Take This To the Bank: City Launching New Recycling Incentive Program
Saturday, February 9, 2013 • 2:49pm
PATERSON, NJ – In an effort to boost recycling in Paterson, the city’s environmental commission is working on a new incentive program that would provide residents with “rewards” points to use at local businesses.
Under the Recycle Bank program, folks who chose to participate would be given special recycling containers with bar codes on them, officials said. Public works employees would swipe the bar codes when they pick up recyclables and people would accumulate rewards points for purchases based on the frequency of their recycling, officials said.
The rewards would not be measured for individual residents but would accumulate cumulatively for all participants within each of the 10 different city recycling districts, according to commission members.
The city plans to start the program in April, in conjunction with Earth Day, said environmental commission chairman Joseph Fulmore. Commission members outlined the program for the City Council at its workshop meeting on February 5.
“It’s the law and we should be recycling,’’ said commission member Audrey McDowell.
Councilman Andre Sayegh, chairman of the public works committee, said increasing recycling would help the city’s financial situation. The state provides municipalities with grants that are tied to the volume of local recycling. A couple years ago, Paterson’s recycling rate was about eight percent, which generated a grant of about $150,000. Sayegh said Paterson could take in about $1 million if it raised its recycling rate to about 30 percent.
Not only would the city get larger grants by increasing recycling, officials said. But it would also reduce its garbage disposal costs. At present, the city pays about $59 per ton for all garbage hauled to landfills and gets $6 per ton for its recyclables, officials said.
During the next two months, the environmental commission plans to meet with various community groups about the Recycle Bank plan. Participants will be required to register and get the special bar-coded containers in order to accumulate the rewards benefits.