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Helmut Schmidt, Published June 29 2012

Horace gets green to score some green

HORACE, N.D. – Horace residents can score some deals – and maybe $100,000 - while cleaning up their corner of the planet, as the city represents North Dakota in a nationwide recycling competition.

The town’s 2,430 residents can win a $100,000 grant usable for a community project if they post the top community recycling rate among 50 cities taking part in the SC Johnson Green Choices Recycling Challenge.

The challenge starts Monday, and City Council members are encouraging residents to participate.

“We thought it was a good idea,” City Councilman Craig Hakanson said.

The city was invited to take part in the challenge by its trash hauler, Waste Management, and city officials have worked two months with representatives of the online Recyclebank, which will help residents track their recycling, Hakanson said.

“I think we’re going to get a decent response. I see a lot of my neighbors recycle,” Hakanson said. “It’s important for Horace to do this. The people I’ve talked to, they think it’s a good thing – to be responsible.”

The challenge lasts six months, with the winner announced in January.

East Grand Forks is the Minnesota representative in the challenge. Others participating in the region are Union Grove, Wis., Laramie, Wyo., Rapid City, S.D., and Independence, Iowa.

Fifty communities – one from every state – are competing.

The participants sign up online for a free Recyclebank account at www.recyclebank.com/greenchoices and report their recycling activity.

When they become a Recyclebank member, each town’s resident must report their recycling activity at least once a month on the Recyclebank website to have their efforts count toward the challenge. Residents can also use Recyclebank smartphone applications to report their recycling.

Participants can earn discounts on household and grocery items through Recyclebank.

The Environmental Protection Agency says Americans recycle only about a third of the waste they produce a day: 1.51 pounds of the 4.43 pounds produced per person.

Julie Ketchum, director of government affairs for Waste Management, said the firm hopes the competition gets people focused on keeping more waste out of landfills.

“How can we raise awareness and boost their recycling rate” are keys points of focus, she said.

The challenge also contributes to SC Johnson’s goal of becoming landfill neutral by the end of 2016. The company seeks to eliminate or divert more than 480 million pounds of waste from the nation’s landfills, which it says is larger than its U.S. waste footprint.

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Readers can reach Forum reporter Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583