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New point-based recycling program turns waste to goods

By: Eric Laughlin Telegraph correspondent
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If the idea of promoting the environment doesn’t motivate you to recycle, perhaps a discounted meal at your favorite restaurant will. That’s the idea behind an innovative new program set to begin in the community this weekend. Starting Saturday, El Dorado Hills residents will be able to earn points from the recyclable items placed at their curbsides. And these points will be redeemable for discounts at neighborhood grocers, restaurants and apparel stores. The program stems from an agreement between the Community Services District, El Dorado Disposal and “RecycleBank,” a New York City-based organization that boasts more than 2 million members. Through RecycleBank, residents pay a small monthly fee ($1.49 or $1 for seniors), and earn points based on the weight of the items in their bin. The customer’s account is credited after the collector scans a unique code on the bin. Each new sign up will receive 300 free points. Local businesses already participating in the program include Nugget Market, Food 4 Less, Sienna Restaurant, Mama Ann’s Italian Market and Bass Lake Golf Course. CSD General Manager John Skeel said he’s pleased that El Dorado Hills is the largest community in the state so far to participate in the program. “(The program) improves long-term rate stability and encourages residents to further improve our waste-stream diversion rates for a cleaner environment,” he said. Sue Ferris is District Manager of El Dorado Disposal and said the program not only benefits the environment, but also the local economy. “Without changing their curbside recycling routines, residents can earn an estimated $200 annually in points for savings on everyday products and services, and local businesses will enjoy a cost-free opportunity to market themselves,” she said. If you’re interested in joining the program, find more information at recyclebank.com and eldoradodisposal.com. There’s also a big kickoff event this Saturday at the Nugget Market. The event is scheduled take place in the parking lot at 10 a.m., weather permitting.