Thinking Outside of the Bin: Dayton Combines Technology and Incentives to Increase Recycling

Dayton, Ohio, utilizes tracking technology on recycling bins and monetary incentives to encourage more citizens to recycle.

In September 2010, Dayton, Ohio, launched an incentive-based recycling program meant to encourage residents to become more proactive about recycling. The program consists of two components: (1) a technology component that involves asset-tracking technology on recycling bins and (2) a monetary incentive distributed to residents that recycle. The program is described in more detail below:

Technology Component: Dayton installed radio frequency identification (RFID) tags onto recycling bins and utilizes asset-tracking software to identify the location of recycling bins, including 96- and 32-gallon containers, throughout the city. Trucks pick up the recyclable contents on a biweekly basis and the resident’s recycling bin is scanned with an RFID reader. The reader records the resident’s address, identification number, date, and time from the RFID tag. Once the reader captures the information, the resident is automatically entered into the city’s monthly reward drawing. Dayton spent $500,000 in federal stimulus funds to purchase the technology and 10,000 recycling bins.

Monetary Incentive: Each month, residents have two opportunities to enter the city’s monthly recycling reward drawing. At the end of the month, four residents are chosen from the drawing and are awarded $100 each. Rumpke, a waste disposal service, distributes the prize money. The monetary incentives program is not funded through taxpayer dollars.

Outcome: According to Fred Stovall, Dayton’s Director of Public Works, Dayton’s recycling participating has increased by 40 percent since the program’s launch. This increase in recycling will save the city money since more garbage will be diverted away from the landfill. Currently, the city spends nearly $2.6 million a year to pick up and dispose of trash, about $38.25 per ton. Through the program, Dayton aims to increase the amount of recycling monthly from 500 tons to 1,000 tons.

What do you think?

Do you think this program would encourage people to recycle more in your community?

What are some possible advantages and disadvantages to implementing a program like this in your community?

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