Rewards for Recycling

New York-based RecycleBank tracks how much you recycle, and awards points that you can redeem for rewards such as groceries. The result: RecycleBank has more than doubled recycling rates in every community that has deployed its program.

According to RecycleBank Co-Founder and CEO, Ron Gonen, "Our goal at RecycleBank is to progress societies' view of the product lifecycle from linear to cyclical. Since the discarding of product in a linear lifecycle destroys value, then the reuse and recycling of that product should create value."

As part of its contract with cities, RecycleBank gives every home a special container with a chip embedded in it. When a recycling truck picks up the container, the weight is electronically recorded and translates into RecycleBank points (1 lb of recycled materials = 2.5 RecycleBank Points). Participants can use the points at retailers such as Target.com and Whole Foods.

When cities and universities asked for a solution to help increase recycling among campuses and apartments (where a household-based curbside program wasn't possible), RecycleBank developed and now offers Kiosk recycling.

In Wilmington, Delaware, for example, RecycleBank has diverted 33 percent of the city's waste into recycling, saving it $1.5 million a year. RecycleBank gets a portion of the city's savings, and citizens get paid to recycle.  Phoenix, Arizona, is the newest city to partner with RecycleBank.  The first phase of the program begins with 110,000 households in southwest Phoenix, which is set to begin on November 30.