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harristeeter.gifMecklenburg County Solid Waste Services in North Carolina is partnering with Coca-Cola and Harris Teeter grocery stores to encourage residents in and around Charlotte, N.C. to recycle more and be more aware of what can and can’t be recycled. According to a News 14 Carolina report, the program will give away $26,000 in prizes as the Coca-Cola Prize Patrol randomly polices recycling bins in the area and rewards exemplary recyclers with $50 Harris Teeter gift cards.

“We’ve seen many people move into this community from other areas that had not so well established programs and haven’t participated the way we should,” Solid Waste Services Director Burce Gledhill said in an interview with News 14. “All of these materials would otherwise go into a landfill, and landfills are preciously few. Mecklenburg County has its own landfill, but it will eventually run out of space.”

Programs like this and RecycleBank, which similarly rewards residents with retail gift cards based on the volume of recycling, are innovative ways to generate interest in recycling, especially in communities that are struggling to get programs up and running. Do you have examples of similar reward-based programs?