Woonsocket's competing with cities and towns in the other 47 contiguous states to see which can get the largest percentage of their residents recycling.
That'll be tracked via voluntary record keeping on the recyclebank.com website, where participating citizens will need to sign up for an account so they can log in and answer a questionnaire about their recycling habits once per week.
The city or town with the largest percentage of people who do that wins a $100,000 recycling grant for a project promoting "community sustainability."
People who log in each week can also earn points toward coupons available on the site. DPW Superintendent Mike Debroisse said local businesses can also offer coupons on the site through the program, though none currently do. "I'm trying to get smaller businesses to be part of this too," Debroisse said.
Debroisse said he hopes the program will help the introduced earlier this year, which allows all recycling to be placed together for pickup.
The blue/green bin schedule still needs to be observed, he said, since the contractor hauling the city's recycling is supposed to only pick up a certain number of bins at each address. The best way to make sure that happens, Debroisse said, is to stick with the old schedule for putting out colored bins.
"If something changes, we'll let people know. We just haven't figured out a better system yet," Debroisse said.
Hopefully, he said, the two programs will help each other out. Woonsocket has a little work ahead of it if it's going to be a recycling contender. At the moment, the city only recycles at a rate of about 25 percent. That's a big jump from five years ago, he said, when it was 8 percent, but it won't win the contest.
There's another monetary incentive to increase the city's recycling, Debroisse said. The RI Resource Recovery Corporation (RIRCC) gives the city a portion of the proceeds it receives from recycling collected from the city. Last year, that came out to $64,000.