Has anyone else in the Atlanta area noticed the big blue recycling bins sitting curbside in a few neighborhoods? The City of Atlanta has partnered with Rehrig Pacific, Coca Cola Recycling LLC, and rewards partner RecycleBank to implement an incentive-based recycling program known as ReCART –
ReCART is currently a pilot program involving 10,000 households in Atlanta designed to increase recycling participation by providing financial incentives. The residences chosen to be a part of the pilot were given new blue 95-gallon recycling carts with radio frequency identification tags (meaning they can be scanned) matching the cart to the household address and their individual RecycleBank account number so that participation and weight of recyclables can be tracked. The tags are scanned on pickup days and are converted into reward points that can be redeemed at participating vendors, comprising over 1,500 local and national businesses in the Metro Atlanta area. The pilot is set to last one year with two one-year renewals possible at the City’s discretion.
I was not given a coveted new blue bin, and found myself wondering how the 10,000 households were chosen for phase one of ReCART. The group needed to represent the entire city of Atlanta, so neighborhoods in every council district are represented. Residences also needed to be on existing and contiguous collection routes, since the premise of the program is to measure change in recycling participation. Neighborhoods with historically high and low collection rates were chosen to account for potential for increase (or decrease) in recycling. The City of Atlanta looked at demographics to choose which households should be a part of the pilot, with diverse income levels and participation rates included. If phase one is deemed successful, the Department of Public Works hopes to expand the program citywide.
If ReCART works as planned, it will not only help to decrease the number of recyclables going to area landfills, promote proper recycling habits, and save taxpayer money, it will also help boost the local economy! Sounds like a good idea to me.
There are a few catches, however, to the system: just because you are one of the lucky few to be a part of the pilot, doesn’t mean you automatically start collecting your rewards points. You must activate your online account with RecycleBank or call their toll-free number (1-888-727-2978) in order to make sure you are earning your rewards. Also, if you put non-recyclables in your cart (on accident we hope), collectors will flag your address and send you a notification by mail. If an address receives three flagged occurrences, recycling collection will be discontinued so make sure you are putting only accepted recyclables in your cart! For more information visit this site.