The city of Destin, Waste Management and Recyclebank are dangling a new carrot to get residents to recycle.
"Nobody's had this," Waste Managements Lynn Yort told city leaders during a recent City Council meeting. "Destin is first."
Recyclebank is a web-based program that partners with community partners, trash haulers and national brands to encourage recycling and sustainable habits, while allowing participants to earn points for participating in the program.
Points can be earned by recycling; learning, reading and taking action; using fewer resources; and making greener purchases. Points can be redeemed for discounts on groceries, entertainment and even gift cards.
The New York-based company's mission is to "motivate individuals and communities to realize a world in which nothing is wasted — changing how people view their role in creating a sustainable future," according to its website.
Residents should be receiving a flyer in the mail that introduces them to the program and how it works. The first scheduled pickup will be Feb. 4 and residents can begin earning points at that time.
"This program will engage the citizens and the residents in Destin to do the right thing," Yort said.
As part of the program, there is a "Green Schools" program, which will allow for the city's schools to apply for grants. Persons that do not want to collect their points can donate them to the schools.
Councilman Jim Bagby suggested creating a program that would go into the area schools to educate students about the importance of recycling. He said his family is now "religious" recyclers due to his kids.
"We need programs where you can go and reach into the schools," he said. "Those little people will push the issue."
To learn more about the Recyclebank program visit www.recyclebank.com or find them on Facebook.
The Recyclebank program will not affect resident's regular garbage service.
At the end of the day, Mayor Sam Seevers said the Recyclebank program is a win-win opportunity for the city of Destin.
"Any time you can get a benefit for putting your trash and recycling out, come on," she said. "This is a great program for us to help encourage recycling."