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Ann Arbor Becomes Largest Michigan City to Reward Residents for Recycling with RecycleBank

Written by RecycleBank
Published: September 1, 2010

ANN ARBOR, MICH. (Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2010) — This morning, the City of Ann Arbor and RecycleBank® officially marked the launch of its new recycling rewards program with a special kick-off event at Cobblestone Farm in Buhr Park. RecycleBank is a rewards program that motivates people to take greener actions, like recycling, by rewarding them with points. These points can be redeemed at for rewards from local and national retailers, restaurants, grocers, and more. Ann Arbor becomes the third city in Michigan, and the largest at 33,000 households, to implement RecycleBank, following Rochester Hills and Westland. Other Midwest areas with RecycleBank include suburbs of Minneapolis-St. Paul, Omaha, Sioux Falls, and a pilot program in Chicago.


The launch of RecycleBank comes on the heels of the City of Ann Arbor’s switch to single-stream recycling in July and the distribution of new 64-gal. carts (both 32 and 96 gal. carts are available through the city). With single-stream recycling, residents can now place all of their recyclables—glass, plastics, metals and mixed paper—in the same container without sorting.


“We are excited to expand RecycleBank’s program in Michigan and to bring a valuable recycling rewards program to the City of Ann Arbor, a city particularly near to my own heart,” RecycleBank President Matt Tucker, a University of Michigan graduate, said. “Already an exemplary beacon, we hope that through rewarding people for greener actions, we can all make Ann Arbor a more sustainable place for future generations.”


Today’s event gave Ann Arbor residents an opportunity to learn first-hand about RecycleBank. Ann Arbor City Administrator Roger Fraser spoke about Ann Arbor’s efforts to go green and local children from the Buhr Park Day Camp participated in free activities and crafts. The event featured local and national businesses involved in the RecycleBank reward program, including People's Food Co-op, Arbor Farms, Silvio's Organic Pizza, Stonyfield Farm, Whole Foods, Cottage Inn Pizza, 10,000 Villages, and The Coca-Cola Company.

“The City of Ann Arbor sees this program as a quadruple win for the city, local businesses, residents and the planet,” Fraser said. “Together, we can all become better stewards of the environment.”


RecycleBank has a proven record of accomplishment of doubling, even tripling, recycling rates in more than 300 communities across 26 states and in the United Kingdom. Rochester Hills and Westland have both seen tremendous success with their enhanced recycling programs with RecycleBank. In Rochester Hills, recycling rates are up 241 percent, and in Westland, 458 percent. The U.S. Conference of Mayors has recognized both Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan Barnett and Westland Mayor William Wild in 2009 and 2010, respectively, for their city’s partnership with RecycleBank.


RecycleBank measures the amount of material recycled in a community and converts that amount into points redeemable online at for groceries, gift cards, merchandise, entertainment, and more at hundreds of participating local and national merchants. Active recyclers can earn on average $130-200 in reward value each year from their recycling efforts.


Local reward partners also include Ann Arbor Brewing Company, Downtown Home & Garden, Olga's Kitchen, Plum Market, Village Apothecary, Stucchi’s, Zingerman's Deli, and the Recycle Ann Arbor Drop-Off Station. Residents can also redeem points at major retailers and national brands such as Nature Made®, Bed Bath & Beyond®, Fancy Feast® Gourmet Cat Food, Seventh Generation, Method, and more. Members may also choose to donate their points to the RecycleBank Green Schools Program, which awards environmental program and project grants to schools across the nation.


To be rewarded for recycling, residents must enroll with RecycleBank by visiting or by calling 1-888-727-2978. There’s an added incentive for signing up—residents get 25 RecycleBank bonus points for signing up by September 13. Once in the program, residents can check back regularly to check point balance and to “shop” for rewards.


Ann Arbor’s RecycleBank program is initially available for single-family residences and duplexes. The city is working with RecycleBank to develop a new, innovative approach to allow businesses and apartment complexes to participate at a later date.

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Ann Arbor has 114,000 residents, spans 27.7 square miles, and is frequently recognized as a foremost place to live, learn, work, thrive and visit To keep up with City of Ann Arbor information, subscribe for e-mail updates at, follow us on Twitter at or become a city fan on Facebook at The city’s mission statement reads: The city of Ann Arbor is committed to providing excellent municipal services that enhance the quality of life for all through the intelligent use of resources while valuing an open environment that fosters, fair, sensitive and respectful treatment of all employees and the community we serve.



RecycleBank® motivates people to take greener actions and rewards consumers 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 like residential recycling, electronic waste recycling, home energy conservation and more. We believe that making greener choices shouldn’t at all feel like a trade off—it should be a trade up—and RecycleBank rewards its members 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, as a Champion of the Earth by the United Nations Environmental Programme, and for Outstanding Excellence in Public/Private Partnerships from the U.S. Conference of Mayors. RecycleBank is headquartered in New York City. For more information, visit


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