Bellefontaine Neighbors to represent Missouri in national recycling challenge
Bellefontaine Neighbors will represent Missouri in a national challenge sponsored by SC Johnson and Recyclebank, aimed at increasing household recycling, representatives of the city and Waste Management announced at a press conference Monday.
The challenge, which officially began Monday and runs through the end of the year, pits Bellefontaine Neighbors against 49 other municipalities around the country chosen to represent their respective states. On the line is a $100,000 grant from SC Johnson to be used on sustainable initiatives of the winning municipality's choosing.
"We're honored this morning to be chosen to represent the state of Missouri in this nation-wide competition for recycling," Robert Doerr, Bellefontaine Neighbors mayor, told reporters at the ceremony Monday. "This is a great time for our residents to take up the challenge of recycling and to show the country that we really do care about our environment."
The old motto -- reduce, reuse, recycle -- will be key in turning their trash into the city's treasure.
Waste Management Inc., the recycling hauler for Bellefontaine Neighbors and much of St. Louis County, approached the municipality earlier this year, suggesting the city of nearly 11,000 represent the state in the SC Johnson Green Choices Recycling Challenge.
"They called us out of the clear blue sky," Doerr said. "Bellefontaine was chosen, I believe, because the numbers that are kept by Waste Management show that the city of Bellefontaine Neighbors has steadily increased its recycling program."
Bellefontaine Neighbors collected 41 tons of recyclables in June and 268 tons this year to date, according to Waste Management officials.
The collection firm's partnership with Bellefontaine is not unique in the challenge. As the largest household recycling provider in the country, the company is backing 30 of the 50 municipalities competing for the grant.
Waste Management recycles close to 10 million tons each year, a figure it hopes to triple by 2020. According to Waste Management's senior manager for Public/Governmental affairs, Stephanie Regagnon, the SC Johnson challenge is helping work to that end.
The challenge has allowed Waste Management to partner for the first time with New York-based Recyclebank, a rewards program that promotes recycling by offering rebates and coupons to users.
The challenge will require Bellefontaine participants to register with the website and report their recycling efforts at least once a month. In exchange, they will earn points that count toward the challenge.
St. Louis area residents not participating in the challenge can earn points to exchange for deals and discounts at local retailers, as well.
"We're hoping to use the platform of this challenge to increase our partnership with Recyclebank in other communities in St. Louis," Ragagnon said.
Points will be totaled by Recyclebank at the end of the year and adjusted based on community size. The winner will be announced in January.
Doerr said it will be up to the Bellefontaine board of alderman to allocate the grant money if the city ends up winning.
Bellefontaine Neighbors residents can sign up for Recyclebank at https://www.recyclebank.com/greenchoices or by calling 1-888-727-2978.