Everyone knows that recycling is good for the earth — but did you know it could also be good for your wallets? That’s the incentive used by the program that will be Ann Arbor’s partner in recycling for the next 10 years. The program, called RecycleBank, focuses on promoting environmental friendliness by offering incentive points that are redeemable at participating businesses. Since the program is newly established, there are some issues that the city and RecycleBank need to figure out — like distributing points to shared residences. But nevertheless, students and residents should take advantage of the points-based program to benefit the environment.

In July, Ann Arbor shifted to a single-stream recycling system. The shift attracted RecycleBank, a New-York based initiative that operates internationally, to increase recycling. RecycleBank aims to make participation in its recycling program simple. Households that choose to participate will receive a 64-gallon RecycleBank cart. As reported by the Daily last week, Recyclebank carts will contain a sensor. When households participate, they will be credited with points on online accounts. These points are redeemable at restaurants like Zingerman’s Deli and Ann Arbor Brewing Company, grocers and both local and national retailers. The program was enacted on Sept. 1.

The RecycleBank program was made possible by Ann Arbor’s switch to a single-stream recycling system. This system allowed residents to recycle everything in one easy trip to the curb without having to sort plastics from paper.

Many college students live on a tight budget. This new program will help students save the world and put a few bucks in their pockets in the process. If students haven’t already been recycling, there’s absolutely no reason now not to throw their cardboard pizza boxes in the recycle bin rather than the trash. According to a spokeswoman for RecycleBank, program participants can earn between $130 to $200 in points per year. Points are redeemable at some of the many popular businesses frequented by students like The Village Apothecary, Cottage Inn and Stucchi’s, according to the Ann Arbor city government’s website.

However, there is a minor glitch in this seemingly beneficial program: the problem of dealing with group housing, which is common in Ann Arbor. It’s not very practical for everyone in a residence to have their own 64-gallon RecycleBank cart — that would take up quite a bit of space. One possible way to manage the problem is for RecycleBank to distribute the points equally among the number of residents. Or the program could award points in a lump sum to each house and let the residents work it out. Students should voice their opinion and offer suggestions to fix the only problem in an otherwise great plan. Students enrolled in the program can comment on service at www.recyclebank.com.

RecycleBank has made it more personally profitable than ever to recycle. There is no reason to not take advantage of this new program to continue to clean up and preserve our planet — and get another pizza.

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