The city of Greensboro, NC rang in the new year with a brand new program to recycle their residents’ trash. Beginning January 1st, residents of Greensboro started seeing a return on their recycling efforts in the form of revenue from selling the city’s recycled goods. The city’s contract with ReCommunity, a local recycling company, allows Greensboro to sell all of the recyclables that ReCommunity collects. All of the profits from this deal will end up funding new community programs and other public services for the city’s residents.

The recycling program covers a broad range of materials, including every variety of plastic. The program also accepts aluminum cans, milk cartons, office paper, glass bottles, and even pizza boxes. The city hopes that the addition of more recycling services will further reduce the amount of waste that residents send to the landfill. Last year, the city was able to divert 28,500 tons of waste from local landfills. This year, the city hopes to increase that number substantially. The potential revenue from selling these recyclables ranges from $700,000 to as much as $1 million.

That kind of profit margin provides a huge incentive for people to recycle, even for those who are accustomed to using dumpsters or regular trash bins. Admittedly, it can be a pain to separate out glass and plastic from the rest of the trash, but the promise of additional revenue can be a big source of motivation. As more states start to look at ways to cut spending and increase revenue, recycling programs such as Greensboro’s may be widely adopted.