Residents who recycle regularly have the opportunity to be rewarded for their efforts this month.
Starting next week, Republic Services and the City of Norman are launching a super recycler contest to reward good recycling habits. The contest will select 100 residents each week for the next four weeks to receive a $25 gift certificate to a local business or restaurant.
At the end of the contest, Republic Services will give away $10,000 in gift certificates to 400 residents.
“The Norman city [residents] are exceptional recyclers and always have been,” said Crystal Bennet, spokeswoman for Republic Services. “So what we’re trying to do is make sure we’re rewarding the people who are doing the program right. They have their stuff empty and dry, they don’t have things in their recycling bin that shouldn’t be. It’s really to make people more aware of the things they recycle and throw away. It’s more positive reinforcement than negative reinforcement.
A Republic Services group will pass through each residential collection area twice and monitor the recycling bins. If the resident is considered a “super recycler”, the group will put a sticker on the bin notifying the residence that he has been selected for a gift certificate. The group will then work with the city to ensure the gift certificates are mailed to the correct address.
To be selected as super recyclers, residents must ensure that their recycling bin contains only acceptable items, such as aluminum cans, paper products, plastic bottles and cardboard boxes. Residents should also ensure containers are rinsed, dried and free of food.
Bennet said Republic Services will purchase the gift certificates from local businesses to ensure the contest helps support them.
“A lot of businesses have been going through tough times lately, and we just wanted to give back locally,” Bennett said. “My husband is a lawyer who owns his own business, so I know [relief and support] is all.”
Bret Scovill, Normandy solid waste manager, said the city has a much higher recycling rate compared to other regions. Normandy’s participation in recycling is around 92%, Scovill said, while the national rate is less than 35%, according to 2015 data from the US Environmental Protection Agency.
Scoville said while the recycling rate in Norman is encouraging, he hopes the contest will also encourage residents to adopt good recycling habits. Norman has a contamination rate of 22% in the city’s recycling bins, which is slightly lower than the national average, and Scoville said the goal should be 12%.
Scoville said the biggest contaminant in Normandy’s recycling bins is glass, which should be taken to one of the city’s four drop-off centres.
“Ultimately, the concept of recycling was put in place to offset the amount of waste going to landfill… But with recycling, we somehow produce more waste than before. That’s why we do this [contest] — to ensure that if we want to recycle, we have to minimize contaminants.
“The right way to recycle is at the point of sale. When you walk into the store, you look at what you’re buying and think, “Is this reusable?” Is it refillable? Is it a number one or two plastic, or will it go to landfill? »
Chris Mattingly, Norman’s utility manager, said good recycling habits will also help keep collection rates low.
“This [contest] is a good effort. I love the positive reinforcement this is going to provide versus putting stickers on people’s cans saying they’re doing it wrong. This will encourage people to do things right. Mattingly said. “Our rates are $1.50 per pickup, and part of the formula they use to keep prices low is having a good, clean stream so we can keep recycling prices affordable.”
More recycling information is available at normanok.gov.