A Closer Look at Braemar’s Recycle Bank Program Through AAA
Earlier this year, board members from Braemar’s sub-associations met for a pitch from garbage collectors. Braemar had been using AAA since the developer of the neighborhood put a contract with that collector in place. As a resident and sub-association board member, I did not go into the meeting assuming a win for AAA. The trash pickup was unpredictable around holidays, however we were told the only holidays they didn’t collect was Thanksgiving and Christmas.
We were pitched by American Disposal Services and Patriot Disposal Services, both businesses that were based right here in Prince William County. Hiring one of those companies would have meant more tax revenue for our county. Sadly, more tax revenue for our county doesn’t sound sexy to board members and home owners, but has real benefits and effects to Braemar home owners. The more money our county gets elsewhere, the less likely our property taxes are going to see steep increases.
There was one company that was based in Loudoun County, VA and for the life of me I can’t remember their names as I type this. That’s how memorable their pitch was. And, bringing up the rear was AAA with the lowest contract price, tied with Patriot. AAA is part of a larger company, which I believe, is headquartered in another state. Their closest business location is in neighboring Fairfax County. They had just about everyone wrapped around their finger with two words: Recycle Bank. This is a program where residents would be able to cash in for coupons and gift cards by accumulating points for recycling.
Recycle Bank does not reward individual home owners for how much the recycle. Rather, the total recycle haul for the registered Recycle Bank users is divided evenly to each individual user. So someone like me that recycles everything I can, down to the cardboard tubes left from used paper towel and toilet paper rolls, gets the same points as the person who only recycled the cans they used.
On average I am seeing about 50 points per week accumulating in my Recycle Bank account. I went online to cash in my 500 odd points last week and went immediately to the gift card tab. What I saw amazed me. It would take 2500 points to get a $10 gift card to iTunes, Wal-Mart or Home Depot. That’s 50 weeks of recycling to earn $10.
I went back and looked at the other coupons I could get. For about one to two weeks of recycling I can get free bread sticks with the order of a pizza from a restaurant in Fairfax! Probably the best offer for the same amount of recycling is a free smoothie from McDonald’s. No thank you.
I don’t know about other Braemar home owners, but seems to me that going with a Prince William County based company that offered the same contract terms minus the Recycle Bank would probably save me more than $10 a year in tax savings. It would serve to further strengthen our county’s growth, contibute more to the infrastructure we all use every day. It certainly pays to look at the BIG picture and not get lured by the promise of free things.
Chris Ann Cleland, Associate Broker-Licensed in VA, Long & Foster REALTORS®