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City Ends Recyclebank Rewards Program

Earlier this morning, we got an e-mail from Recyclebank, that group that gives you points for recycling your trash that you can use on coupons and magazine subscriptions and stuff. It read like this:

Hello Knoxville, TN residents,

Thank you so much for being a Recyclebank member. We hope you've gotten some great rewards and maybe even learned something along the way. Unfortunately, the program for recycling rewards offered by Waste Connections is ending 4/30/13. The bad news is you will no longer receive points for recycling at home after that date. 

But, the good news is you can still earn points for taking everyday green actions outside of home recycling! The Earn Points page at Recyclebank.com is bursting with stuff you can be rewarded for--like learning how to use less energy, making a greener purchase, and referring friends.

You don't have to decide anything right this minute. Just so you know, Recyclebank Points expire after 12 months without any redemption or earn activity. We hope you'll stay tuned and help us continue to make the world a greener place. 

For questions about Recyclebank, or your account, feel free to reply to this email. If you have questions about your recycling service, please call 865-215-4311 or visit http://www.cityofknoxville.org/solidwaste/.

Sincerely,
Your Friends at Recyclebank

Immediately, some of our friends were e-mailing us too. "Have you heard anything about this?" they asked. Well, no, no we hadn't. So we e-mailed the City, who promised a response and explanation would be on the way soon. 

Well, the release just landed in our inboxes, and it turns out Recyclebank actually costs Knoxville $90k a year, and since Recyclebank is about to change the way it issues points in a way that eliminates the importance of how much you personally recycle, the city decided that money could probably be spent in better ways than trying to bribe people to recycle. And we guess they're right. Even if we will miss getting Martha Stewart Living for free.

Full press release below:

CITY RECYCLING PROGRAM ENDS AFFILIATION WITH RECYCLEBANK
 
Starting May 1st, the City of Knoxville's curbside recycling program will no longer be affiliated with the Recyclebank rewards program. Nothing else about the household curbside service will change. The move will save the City more than $90,000 a year.
 
Any household reward points earned through Recyclebank will remain redeemable through the Recyclebank website.
 
The decision to discontinue the rewards program came after Recyclebank announced a change in the design of the program. Until now, Recyclebank has monitored the amount of waste recycled by each household and awarded points depending on volume. But the company, based in New York City, announced last month that it is changing to a "community-based rewards" program that would simply take the average of waste collected from all the households on a route and award points evenly.
 
"Even before this change, our participation rates were low when compared to the overall costs to the City for the rewards program," said David Brace, the City's Public Service Director. "We expect this change would reduce that participation even further, so working with our contractor we have decided to end our participation in the Recyclebank program."
 
The City's curbside recycling program is run by contractor Waste Connections of Tennessee, Inc. Waste Connections had a subcontract with Recyclebank for the rewards program, at a cost of 39 cents per month per household. That currently amounts to $7,628.01 per month, or $91,536.12 a year. The savings will be used to begin addressing the existing waiting list for the household curbside program.
 

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