We were very pleasantly surprised to see Daily Candy make RecycleBank the subject of their Philadelphia edition last Monday. (What — we read it for the illustrations.)
After all, RecycleBank is an awesome Philadelphia company doing great things for communities trying to increase recycling.
We were just a little confused when the Candy, in their description/pitch of RecycleBank, failed to mention to their readers that RecycleBank is currently only available locally in two pilot neighborhoods: West Oak Lane and a portion of Chestnut Hill.
They made it sound like everyone could sign up — no matter where they lived. Instead, they might have said that if the prospect of being paid to recycle (in the form of gift certificates to stores like Whole Foods, EMS and Starbucks) appeals to you, then you should call your city councilman and demand RecycleBank comes to your neighborhood.
Whatever. At least their heart was in the right place.
We’ll do them one better and unequivocally endorse RecycleBank as a godsend for Philadelphia — a veritable no-brainer. And say that it’s a service that should be available to everyone in Philadelphia — no matter in which neighborhood they live.
Philadelphia needs to do two things to significantly improve recycling: 1. adopt single-stream recycling everywhere, and 2. provide incentives for recycling. Doing only the first will not suffice. (Incentives might not have been necessary if the city’s Recycling Program hadn’t been systematically decimated over the last twenty years by ineffectual leadership.)
While the Streets Department is very slowly adopting single-stream recycling in certain areas of the city, they seem to resent RecycleBank and the company’s innovativeness. How else to explain the Streets Department's unwillingness to grant RecycleBank expansion into other neighborhoods after the pilot program increased recycling in Chestnut Hill by 300% and West Oak Lane by 400% in the first year?
Omigosh, could it be that the Streets Department feels threatened by RecycleBank. Awww.
Oh wait. They totally should.
Piggy Bank [Daily Candy Philadelphia]
A Secret Plan for Recycling [Philadelphia City Paper]
RecycleBank [Official Site]
* An estimation — we’re not privy to actual subscriber figures. Duh