Chicago is first Illinois city to partner with RecycleBank

Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, along with 19th Ward Alderman Virginia Rugai announced that Chicago has partnered with RecycleBank®, a program that rewards households for recycling and other positive environmental behaviors. This program is designed to encourage additional recycling participation and compliment the City’s transition to the Blue Cart Program – a recycling program which is already in place in more than 241,000 households in Chicago. Chicago is the first city in Illinois to join the RecycleBank program.

RecycleBank measures the amount of material recycled and then converts that amount into RecycleBank Points that can be redeemed for rewards, gift cards, groceries, and products at more than 1,900 local and national RecycleBank Reward Partners. There is also an option to donate your RecycleBank Points to local school environmental programs, charities and non-profits.

The City of Chicago selected 10,000 households in wards 5, 8 and 19 for Phase 1 of the RecycleBank rewards program. These areas were selected for of a variety of reasons with the purpose of enabling the City and RecycleBank to evaluate the increase in recycling and expansion of service.

These areas have the longest data collection from the Blue Cart recycling program and they have a good mix of single family homes and multi-unit buildings. They also selected routes within those areas that produced lesser quantities of recyclables. This ensures that the test will illustrate more clearly that the incentive system has the desired results.

Each Blue Cart in the pilot area will be retrofitted with an ID tag that matches the Blue Cart to the household address and account number, while tracking recycling activity. Upon activating their account with RecycleBank, either online or by phone, the household will begin to earn RecycleBank Points.

On average, members earn hundreds of dollars in reward value each year through their recycling efforts. The city can expect to see about 600 tons of waste diversion and over $500,000 in local economic stimulus as a result of this six month field test program.

Neighborhood businesses are joining the recycling efforts in droves. As an added benefit for Chicago RecycleBank members, two local hometown favorites are going the extra mile and offering bonus rewards to participating households. The Chicago White Sox and their partner Comcast will give away two free tickets to the first 200 households who activate their RecycleBank accounts.

“The City of Chicago has set many goals in order to be one of the greenest United States cities. Partnering with RecycleBank will both increase our recycling rates and lower our waste output,” Mayor Daley explained. “Our partnership with RecycleBank brings a proven recycling rewards program to our community and allows us to take the necessary steps to achieving our sustainability goals.”

The steps following the Phase 1 field test are to roll out fully in all three wards’ 38,000 households. “Through education, community outreach and the use of our Recycling Block Captain Program, we are confident that we will see great results with RecycleBank,” said the Mayor. “It’s important that residents understand that they must do their part when it comes to recycling and preserving resources.”