Mesa recycling incentives spur participation - East Valley Tribune: News

Mesa recycling incentives spur participation

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Posted: Thursday, September 17, 2009 3:41 pm | Updated: 12:43 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

A Mesa recycling program that gives participants rewards has seen a slight uptick in the reusable material being placed into the bins.

About 224 tons was collected through the RecycleBank program in July, up more than 2 percent over the previous July, city officials estimate.

Mesa's Solid Waste Management Department launched the program June 29, offering about 9,000 single-family households in six neighborhoods points redeemable at local merchants for participating in the program.

Mesa already has a recycling program, but the RecycleBank is an initiative to bolster those efforts.

More than two months after the start of Mesa's six-month RecycleBank program, Phoenix announced it would be following suit. RecycleBank already has a presence in 100 cities nationwide.

Mariano Reyes, a community outreach specialist for the program, said other cities have begun to express interest in the program.

"A lot of the cities have contacted us and have inquired about the program - the logistics involved," Reyes said. "We've been learning quite a bit from the program, and a lot of cities are asking us what types of things we've run into trying to learn from us."

Reyes said more than 260,000 reward points were doled out to residents in July - the most recent data available - but only 2,700 points had been redeemed.

"People are obviously holding onto their points so they can accumulate them," he said. Reyes said while the city already has a recycling program, the rewards points are only associated with the pilot program.

Once points are earned, all the residents need to do is visit the program's Web site and plug in their ZIP codes. Participating stores near the residents' homes are shown and reward points are honored for a variety of savings, he said.

The pilot program, worth $25,000, is being paid for by aluminum manufacturer Alcoa. It will not cost the city or residents any money, Reyes said. The pilot program is slated to end in late December.

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