A unique program designed to encourage recycling in Springettsbury Township has come to an end.

Township officials are hoping to replace RecycleBank with something similar, said township manager John Holman.

But, for now, the incentive program has left with the trash-hauling company that championed it.

Township residents who recycle have earned coupons and special offers through RecycleBank - a private, web-based service - since York Waste introduced the program in 2010.

Households that registered an account with RecycleBank received reward points that could be cashed in for items such as grocery coupons, discounts at restaurants and movie-theater tickets.

When the program began, the township sent out bar-coded stickers that residents attached to the side of their recycling bins. Residents could then register that bar code with RecycleBank to be credited with recycling points each time the recycle truck picked up their bin.

About 30 percent of residents participated, Holman said.

"It did, I believe, help encourage people to recycle," Holman said.

A new contract with Penn Waste, which does not offer RecycleBank, began Jan. 1. The company emerged as the low bidder in competition with York Waste for the new five-year contract.

Penn Waste has been receptive to officials' desire for a comparable recycling program in Springettsbury Township, but no details have been worked out yet, Holman said.

Meanwhile, York Waste is gearing up to begin collecting trash May 1 in York City. In that round of bidding, York Waste emerged as the low bidder. Penn Waste is the city's current trash hauler.

But York Waste won't be bringing RecycleBank with it, said Don Isabella, the company's area municipal services manager.

The program in Springettsbury Township was somewhat experimental, Isabella said. York Waste, a subsidiary of Republic Services, introduced the program in Springettsbury Township and other places around the country in an effort to keep as much trash as possible out of the incinerator - which saves money.

The company paid the web-based RecycleBank for its incentive services.

"It was kind of a return-on-investment project for us," Isabella said. "It did certainly drive up the recycling in Springettsbury Township, but not to the degree that we had hoped for."

Isabella said York Waste still supports the concept of the program. He said it's "puzzling" why so few people took advantage of it. York City and other municipal officials could contract with RecycleBank directly.

"It's a program that I would certainly encourage municipalities to look into on their own," Isabella said.

- Erin James may also be reached at ejames@yorkdispatch.com.