$100,000 at Stake in Recycling Challenge
Huntington Woods is the only Michigan city picked to compete in the national Recyclebank and SC Johnson Green Choices Recycling Challenge, which hinges on residents' participation. Individuals also could win water bill discounts or gift cards.
Huntington Woods could win $100,000 for sustainability projects if residents do their part during a national recycling challenge that kicked off earlier this month.
As part of the competition, Huntington Woods residents have been asked to register with New York-based recycling incentives program Recyclebank and record their recycling habits for 2 years beginning July 2.
Recyclebank lets users earn points that they can donate to support environmental education in schools or use to receive products, discounts and coupons at local and national retailers such as Kashi, Footlocker and Dunkin' Donuts.
Valuable prizes on the line
Whichever community among the 50 competitors has the highest percentage of reported recycling participation during the next six months will win a $100,000 grant for sustainability projects from Wisconsin-based household products manufacturer SC Johnson, which has partnered with Recyclebank for the SC Johnson Green Choices Recycling Challenge.
Huntington Woods is the only city in Michigan that was chosen to participate.
Letters explaining the process were mailed to each home in Huntington Woods, but never fear if yours has been misplaced.
"Anyone who recycled the letter without reading it should still register," Huntington Woods Department of Public Works manager Claire Galed wrote to Berkley Patch. "Huntington Woods residents can register at any time by logging into www.recyclebank.com/greenchoices or calling 1-877-727-2978 and selecting option 1. Callers should opt to speak to a customer care representative to receive their account number and the special phone number to report recycling activity."
The city also is holding a drawing to encourage participation.
"All those who register before July 13 and let DPW know on Facebook (Huntington Woods – The Recyclers), via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 248-547-1888, will be entered in a drawing," Galed wrote. "The first name drawn will get $200 of their water bill; second and third, $100 and $50 off their water bills respectively. In addition, there will be seven additional gift cards awarded."
The winners will be announced July 17 during the Huntington Woods City Commission meeting at City Hall.
SOCRRA watches closely
Challenge participants will earn 10 points for self-reporting and additional points based on the community's weekly tonnage reported to Recyclebank by the Southeastern Oakland County Resource Recovery Authority.
SOCRRA general manager Jeff McKeen said Huntington Woods, which is participating in the challenge at no cost, will serve as a test community to determine whether the program should be introduced in the authority's 11 other member cities.
"There is a significant cost for Recyclebank," McKeen said. "So, we want to make sure the benefits outweigh the cost."
He said Recyclebank membership usually costs "in the neighborhood of 75 cents per household, per month," depending on how many residents are involved and how long a comittment is made.
"You'd like to see if the residents in Huntington Woods like it," he said. "You like to look at the numbers, but you also like to look at whether it's a source of satisfaction."
The other SOCRRA communities include Berkley, Beverly Hills, Birmingham, Clawson, Ferndale, Hazel Park, Lathrup Village, Oak Park, Pleasant Ridge, Royal Oak and Troy.
"A leaderboard at www.recyclebank.com/greenchoices will track progress each month, and the winning community will be announced in January 2013," Recyclebank's website says.
Residents are urged to recycle and report on Tuesdays; to make reporting as painless as possible, Recyclebank offers free Android and iPhone applications.
The Recyclebank challenge offers the city an opportunity to redeem itself.
"Residents should remember that to win the $100,000 grant, everyone must recycle and report," Galed wrote.