Recyclers can give to charity

Published 10:34 pm Thursday, April 19, 2012

Suffolk residents participating in the Recycling Perks program are now able to use their points to benefit local charities.

Recycling Perks came to Suffolk last September with the start of recycling pick-ups. Under the Recycling Perks program, residents can earn points redeemable for goods and services at participating local businesses.

But residents can now use their points to vote for local charities. Each quarter, the top three charities will receive cash donations.

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Recycling Perks President Bill Dempsey said the first votes will be tallied after June 1, and the charity with the most points will be awarded $2,000, and the second- and third-place charities $1,000 and $500 respectively.

Local businesses and corporations donated the prize money, Dempsey said, and he encouraged those not already participating to also start giving.

“We are encouraging other local business and corporations to come on board and put some money toward this,” he said.

“Out goal is to make this each quarter and (to) be giving away $10,000.”

Dempsey said about 30 percent of Suffolk residents are Recycling Perks participants. “We’re continuing to get the message out,” he said.

“Suffolk is a little more of a challenge (than other locales involved) because they didn’t already have a recycling program when they joined Recycling Perks, so we’re still looking at what’s the baseline and how much of an effect it has had.”

Recycling in Chesapeake, which had already been under way, increased seven percent within nine months of the city joining the program, according to Dempsey.

“People like it, and I know as we look at the people who are redeeming the rewards, (and) the frequency, we have about 30 percent redeeming points every month.”

Dempsey said the idea of the new charity component of Recycling Perks is to involve local organizations and local branches of national and international organizations to ensure the money benefits local communities.

One participating area charity is Meals on Wheels. Area Executive Director Roseland Worrell welcomed Recycling Perks’ new charity component, saying her organization relies entirely on donations and grants to subsidize 100 percent of its clients’ meal requirements.

Clients are the homebound and disabled living in the city of Suffolk and Isle of Wight County, she said. “In 2011, we delivered over 44,000 meals,” she added.

Many of her volunteers are from local community service organizations, and some even deliver on their lunch breaks, including workers from Walmart and BASF.

For more information, visit www.recyclingperks.com.