Because I’m generally not a fan of forced ethics on a governmental level–i.e. outlawing plastic bags and the such–I do appreciate all forms of positive reinforcement.
Take, for example, the way the City of Cincinnati re-worked their curbside recycling program to reward residents for their participation.
Thanks to a new partnership with Recyclebank, a rewards program similar to a frequent flier program, residents can now earn tangible rewards for each pound they recycle. With new, high-tech (and massive, I might add) recycling bins and fancy recycling trucks with scanners and scales, Recyclebank now keeps track of how much is recycled per household and allots points to the residents. Then, registered families log on to their online account and, once they’ve reached a certain level, can redeem their points for online rewards from local businesses.
Many folks, myself included, took advantage of the City’s curbside recycling program without this rewards program. And, so, receiving rewards for our efforts are only an added bonus to the work we were already committed to do. (In fact, I’ll be honest and say that, although I’m registered online at Recyclebank, I haven’t checked my account for a few months. And, because those new bins are so huge, I only put out my recycling every month instead of every two weeks, which is when it is now collected.)
I know there have been some complaints about the size of the bins (especially in historic row house districts like the one in which I live), or about the switch from weekly to bi-weekly pickup (because people like me are absentminded about this sort of thing), but I think the program is much stronger than it was a year ago–due in part to this partnership with Recyclebank.
Hopefully, the City has seen an increase in recycling since the program kicked off a few months ago. If nothing else, maybe the appearance of a large, green recycling bin on the doorstep made some residents wonder why they’d never recycled before. Either that, or there’s some lady in Over-the-Rhine hoarding dozens of the new recycling bins in her backyard… (oh, wait, that’s totally true…)