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Published: Tuesday, 7/26/2011 - Updated: 3 years ago

Residents can gain recycling rewards

Zoo, restaurants will redeem points

BY SARA FELSENSTEIN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Corrected version, 7/26/2011, Paragraph two corrects the date that the program starts.

The recent privatization of Toledo's waste-refuse collection means higher prices to most residents, but it comes with a reward incentive that allows residents the opportunity to recover the full amount spent on waste collection, a Republic Services representative said Monday.

Sales manager Paul Rasmusson said that, starting Sept. 1, Toledo residents can begin accumulating points for recycling. These points can be redeemed at local businesses such as Imagination Station, The Toledo Zoo, the Oliver House, and Burger King.

The Republic Services program, powered by recycling rewards company Recyclebank, is working to form a partnership with a local grocer as well, Mr. Rasmusson said, and leaders hope to ultimately involve 25-50 local businesses.

"This is a return upwards of $200 a year for residents," he said.

Privatization resulted from an agreement with Lucas County to contract with a private hauler. Effective Sept. 1, Toledo residents will be billed $8.95 a month, up from the current $8.50 monthly rate.

Those qualifying for a homestead exemption on their taxes will continue to pay $5 a month.

Mr. Rasmusson said that because it is community-based, the program will encourage Toledo residents to participate.

Recycling trucks will be weighed at the end of each day, and points will then be awarded to each household that the truck visited that day based on the total weight of recyclables.

Republic Services, formerly Allied Waste, began picking up recyclables July 11 as the first phase of taking over Toledo's refuse collection.

The company will begin picking up half of Toledo's trash Monday, and the other half Aug. 15.

Mayor Mike Bell said the privatization of waste refuse is expected to save the city 2.8 million this year, and 6 million annually. While the Bell administration had originally said the turnover would occur Sept. 1, it was later decided that a gradual transition would be more efficient.

Mr. Rasmusson said that so far, the transition has been almost "seamless."

"I am pleased to tell you that as of our first weeks, over 90 percent of the carts were placed where we had asked them to be," he said.

Things that will remain the same under Republic's system include the trucks, collection carts, the contact phone number, weekly trash pickup, biweekly recycling pickup, and customers paying through the water bill, Mr. Rasmusson said. Waste still will go to the city-owned Hoffman Road Landfill.

The new program will eliminate any "Leap Forward" days caused by city holidays -- the final one being this past Fourth of July. Under the new program, there will be a one-day delay for six holidays: New Year's Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.

Director of the Public Services Committee Ed Moore said no city workers lost jobs during the transition, although a handful took voluntary layoffs.

"Everyone that wanted a job had the opportunity to get a job. There are workers that took a cut in pay, [but] there are actually workers that got promotions," Mr. Moore said.

To participate in the recycling rewards program, residents must register through mailers that will be sent to each house; the first of those mailers were sent out Monday.

Residents can maintain an online account where they can manage and redeem their points.

Contact Sara Felsenstein at: sfelsenstein@theblade.com or 419-724-6050.



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