July 2005

Philadelphia pioneers new recycling program

Philadelphia initiated a new program to provide incentive for locals to begin recycling at home. The program is called Recycling PAYS, and it focuses not only on using incentive, but also on education, to encourage people to begin a recycling regimen in their homes.

There are several aspects that make this program successful. The first is education. The slogan for the recycling PAYS program is “Know what, know how”. It features several advertisements that demonstrate simply and visually what may and what may not be recycled. The website, recyclingPAYS.phila.gov, also has extensive information regarding the correct way to recycle.

Another aspect of the program is that it provides incentive for people to recycle in their homes. The incentive is four-fold. The first aspect is a street team that awards prizes on the spot to people that recycle correctly. Another aspect to the incentive part of the program is the ability for people to win $1,000 prize packs that include prizes like iPods for pledging to recycle at the website. The third aspect involves what are called “block captains”, or people who are designated leaders that try to get the people on their blocks to follow the program. There are two Caribbean vacations that are to be awarded to the block captains who do the best jobs of getting their block’s residents to recycle their waste.

Oh, and one other little incentive; it is illegal not to recycle in Philadelphia. Residents could be fined up to $300 for failing to recycle their trash.

This program and these incentives are much needed in Philly. Prior to this program, Philadelphia’s residents only managed to recycle about 7% of their residential waste; one of the worst rates among large cities nationwide. The city has great hopes that this program will be effective since Philly has made a commitment to raise their recycling rate to 40% by 2010.


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