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Introducing Philadelphia Recycling Rewards

Written by RecycleBank
Published: December 3, 2009

City Residents to Earn Rewards for Curbside Recycling – City Saves Money Going Green

PHILADELPHIA – Mayor Michael A. Nutter announced the launch of the Philadelphia Recycling Rewards program in the Strawberry Mansion neighborhood of North Philadelphia, the first region to participate in the program that will be citywide by the summer of 2010. Philadelphia Recycling Rewards is a partnership between the Streets Department and Recyclebank. Philadelphia Recycling Rewards allows residents with City provided recycling collection to earn points that can be redeemed through Recyclebank for discounts, full-value gift cards or charitable contributions at hundreds of participating local and national merchants and non-profits.

Philadelphia is now the largest City in the United States to reward residents for their recycling efforts. Recyclebank’s partnership with cities have proven to increase the amount of recyclable materials collected and aid the local economy when rewards are redeemed at local merchants.

The program is anticipated to bring the City’s recycling diversion rate--the amount of recyclable materials that are diverted away from landfills—to record levels. Every ton of waste diverted from landfills saves the city about $65. The program is pay for performance shares the savings for additional tons of recycling collected above and beyond current levels.

“I am thrilled to announce Philadelphia Recycling Rewards, a partnership with Philadelphia founded RecyleBank. Recycling has become a way of life in Philadelphia, but there is more to be done. With the opportunity to get rewarded, I expect every Philadelphian to join their neighbors in recycling,” said Mayor Nutter.

“Philadelphia took the initiative in 2005 to be the first City to pilot our service and since then we have grown to service millions of people in over 20 states and the UK. We are proud and excited to have the opportunity to continue to service the City of Philadelphia,” said Ron Gonen, CEO and co-founder of Recyclebank. “We look forward to helping the City of Philadelphia become a model of urban environmental management."

According to Streets Commissioner Clarena I.W. Tolson, the Philadelphia Recycling Rewards program will aid in continuing to improve the City’s steadily growing recycling and diversion rates. “The Streets Department is proud to bring Philadelphia Recycling Rewards to city residents,” she said. “This will allow us to give back to residents who have made recycling a priority in their community. With Mayor Nutter’s support we expanded single stream and weekly residential recycling, doubling our diversion rate in two years.”

Rina Cutler, Deputy Mayor for Transportation and Utilities noted, “This program not only makes the City greener by increasing recycling rates and saving the City from costly landfill fees; it puts more green in the pockets of local residents by giving them points redeemable at local businesses.”

According to City of Philadelphia Director of Sustainability Katherine Gajewski, Philadelphia Recycling Rewards is the City of Philadelphia’s biggest Greenworks initiative to date in helping the City reach its goal of becoming the Greenest City in America, “Greenworks Philadelphia sets out ambitious recycling goals including a 20 percent diversion rate by 2011 and 25 percent by 2015. Philadelphia Recycling Rewards will help the City achieve and hopefully exceed those goals.”

Philadelphia Recycling Rewards will be rolled-out at six-month intervals based on sanitation service areas. City residents will be notified when Philadelphia Recycling Rewards will launch in their neighborhood. The roll-out schedule is as follows:

  • February 2010: North Philadelphia
  • March 2010: Lower Northeast, Frankford and Logan Sections
  • April 2010: West and Southwest Philadelphia
  • May 2010: Center City and South Philadelphia
  • June 2010: Northeast Philadelphia
  • July 2010: Northwest Philadelphia
For more information about Philadelphia Recycling Rewards Program, and to sign-up for a rewards account, please visit or call the Philadelphia Recycling Rewards Customer Affairs Unit at 1-888-769-7960.

# # #

Philadelphia Recycling By the Numbers
  • September 2008 – September 2009
  • 86,906 tons – residential waste recycled by households with City collection
  • 316 pounds – amount that the average household with City collection recycled
  • 12.5 percent – the citywide diversion rate
  • 5.4 percentage points – increase diversion rate since Mayor Nutter took office
  • $5.6 million – landfill costs avoided by residential recycling
About Recyclebank
Recyclebank® partners with cities to increase recycling, collection efficiency and to support local economies. Recyclebank utilizes its proprietary software and three-step process Recycle, Record, Reward™ to measure the amount of material each home recycles and then convert the amount recycled into Recyclebank Points that can be used to shop at hundreds of local and national rewards partners. Recyclebank currently provides service to more than one million members across the U.S. and the U.K. and has over 2,000 local, regional and national businesses that accept Recyclebank Points earned for recycling. Recyclebank has been recognized with a number of business and environmental awards, including as a Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum and as a Champion of the Earth by the United Nations Environmental Programme. Ron Gonen is the co-founder and CEO of Recyclebank and investors include Sigma Partners, RRE Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caulfield and Byers, Generation Investment Management, The Westly Group and Columbia University. Recyclebank is a global company headquartered in New York City. For more information, visit, fan us at and follow us at

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