NEW YORK (PIX11) — It’s a brand-new initiative that pays NYCHA residents for their trash. What began as a local mom’s effort to recycle and live sustainably has grown into a team around New York City. People that consistently recycle are given gift cards.

Brigitte Vicenty and John Johnson are the co-founders of the inner city green team. They lead a collection team of six NYCHA residents at the Wagner Houses. They’ve helped create a convenient recycling system for families in the 22 buildings at the NYCHA development.  

Their operations started in a Brownsville basement. Their headquarters is a community room at the Wagner Houses that has been converted into a green hub of cardboard, metals, plastic paper, and glass.

The inner city green team has collected more than 90 tons of recyclables so far. Each household gets special bags, and they put their recyclables inside. Then the team collects and sorts. 

Johnson said nothing motivates people more than money. So they gave out dozens of golden tickets and $25 Amazon and Target gift cards for people who consistently recycle.  

Angelina Vega got a special house call. She got a golden ticket for recycling every week in 2022. Mother of two LaConia Ware also got a golden ticket on Friday. She was so excited. 

Vicenty and Johnson said their goal is to expand the program to all NYCHA developments.  

If you want to volunteer or learn more about the inner city green team. Go to