Online program allows students to recycle for prizes
Published: Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 00:10
Today’s trash could become tomorrow’s discounted meal or ticket to the aquarium for students who participate in a recycling program new to Long Beach.
A recent partnership with Recyclebank has made Long Beach the largest city in California to reward its citizens for going green. Registration with Recyclebank is free through their website and allows users to accumulate redeemable points through environmentally friendly pledges and actions, like recycling or making green purchases. The points can be exchanged for gift cards, magazine subscriptions, buy one, get one free discounts and more.
According to their website, Recyclebank aims to generate economic, environmental and social benefits for both municipalities and haulers.
“This is the next installment in a series of progressive programs, such as doing away with plastic bags,” 2nd District Councilwoman Suja Lowenthal said. “We are trying to send the message that we are fully responsible for our waste.”
Long Beach already has the second highest diversion rate in the nation at 73 percent, which measures how much garbage the city keeps out of the waste stream based on a baseline weight, and a very effective recycling program, according to City of Long Beach Recycling Specialist Lisa Harris.
“We are already doing a great job,” Harris said. “For us, it gives residents a chance to get rewarded for something they are already doing.”
Some Cal State Long Beach students voiced concerns about making recycling an incentive-driven practice.
“I think it would be too hard to keep a large amount of people engaged with discounts and gift cards alone,” Niles Marques, a senior journalism major, said. “Recycling itself seems like it should be more rewarding.”
According to City of Long Beach Manager of Environmental Services Jim Kuhl, Long Beach is trying to encourage citizens to help increase the city’s diversion rate. He said Long Beach also sees this as an opportunity to stimulate local businesses, which are encouraged to sign up with Recyclebank and join the 3,000 existing local and national business reward partners.
Approximately 20 businesses from Long Beach have already joined Recyclebank, including the Aquarium of the Pacific, Open Sesame and Di Piazza’s Restaurant and Lava Lounge.
“We expect to see a small bump in the numbers, mainly in the amount of curbside recycling,” Kuhl said.
Recyclebank is expected to increase Long Beach’s diversion rate by 20 percent, according to Harris.
“With programs like these, the true rewards are seen in our daily life, not just our pocket books,” Lowenthal said.