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Our community participates in a unique recycling program where your recycling is weighed during pickup (the scale is on the truck) every week, and you get ‘points' that you can ‘spend' on coupons and products at local and online retailers.  When the program was introduced about a year ago, it fell in conjunction with a new city trash collection program that lowered our trash bills about 50% and offered recycling opportunities on many items.

We can now recycle plastics 1-7, glass, all paper, cardboard, and other items.  The city provided all residents new garbage and recycling containers.  They're both very big, and we've found that since the program kicked off, our recycling bucket is full more often than not, where we've never even filled up one quarter of our garbage bucket.

I thought I'd take a look back at how we've redeemed some of our ‘rewards' and how, in addition to the 50% lower bills, how recycling has paid off (not that we need an incentive to recycle and be green, but saving green is always an added bonus!)

July 2009

  • Bed Bath & Beyond – $10 off $30 purchase (Qty: 1) – We always get 20% off coupons, but this amounted to a 33% off coupon if you bought an item priced $30.  I'm not sure what we used it for, but I know we kept it as close to $30 as we could.

August 2009

  • Coca-Cola Products – $1 off any size (Qty: 5) – At the time, the number of points they charged was next to nothing.  The maximum you could get at one time was ten.  I only ‘bought' five because I actually thought there would be a catch, that it was such a good deal.  We waited until they were on sale for $1 per two-liter bottle, so we got some soda for free just in time for my son's baptism party!

October 2009

  • More Coca-Cola Products – $1 off any size (Qty:10) – Now that I knew there was no catch, I loaded up on as many as we could and this batch lasted us through the holidays.
  • Simply Juice – $1 off any size (Qty: 1) – We usually buy juice from concentrate but decided to look for a sale along with this coupon, and got a very cheap, tasty bottle of juice!
  • Kraft Salad Dressing – $2 off (Qty: 1) – We were able to find salad dressing on sale for $2 so we got a free salad dressing!
  • Local Restaurant – $5 off $25 (Qty:1) – One of our favorite places for breakfast offered this coupon.  Their prices are pretty reasonable as it is, and we like supporting local establishments.  We haven't used this yet only because we would need a couple of extra people to join us to reach a $25 total, but we have it and are excited to use it soon!

January 2010

  • Even More Coca-Cola Products – $1 off any size (Qty:10) – We just used the coupons on these and got free soda for Baby Beagle's first birthday party.  Note: They raised the ‘point' cost on these to double what they had previously been.  Still a pretty good bargain.
  • Huggies – Buy one get one free – We got a free jumbo pack of diapers, and we were able to use a coupon on the pack we paid for.  Ka-ching!
  • Simply Juice – $1 off any size (Qty: 2) – We haven't redeemed these yet but will make sure to do so before they expire!

February 2010

  • Local Plant & Flower Nursery – $10 off $50 (Qty: 2) – We have purchased our flowers for the past couple of years at a local establishment.  By the time we buy a few flats, a hanging basket, soil, and other various needs, we usually spend around $125.  This will allow us to knock $20 off that!
  • Bed Bath & Beyond – $10 off $30 purchase (Qty: 2) – We were able to buy items off a wedding registry and save some bucks along the way!

I can't remember what the diapers cost, but I think that the added up savings from all this is just about $100.  That's not bad for doing something that we were planning on doing anyways, and the items are all items that we were going to buy anyways.  Plus, we still have a ‘balance' that we can use to purchase coupons that we find may be useful to us.

Overall, I'd say that recycling has really paid off!