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County may change recycling system
Program would offer pick-up, rewards
Tim Laux with Republic Waste presents Thursday the Bryan County Board of Commissioners chairman Jimmy Burnsed, Joe Kendrick and Glen Willard with an outline of a new recycling program. - photo by Photo by Hallie D. Martin
Republic Waste would like Bryan County residents to stop sorting their recyclable waste and hauling it to the county landfill.
Instead, the company, which manages the Bryan County landfill, would like to pick up residents’ unsorted recyclable waste, haul it away and partner with a program that would give those who recycle gift cards.
Tim Laux, the manager of Republic Waste, presented the board on Thursday with a proposal to partner with Recycle Bank, a national program that awards people who recycle with points that can later be turned into gift cards redeemed at local businesses.  
“(It is) a pretty neat program,” he said.
Under the program, Bryan County residents would put all their recyclables into one bin that would be picked up every other week. Then, residents can call or go online to the Recycle Bank website to report that they recycled and earn points per pound of glass, cardboard, cans and other recyclable products thrown away.
The points residents earn will translate into redeemable cash via gift cards at a number of businesses in Bryan County. There are more than 1,700 partners with the program nationwide, Laux said, including CVS Pharmacy, Publix, McDonalds and Subway.
Laux said that on average, a household can save between $15 and $20 a month using the program.
Residents can also choose to donate points accrued to the school district, Laux added.
Recycle Bank is a national program, he said, but not one community along the southeast coast uses it.
To recycle, Bryan County residents currently have to separate their own waste and haul it themselves to the landfill. If the Bryan County Board of Commissioners eventually adopt the Recycle Bank program, it would cost $2.90 per household per month for the unsorted recyclable waste to be picked up curbside.
“It makes recycling simple,” said County Administrator Phil Jones.
The commissioners seemed keen to the Recycle Bank proposal.
“I think it’s a great idea,” said Chairman Jimmy Burnsed. “I think it can have great success.”
Commissioner Glen Willard said he has received numerous calls and inquiries about the current recycling program and liked this new proposal.
“This is a dream,” he said.
The discussion ended with commissioners saying there should be a demonstration of the program. Laux said that while he would “like to start tomorrow,” he agreed that there should be a pilot program and survey to see if residents are willing to pay more for recycling services.
Burnsed said the board will “certainly” follow up on the proposal.   

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