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Chatham Ranked 11th in Recycling Challenge

Councilman Vicki Fife hopes the borough can make it to No. 1 before the competition ends in December.

Every little bit helps.

In the last two weeks, Chatham Borough moved from 26th out of 50 towns to participate in Recyclebank's Green Choices Recycling Challenge to 11th place, thanks to more residents registering with Recyclebank and reporting their recycling.

"We're hoping we can get to number one and win the $100,000 grant," Fife said at Monday's borough council meeting.

Chatham Borough was chosen as the one town from New Jersey to compete against towns from all the other 50 states. Fife and fellow Councilman Len Resto have made it their mission to get as many borough residents registered as possible.

The contest is based on participation, not volume or tonnage of recycled materials, so every resident who joins helps the borough get closer to winning. "You just have to register with Recyclebank, and track how often you recycle," Fife said.

The competition ends Dec. 31. The town with the highest participation rate at that time wins a $100,000 grant from SC Johnson, which must fund a local green project.

 

Patrick Russell, of Waste Management, the borough's vendor for recycling collection, recommended Chatham Borough to Recyclebank for the contest. Russell has previously told the council he was shocked by how much recycling borough residents did.

When Recyclebank asked Russell to recommend a municipality from New Jersey for the contest, Russell said to the council, "I immediately thought of Chatham."

Once the contest ends, the incentives for borough residents to recycle will continue. Through Recyclebank, residents can accumulate points which can be redeemed for products by manufacturers and stores such as Aveeno, Origins, Macy's, Bed, Bath & Beyond or with local vendors.

"But even when we told them that, people didn't care about getting the discounts," Resto said after a day at the Chatham Borough Farmers Market spreading news of the contest. "They cared about getting the points for Chatham."

The Chatham Borough Council voted to participate in Recyclebank's discount offers for a trial period of 24 months, free of charge. After that, Buck said the borough will be under no obligation to remain with Recyclebank.

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