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Posted on Mon, Oct 31, 2011 : 6:09 p.m.

Survey asks Ann Arbor residents about single-stream recycling and RecycleBank rewards program

By Ryan J. Stanton

Ann Arbor officials are asking residents to take a quick online survey to help provide feedback about the city's recycling program.

The survey asks residents how their recycling behavior has changed since the introduction of singe-stream recycling in July 2010. The survey also asks residents about their interest in the RecycleBank program that rewards residents for good recycling behavior.

The survey closes on Nov. 30.

Following debate in recent months over whether to terminate the city's contract with New York-based RecycleBank, the Ann Arbor City Council voted in September in favor of a plan that both reduces the city's costs and gives the company added incentives to boost recycling.

Council members voted unanimously to direct city staff to negotiate a revised contract with RecycleBank that immediately reduces the city's costs from $150,000 to $100,000 per year.

RecycleBank will have a chance to earn some or all of that money back by boosting recycling behavior among Ann Arbor residents.

City officials also announced this week they're inviting residents to help celebrate America Recycles Day by constructing bird feeders using empty two-liter plastic bottles on Saturday at the city’s Materials Recovery Facility open house at 4150 Platt Road. Residents are asked to bring their own bottle if possible. Starter seed will be provided.

Optional tours of the recycling plant floor also are available. Details on the monthly MRF open houses are posted at

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's e-mail newsletters.



Tue, Nov 1, 2011 : 4:03 p.m.

I have not dealt w/ the rewards program. I'm afraid I just ignore it. I will recycle no matter how many streams.


Tue, Nov 1, 2011 : 1:26 p.m.

The city IT department should be ashamed of this poll. And, this is the service that the Huron Hills golf course contributes to via overhead? Anyone can answer the poll (including non-residents) and more important anyone can answer multiple times. Even knows how to limit voting to one per IP address. So, don't waste time making comments to this blog, just stuff the ballot box and send your comments/votes in over and over.


Tue, Nov 1, 2011 : 1:24 p.m.

Now the city council wants input? One week before an election? When they haven't listened to the citizens to-date? Getting desperate? Vote no to city council incumbents, bring balance and leadership back to a city council desperately needing it. Vote November 8 for Jane, Eric, and the other non-incumbents and be engaged for Ann Arbor!


Tue, Nov 1, 2011 : 12:10 p.m.

@Alan Goldsmith: Maybe the FBI could perform the survey on the multimillion dollar no-bid contracts (as well as croney-ism, fund diversion, and illegal disposal of city resources against taxpayer law) prevalent in our city government. I've heard they're in our area . . . Kilpatrick, Ficano, Hieftje, etc. Anyone else see a pattern?


Tue, Nov 1, 2011 : 11:17 a.m.

I can't understand why people don't use Recyclebank. That's throwing away good money. It's like ignoring the Kroger Rewards program, or telling the bank to keep their $50 when you open a new account or something. I'm sure Kroger, the airlines, car companies, banks, etc. have no clue about marketing . Rewards programs must have some effect, or all of those industries wouldn't bother with them.

Alan Goldsmith

Tue, Nov 1, 2011 : 10:22 a.m.

Still waiting for the survey on multimillion dollar no bid contracts to groups run by political supports of the Mayor and Council members. When will that survey be posted?


Tue, Nov 1, 2011 : 10:09 a.m.

Our household recycles less at the curbside. 1) City policy has restricted collectible curbside items such as batteries, motor oil, and shredded paper. 2) We used to be daily subscribers to the Ann Arbor News. We have much less paper to recycle now, as we no longer subscribe to a "paper." Regarding Recycle Bank: We are not interested in their "rewards" of consumption for recycling. Their program is meaningless to our recycling mentality, which has always been strong. However, we also know that recycling is inferior to reuse and repurposing. We consume with the latter principle in mind.


Tue, Nov 1, 2011 : 2:30 a.m.

I wish Ann Arbor would ditch the single-stream. Aluminum and to some extent plastic are unequivocally good for the economy and the Earth, but paper and glass are questionable or a net loss. I hate the "throw it all in the recycling" mentality, since it has a huge cost. Someone has to split that material up, and our taxes pay for it.


Tue, Nov 1, 2011 : 1:23 a.m.

RecycleBank = the biggest ripoff of taxpayer's money in the name of the environment...useless rewards and no motivation to recycle. The amount spent by governments around the country far exceeds the "benefits" received by citizens. And I use the term "benefits" very loosely... In my neck of the woods (colorado) we are paying about $2/mo/household and no one has received more than one $10 coupon a year if that...if Ann Arbor just restructured to save over $100,000 immediately, I can't imagine how much you must be paying to begin with... People recycle when it is made easy...not for the promise of weighing your cans to get some useless coupons

Mike K

Tue, Nov 1, 2011 : 5:06 p.m.

This household of 4 is recycling more. Not because of rewards, but because of a bigger container and more items accepted. I only looked once at the rewards, and they were indeed "modest".


Tue, Nov 1, 2011 : 3:13 p.m.

So at $2 / month, the Colorado recycling program costs each household $24 in direct costs annually. If the $100,000 RecycleBank cost is figured in it works out to a little less than $1 per resident / year in Ann Arbor. Yes, there other costs associated, but for a direct cost comparison to each house, Ann Arbor is less. (Yes I realize our fancy carts are paid for with our taxes) RecycleBank has been very successful in raising recycling rates in communities that had a low recycling rate (<a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> . If someone does not value the RecycleBank rewards they are welcome to give their points to Ann Arbor schools, no harm to you at all for recycling. The rewards may be less of an incentive to recycle in a community like Ann Arbor that already has a high recycling rate, but that does not mean RecycleBank is "the biggest ripoff"…..if may just not appeal to everyone.


Tue, Nov 1, 2011 : 2:10 p.m.

Outside perspective is a GOOD thing. It is something that City Council should have solicited more of before adopting the program. Especially during cash-strapped times.


Tue, Nov 1, 2011 : 12:01 p.m.

Are you kidding? a2 city government is a laughing stock around the country. Our city government's decade-long stupidity is known far beyond &quot;1,000&quot; miles. Thanks for your perspective, Colorado_Jeff.


Tue, Nov 1, 2011 : 11:48 a.m.

You want to tell me where you are in Colorado, so I can go to your local papers and trash your programs too? You live over 1000 miles from here; what possesses someone who lives halfway across the country to repeatedly rag on our local programs?