City of St. Johns Works to Increase Level of Recycling

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By: Laura Genouw

Recyclable items collected by the Waste Management Recycle program.
photo by: Laura Genouw

The city of St. Johns, Mich., is leading the way by creating a new curbside recycling system for its residents. Michigan Governor, Rick Snyder has made it a priority in the state to increase recycling and the community of St. Johns is taking the first steps to meet the governor’s request to improve problems with waste and increase recycling.
Joe Denczek of Waste Management said that his company has combined with Recyclebank to get the community of St. Johns informed about recycling and the programs, such as Recyclebank, they can participate in to increase the level of recycling accomplished in their community.
Denczek said the Recyclebank program is a website mixed with incentives in the form of coupon value. These coupons give residents discounts to local and commercial businesses that choose to participate once the Recyclebank system is implemented. The total volume of recyclables collected by the city is turned into points for the community and the more points the community accumulates, the more coupon value each resident will receive.
The Recyclebank program will collect many recyclable items such as bottles, cans plastic, paper, cardboard and even items such as cereal boxes which residents have had problems categorizing into either paper or cardboard.

Cereal boxes are now also going to be collected with this system.
photo by: Laura Genouw

The Recyclebank and Waste Management recycling program has coupons offered by many national commercial businesses and local businesses that sign up on the Recyclebank website and choose to participate. Denczek said this gives the local businesses an opportunity to benefit for the program as well, bringing the residents to local businesses with the offered coupons and create more profit for the businesses and the community.
“There is $160 in annual coupon value, on average, that families get back for recycling,” Denczek said. “And the coupons bring back to the local businesses, so both benefit.”
The impressive $160 coupon value that the families have gotten back in other communities that already use the Recylebank program is a good incentive to get the residents of St. Johns involved with this program as well.
Since creating the original recycling program in the community, St. Johns has increased recycling from 398 tons in June of 2011 to 419 tons in June of 2012. With the implementation of the new Recyclebank program, the city is hoping to increase those numbers even further.
Commissioner of St. Johns, David Hudgens said he believes the program would be very successful in their community and that many of its residents already recycle using the current curbside pickup system already in place by Waste Management.
“Thank you for making recycling easy.” Hudgens said in response to the proposal for the new Recyclebank program.
Along with fixing problems with recycling in the community of St. Johns, Waste Management also plans to switch 80 percent of its 1,400 truck recycling and trash fleet from diesel to fuel. Waste Management also plans to power its trucks using the landfill gas, which is usually used for electricity, in the near future.

Recycling program curb-side pick up bin.
photo by: Laura Genouw

Sources:
David Hudgens – Commissioner
(989) 224-8944 csj@ci.saint-johns.mi.us
Joe Denczek – Waste Management

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