CHATHAM BOROUGH, NJ - The borough is stepping up its green efforts with Recyclebank, a company that rewards residents for recycling with points that can be redeemed at more than 3,000 businesses such as McDonalds, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Bed Bath & Beyond and local businesses.

At the May 14 Borough Council meeting, Jason Buck of Recyclebank described it as a frequent flyer program for green initiatives.

Patrick Russell from Waste Management, the borough’s garbage collector, recommended Chatham for Recyclebank’s national recycling contest, “The 50 State Challenge.” One town in each state will vie for a $100,000 SC Johnson grant from July 1 through the end of the year, to be put toward funding a local green project. Participation in the program not tonnage will dictate the winner. Residents can set up an online account or call the company once a month to report poundage.

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The recycle incentive program is free for the borough for two years. It costs nothing for local businesses to participate in the rewards program. The curbside recycling pick-up process would not change for residents.

The municipality has no obligation to continue with the company once the free period is over. Numbers were not available for what it would cost should the borough want to continue the program.

To keep participants continuously engaged and earning rewards points, Buck said the company’s website posts articles for people to educate themselves on green ideas and initiatives. For example, a visitor can watch a 3-minute video clip of the life cycle of a cereal box.

Recyclebank, a New York City-based company, currently works with more than 300 communities across the country including Cherry Hill, Philadelphia and Wilmington, DE.

Borough officials are working to craft a resolution to start the program and plan to promote the contest at the Fishawack Festival and the Farmers’ Market when it opens on June 30.

Wanting a piece of the action for residents, Former Mayor Joe Marts inquired about getting lower fees.

Buck said that less garbage would save everyone money in tonnage fees, adding, “Cost avoidance—diversion from the landfill.”