

City Elects to Expand Rewards-for-Recycling Program after Participating Pilot Residents Divert More Than 3.3 Million lbs. of Waste in First Four Months

HOUSTON (MONDAY, MARCH 8, 2010) — Houston Mayor Annise Parker and Solid Waste Management Department Director Harry Hayes announced today that 54,000 additional Houston households will receive new 96-gal. recycling carts with the rewards-for-recycling program Recyclebank®. Recyclebank is a program operating in cities nationwide that rewards households with points based on the amount they recycle. The points are redeemable at retailers, restaurants and grocery stores, pharmacies, and much more. In an effort to encourage more recycling and greener behavior, the City partnered with Recyclebank, rolling out the large recycling carts to more than 22,000 homes last year, and began offering single-stream recycling, in which all recyclables go in the one large container—no more sorting. After the Houston City Council approved a budget to purchase the additional 54,000 recycling carts in January, now more than 76,000 households will have single-stream recycling with rewards from Recyclebank this April.

The decision to expand the program is partly based on the success of the first phase. In four months, participating households more than doubled the amount they recycle, sending 3.3 million fewer pounds of waste to the landfill in just four months. With 3.3 million fewer pounds of waste in the landfills, these recycling Houstonians have helped save 16,810 trees and 1.1 million gallons of oil.

“When communities come together for the greater good, they can accomplish amazing things,” Mayor Parker said. “The City of Houston has witnessed this firsthand. By encouraging greener behavior through incentives, more people are recycling more, helping to save our resources. In addition, by redeeming the Recyclebank rewards locally, residents are providing a direct stimulus to local businesses.”

“We expected to see an increase in recycling with the larger containers,” Hayes said. “However, we couldn’t have imagined such a significant increase by adding Recyclebank. This shows us the program works. People are recycling more, appreciate being rewarded for their efforts, and the City is saving landfill costs. It’s a win-win for all.”

Similar to frequent flyer programs, the more a community recycles, the more Recyclebank points households receive. Families may earn an average of $20 worth in reward value each month based on their household recycling—real savings in today’s tough economic times. Local businesses have benefited as well. “We see that a majority of Recyclebank members use close to 50 percent of their earned points with local rewards partners,” Recyclebank co-founder and CEO Ron Gonen said. “This provides economic stimulus and involves the local business community in the City’s recycling effort.”

Recyclebank members have redeemed points for unique savings at Niko Niko's Greek Restaurant, Ruggles Green Restaurant, Smoothie King, MFAH: The Museum of Fine Art-Houston, to name a few. National partners include Coca-Cola, Clorox's Greenworks, CVS/pharmacy, Hearst Magazines, McDonald’s, Kimberly-Clark, Purina Pet Care, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Dick's Sporting Goods. There is also an option to convert points into cash donations to local school environmental programs through the Recyclebank Green Schools Program or to national charitable organizations.

The City is also realizing savings. In four months, Houston has saved close to $44,000 in landfill disposal costs. “We’re saving money by not sending as much waste to the landfills,” Hayes said. “That’s creating a wheel of savings for Houston, allowing us to further expand the automated recycling program to other Houston households.

“It is our responsibility to be caretakers of the Earth,” Hayes added. “Our new recycling program with Recyclebank takes us one step closer to ensuring that our city, our state, our planet, will be healthy for future generations.”

“Houston is a great example of Recyclebank’s mission in action,” Gonen said. “Recyclebank brings residents environmental solutions with direct economic benefits, while helping municipalities recycle to their fullest potential and save money through waste diversion.”

The first phase of Houston’s Recyclebank program was sponsored in part by Alcoa and Texas Instruments and through a grant from the Houston-Galveston Area Council. Recyclebank operates in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, as well as in 25 states and in the United Kingdom. For more information, visit

In the coming weeks, residents should look for a letter from Mayor Parker and a mailer from Recyclebank with information about the program and how to sign up. The City will begin distributing the additional 54,000 recycling carts this month, with first pick up for the Recyclebank program slated for Monday, April 5, 2010. For more information about the City of Houston Solid Waste Management Department and its services, please visit

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The Solid Waste Management Department provides solid waste services to the citizens of Houston through the collection, disposal, and recycling of discarded material in a manner that is safe, efficient, environmentally sound and cost-effective. For more information about the City of Houston Solid Waste Management Department and its services, please log on to

Recyclebank® motivates people to recycle and rewards consumers for taking greener actions with points that can be redeemed from participating local and national business partners. Through collaboration and innovation, Recyclebank is helping to create a culture that encourages people to take simple steps towards greener lifestyles. With new products and services like residential recycling, product reuse, expanded e-waste recycling, responsible disposal or simply focusing on using what already exists in the world today, we believe that making greener choices shouldn’t feel at all like a trade off. It should be a trade up, and so Recyclebank rewards you every step of the way. Recyclebank currently provides service to over one million people across the U.S. and the U.K. and has been recognized with a number of business and environmental awards, including being named as a Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum and as a Champion of the Earth by the United Nations Environmental Programme. Recyclebank is headquartered in New York City. For more information, visit

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